Michigan basketball team has seen everything, except a win, on the road
FAYETTVILLE, Ark. -- In four true road environments, the Michigan basketball team has seen a bit of everything.
At Virginia, the Wolverines hung tough early before falling apart late.
At Iowa, Michigan started out slow, played worse in the middle and never had a chance.
They've pretty much seen it all.
Everything except a win.
"We've got to come out more intense, we can't come out flat," Michigan freshman point guard Trey Burke said following the team's 66-64 loss at Arkansas on Saturday. "(But) that's something we'll learn from."
Michigan has played a total of eight games away from the Crisler Center this season. The Wolverines went 2-1 on a neutral floor during the Maui Invitational and beat Oakland on a neutral floor at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
But when the Wolverines have set foot inside an opponent's home gym, each time they've left disappointed.
Michigan has lost four road games by an average of eight points, but the combined home record of the teams that have beaten the Wolverines in those games is 43-5.
So is Michigan coach John Beilein concerned about his group's inability to perform away from home?
No. Not yet, anyway.
"I think we've been competitive (on the road)," Beilein said. "But I'm concerned, just like 365 other coaches are, when you go on the road. If you're going to win on the road, you've got to have more talent than the other team, or you've got to play your best game.
"That's pretty much what it comes down to."
In four road losses, the Wolverines have had nice stretches, but by no means have they put together a full effort.
Arkansas began the game Saturday on an 11-for-11 shooting tear, jumping out to a 20-point lead. Michigan fought back to pull within two in the closing minutes, but the ugly beginning was too much to overcome.
The same scenario played itself out at Indiana, while the Virginia and Iowa losses featured much more bad than good -- both resulting in double-digit defeats.
But the Wolverines insist the entire situation is a process.
Because, simply, if winning on the road was easy -- everyone would do it.
""It's college basketball, sometimes shots go in, sometimes they don't," Michigan senior captain Zack Novak said. "We're concerned about how we play, not where we play."
The road won't be getting any shorter for the Wolverines anytime soon, either.
Michigan (15-5, 5-2 Big Ten) visits Purdue on Tuesday before heading to Ohio State on Sunday. The Wolverines also have road dates remaining at Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern and a back-to-back trips to Illinois and Penn State to close out the season.
Beilein and company insist there's no inherent mind block with playing games on the road, instead saying it's been more a result of playing quality opponents in those games.
Whether they're right is up for debate, and they'll have plenty of remaining chances to prove their theory. Seven of Michigan's final 11 regular season games will be played away from the Crisler Center.
"We lost (at Arkanas) because they played better than us," Beilein said. "It wasn't because of where we were.
"But, again, you've really got to play well on the road to win. Any of my teams that have been able to steal games on the road, they really shot the heck out of it in that game."
Definitely good advice.
But also far easier said than done.
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