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Posts Tagged ‘Badgers’

#24 Michigan at #5 Wisconsin game preview

Saturday, November 18th, 2017


(Brad Mills, USA Today Sports)

It’s hard to believe that only two games remain in the 2017 regular season, but here we are with a chance for Michigan to either make a statement or continue what some believe to be a disappointing season. Never mind that Michigan lost 16 starters, they should be winning a national championship in Jim Harbaugh’s third season, the theory goes. Well, that’s not going to happen this year, but by beating Wisconsin and Ohio State the Wolverines could earn at least a share of the Big Ten East title, which, when taken in context, should be considered a major accomplishment.

Quick Facts
Camp Randall Stadium – 12p.m. EST – FOX
Wisconsin Head Coach: Paul Chryst (3rd season)
Coaching Record: 50-25 (31-6 at UW)
Offensive Coordinator: Joe Rudolph (3rd season)
Defensive Coordinator: Jim Leonhard (1st season)
Last Season: 11-3 (7-2 Big Ten)
Last Meeting: UM 14 – UW 7 (2016)
All-Time Series: Michigan 50-14-1
Record in Madison: Michigan 21-6-1
Jim Harbaugh vs Wisconsin 1-0
Last Michigan win: 2016 (14-7)
Last Wisconsin win: 2010 (48-28)
Current Streak: Michigan 1
Wisconsin schedule to date
Opponent Result
Utah State W 59-10
Florida Atlantic W 31-14
at BYU W 40-6
Northwestern W 33-24
at Nebraska W 38-17
Purdue W 17-9
Maryland W 38-13
at Illinois W 24-10
at Indiana W 45-17
#20 Iowa W 38-14

Doing so is much easier said than done, however, as both Wisconsin and Ohio State rank in the top 10 nationally. Wisconsin has already booked it’s spot in the Big Ten championship game by winning the much easier West and has its sights set on a College Football Playoff berth.

The Badgers are 10-0, but find themselves behind a pair of one-loss teams, Clemson and Oklahoma because of their strength of schedule which has seen them beat just one ranked team. That was 20th-ranked Iowa last week and it was Iowa’s fourth loss of the season. They were only ranked because they used their Kinnick Stadium voodoo on Ohio State the week before that.

Wisconsin played a non-conference schedule that consisted of Utah State, Florida Atlantic, and a very bad BYU team. In conference play, they get to avoid Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan State, which means Michigan is their last chance for a quality win before they get to Indianapolis.

Although Michigan holds a 21-6-1 advantage in Madison, they haven’t won there since 2001 when Hayden Epstein kicked a 31-yard field goal with 14 seconds remaining to give Michigan a 20-17 win.

Michigan won last season’s matchup 14-7, scoring on a 1-yard Khalid Hill touchdown early in the second quarter and a 46-yard Wilton Speight touchdown pass to Amara Darboh with eight minutes remaining. Jourdan Lewis sealed the win with a leaping, one-handed highlight-reel interception and Michigan’s defense held the Badgers to just 159 total yards.

Can they replicate that performance tomorrow? Let’s take a look at the matchup.

Prediction

Offensively, Wisconsin ranks 24th nationally and 3rd in the Big Ten in scoring (36.3 points per game), 18th and 2nd in rushing (245.0 yards per game), 95th and 10th in passing (188.1 yards per game), and 37th and 2nd in total offense (433.1 yards per game).

Quarterback Alex Hornibrook ranks seventh in the Big Ten in passing, averaging 186.3 yards per game, but is very accurate, completing 64.1 percent of his passes. However, he is prone to mistakes. His 12 interceptions are more than all but Nebraska’s Tanner Lee, so if Michigan’s defensive front can pressure him they could create some turnovers.

The harder task will be stopping Wisconsin’s running game, which features the Big Ten’s leading rusher, freshman Jonathan Taylor, who averages 152.5 yards per game. He has topped 100 yards in seven of 10 games this season with a high of 249 on 10.0 yards per carry against Nebraska and a low of 73 yards on 6.1 yards per carry against Illinois. Northwestern, who features a rushing defense on par with Michigan’s, held Taylor to his lowest yards per carry of the season — 4.2 — though he did still score two touchdowns.

Defensively, Wisconsin ranks 3rd nationally and 1st in the Big Ten in scoring (13.4 points per game), 1st and 1st in rush defense (81.5 yards per game), 7th and 2nd in pass defense (166.1 yards per game), and 1st and 1st in total defense (247.6 yards per game).

The Badgers defense has shut down virtually everyone this season, allowing no more than 143 rushing yards or 271 passing yards in a single game. Maryland and Illinois both found some success on the ground against Wisconsin, both averaging 4.1 yards per carry, but they combined for just one rushing touchdown. Wisconsin has also done a good job of limiting big plays as only two teams nationally — Alabama and San Diego State — have allowed fewer explosive runs of 10 yards or more. Only three teams have allowed more 20-yard runs and Wisconsin is the only team in the country that hasn’t allowed a 30-yard run. Michigan’s running game ranks 10th nationally with 13 30-yard runs and fifth with nine 40-yard runs.

Wisconsin has also held six of ten opponents to 155 passing yards or fewer, including Iowa, who threw for just 41 yards last week. The same Iowa team that passed for 244 yards against Ohio State the week prior.

With Brandon Peters making his third career start at quarterback — and averaging just nine completions for 108 yards per game — it’s a safe bet to assume Wisconsin will stack the box to stop the run, which means Peters will need to be able to make plays with his arm for Michigan to win. That could make for a big day for Michigan’s tight ends, Sean McKeon and Zach Gentry, who rank second and third on the team in receiving yards and lead the team with two touchdowns each.

