John Beilein

Wisconsin tops Michigan on the road 75-62, fourth straight win

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On Jan. 18, Nik Stauskas scored 23 points Michigan’s 77-70 win over then-No. 3 Wisconsin inside the Kohl Center. That was at the point of the season where both teams were going in opposite directions. The Wolverines had won seven straight, a streak that would reach 10 games. Wisconsin, on the other hand, had dropped its second consecutive, the start of slump in which the Badgers lost five of six games.

Sunday afternoon, Wisconsin returned the favor with a 75-62 road victory in Ann Arbor, controlling the game from the start, and answering a Michigan threat in the second half.

Frank Kaminsky had a big afternoon with 25 points and 11 rebounds (he had 14 and four in the first meeting) and dominated the Michigan forwards on the block. The Wisconsin offense started out hot, hitting 5-of-6 from the field to start the game, and took care of the basketball throughout — 10 assists to two turnovers.

Michigan, however, struggled in the first half with only 19 points, off 32 percent shooting. Despite its best effort, Michigan’s first half was too big of a hole to dig out of. The Wolverines cut the lead to five, 52-49, with Caris LeVert, who scored a career-high 25, doing most of the damage. The Badgers responded with a 10-2 run to put the game out of reach.

Outside of LeVert, Michigan struggled offensively, a product of the Wisconsin defense, which limited Michigan’s transition opportunities in the first half. John Gasser, who gives up three inches, was also able to hold Nik Stauskas to 11 points off 4-of-11 shooting while Glenn Robinson III, Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin shot a combined 6-of-22 for 16 points. And for Walton, this is coming off the best game of his young career against Ohio State.

Overall, this was just a bad afternoon for the Wolverines, but this outing might be cause for concern. Stauskas’ points per game are down in the last five games (Michigan 2-3 in that stretch) and Robinson has had his struggles offensively as well over the course of the past few weeks.

Michigan has a week-off before hosting Michigan State on Sunday afternoon, with first place in the Big Ten potentially on the line.

Akron reveals special bobble heads for LeBron, high school teammates

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When it comes to discussing some of the game of basketball’s best players, specifically those who went directly from high school to the NBA, a question that’s often asked is where said player would have attended college if forced (by rule) to do so. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among those who have been discussed in this manner, and in the case of LeBron he’s got connections to two programs within his home state of Ohio.

LeBron’s connected with the Ohio State program, which is outfitted by the Nike’s LeBron signature line, but there’s another program with an even closer connection. That would be Akron, which is led by head coach Keith Dambrot, and all he did was serve as LeBron’s high school coach at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s HS in Akron during the player’s freshman and sophomore years at the school. Also on those teams were two future Akron Zips in guard Dru Joyce and forward Romeo Travis.

Thursday the school announced that it would be honoring James, Joyce and Travis with bobble head dolls to be given out before Akron’s home games against Buffalo (February 16; Joyce’s bobble head), Bowling Green (February 26; Travis) and Ohio (March 1; James).

All three bobble head dolls are wearing Akron uniforms, which in the case of LeBron allows fans to think back and imagine what could have been. Season ticket holders guaranteed one bobble head per account (on each of the three giveaway days), with the first 750 fans in attendance to receive one as well.

NEW PODCAST: Indiana, Cal, troublesome trends and a weekend preview

California's Jabari Bird celebrates a score against Oregon in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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The gang is back together again for another episode of the NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk Podcast, with Rob Dauster hosting and Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips joining him. Today’s episode touched on big wins picked up Thursday night by California and Indiana, discussing the performances of those teams and also touching on their prospects down the line.

Also discussed were the recent performances of Iowa State, Providence and Texas A&M (which are you more worried about?), and some of the top games on this weekend’s schedule headlined by Kansas visiting Oklahoma. And if you’re a fan of seafood, you may take umbrage with some of Rob’s comments at the beginning of the podcast.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher, and there’s also a link to listen to this podcast below. Thanks for listening.