Coming off one of its worst losses of the season — a 10-point loss to hated rival Michigan State, no less — the Michigan basketball team would prefer to play a familiar opponent its next time out.

That would give Michigan coach John Beilein and his team a much better chance at rebounding with a victory. It’s a lot easier to win a game when you know a team’s tendencies, playing against a familiar opponent that you know inside and out.

Unfortunately for the 22nd-ranked Wolverines, they’ve got to play the Big Ten’s newest member, Nebraska (3-8 Big Ten, 11-11 overall) on Wednesday night — and they’re going in blind.

“I have no history with (Nebraska coach) Doc Sadler or their players,” Beilein said. “I’ve never even seen one of their players in AAU or anything. … You just got to do what you can do. While there’s not comfort in that, there’s also no comfort in knowing them too well.

“Our kids got to study them more than they normally would because they’ve never played against Nebraska.”

That’s not good news for players such as guard Tim Hardaway Jr. The sophomore guard in particular could use a mental break, as he’s coming off his worst performance of the season.

Hardaway Jr. went just 1-for-10 from the floor on Sunday against the Spartans, and his four points were a season-low. But that performance wasn’t entirely unexpected — all season, especially in Big Ten games, the Miami native hasn’t looked like the sharpshooter he became during conference play last year.

His struggles on Sunday mean Hardaway Jr. is now 10-for-36 in his last three games and he is shooting just 21.2 percent from deep in conference games.

Worse yet, the sophomore has let his offensive struggles affect the rest his game, slacking on the boards and regressing defensively. Hardaway Jr. has taken questionable shots, and Beilein said the guard needs to let the game come to him instead of forcing things. But that’s difficult when someone puts as much pressure on himself as Hardaway Jr. does.

“He really wants to be the ultimate perfect player, and no one is,” Beilein said. “We just continue to work at that — that it’s not about perfection, it’s about excellence, of getting better, of growth. And like I said, he’s very receptive to those things. We’ve just got to continue to work at it.”

Though Michigan (7-4, 17-7) is unfamiliar with the Cornhuskers, Nebraska is far from a basketball version of the Mona Lisa. Nebraska hasn’t impressed the conference much in its inaugural season in the Big Ten, currently sitting in 11th place in the league standings.

The Cornhuskers are led by one of the more solid scoring threats in the Big Ten in guard Bo Spencer, who averages 15.5 points per game. Spencer is surrounded by a veteran-laden lineup — three of the team’s other starters are fellow seniors and the fourth is a junior.

But other than a home win against Indiana, Nebraska hasn’t beaten anyone of note in the conference and lost its last two games to Northwestern and Minnesota.

The biggest challenge for the Wolverines may be adapting to the Cornhuskers’ offense, which is more wide-open and relies less on set plays than most of Michigan’s foes.

“It’ll be one of those personnel-driven games,” said senior guard Stu Douglass. “There’s some sets they run, but a lot of (the offense) is transition. They have some 1-on-1 scorers, and they got great options on the perimeter that can make plays. It’ll take our whole focus.

“It’s different going from playing sets to playing individual players. It takes a different mindset.”

The good news for the Wolverines is that they’ve completed their toughest six-game stretch of the season, bookended by Michigan State. The team went 3-3 in that span, and though that’s a solid mark against such difficult competition, Douglass admitted that such inconsistency has been frustrating.

With a relatively easier schedule the rest of way, Michigan has an opportunity to make some headway in the conference — and it begins in Lincoln on Wednesday night.

“We’re in a better position than we were last year,” Douglass said. “Last year, we needed the string of wins. You don’t necessarily need them (now), but we do need to build momentum as we head into a hopeful NCAA berth.”

INJURIES: Just 11 players will make the trip to Nebraska. Sophomore forward Jon Horford, whose redshirt looks increasingly likely, will stay home. So will freshman point guard Carlton Brundidge, who is still dealing with an asthma-related illness.

“I don’t know enough about asthma … all I know is it’s a very scary situation when you can’t get your breath,” Beilein said.

Meanwhile, the Cornhusers will once again be without backup center Jorge Brian Diaz. Sadler said Diaz is likely out the rest of the season.

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