This game features two great defenses and two average offenses, so expect a low-scoring game. The weather calls for rain in the morning, but it should be cleared up by game time and shouldn’t affect the game. With Michigan’s running game coming on the past few weeks and Peters’ ability to protect the football — he hasn’t turned it over yet — I like Michigan’s ability to break a couple of big runs even with a Wisconsin defense focusing on stopping the run. Defensively, Wisconsin is the type of offense that Michigan defenses can hold in check, so aside from a couple of early successful drives I don’t see Wisconsin doing much. Quinn Nordin redeems himself by making his only field goal attempt of the game and that’s the difference as Michigan pulls out a close one in Madison.

Score Prediction: Michigan 17 – Wisconsin 14

First Look: #8 Wisconsin

Monday, November 13th, 2017


(David Stluka)

Michigan closed its three-game cupcake stretch with it third straight win, improving to 8-2 on the season and 5-2 in the Big Ten. The Wolverines outscored Rutgers, Minnesota, and Maryland 105-34 to stay within reach of at least a share of the Big Ten East. But it won’t come easy as a pair of top-10 foes remain in Wisconsin and Ohio State. Michigan travels to Madison to face unbeaten Wisconsin this Saturday. Let’s take a look at how the two teams compare through the first 10 games of the season.

Wisconsin & Michigan team stats comparison
Offense Defense
Average Rank Average Rank Average Rank Average Rank
36.3 24th 27.9 70th PPG 13.4 3rd 16.4 9th
2,450 2,078 Rush Yds 815 1,103
245.0 18th 207.8 30th Rush/Gm 81.5 1st 110.3 9th
5.2 4.9 Rush Avg 2.8 3.3
1,881 1,652 Pass Yds 1,661 1,445
188.1 95th 165.2 111th Pass/Gm 166.1 7th 144.5 2nd
4,331 3,730 Total Off. 2,476 2,548
433.1 37th 373.0 94th Total Off./Gm 247.6 1st 254.8 3rd
21.9 52nd 19.6 99th KR Avg 18.7 29th 15.6 3rd
6.0 84th 8.2 54th PR Avg 6.2 51st 7.1 63rd
35:46 2nd 32:25 18th Avg TOP 24:14 27:35
52% 1st 33% 112th 3rd Down% 29% 10th 24% 1st
14-76 23rd 27-187 104th Sacks-Yds 35-261 4th 33-233 5th
47 34 TDs 14 20
10-12 (83%) 14-19 (74%) FG-ATT 12-15 (80%) 8-13 (62%)
40-47 (85%) 61st 29-33 (88%) 39th Red Zone 19-27 (70%) 7th 19-23 (83%) 60th
32-47 (68%) 18-33 (55%)  RZ TD 8-27 (30%) 14-23 (61%)
2.78 28th 2.31 52nd OFEI/DFEI 1.13 6th 1.40 15th
31.9 35th 28.9 53rd S&P+ 14.2 1st 18.2 6th

If you like defensive football this game is for you. Wisconsin and Michigan both rank in the top two or three in every defensive statistic in the Big Ten and in the top ten nationally. But the Badgers also feature a pretty good offense, better than Michigan’s and much better than the offenses Michigan has faced the past few weeks.

When the next College Football Playoff rankings come out on Tuesday Wisconsin will present an interesting case study. They’re one of only four unbeaten teams remaining — along with Alabama, Miami, and UCF — but have played one of the worst schedules in the country. This past Saturday’s 38-14 win over Iowa was the first time they’ve played a ranked team this season, and Iowa is now 6-4 and only ranked because they applied the Kinnick Stadium at night curse on Ohio State a week ago.

Wisconsin’s non-conference schedule featured Utah State, Florida Atlantic, and BYU, who have gone a combined 15-16 so far this season. Then the Badgers opened Big Ten play with Northwestern, Nebraska, Purdue, Maryland, Illinois, and Indiana before hosting Iowa. In other words, they get to skip the gauntlet that the teams in the East Division have had to endure, facing only Michigan and skipping Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan State completely.

Do the Badgers deserve to be ranked in the top four come Tuesday? By record, yes. But one could easily argue that if they had played the schedule of a team in the East Division, they would likely have at least one if not two losses. Time will tell as they host Michigan this Saturday and then will get to face the East champion in the Big Ten championship game two weeks later.

Like a typical Wisconsin team, the Badgers get it done with their defense and their running game. The running game ranks second in the Big Ten and 18th nationally, averaging 245 yards per game. Their lowest rushing output of the season was 109 yards against Northwestern’s 7th-ranked rush defense, which gives hope that Michigan’s 9th-ranked rush defense can hold them in check. The Badgers have topped 200 yards rushing in eight of 10 contests and have topped 300 yards twice — a 357-yard performance against Florida Atlantic and 353 yards against Nebraska. Illinois was the only other defense to hold them below 200.

The passing game, however, is more like Michigan’s, ranking 10th in the Big Ten and 95th nationally with an average of 188.1 yards per game. Wisconsin has topped 200 yards passing four times this season, but has done so only once since Week 3. In their last seven games they’re averaging 167.7 passing yards per game, which is right about Michigan’s average. In their last three, the average is down to just 146.7. Michigan has the nation’s second-best pass defense, giving up just 144.5 yards per game through the air, and with Wisconsin’s leading receiver, Quintez Cephus, out for the year, that bodes well for the Wolverines.

Defensively, Wisconsin is the best in the nation, statistically at least. The Badgers rank 1st in the Big Ten and 3rd nationally in scoring defense (13.4 points per game), 1st and 1st in rush defense (81.5 yards per game), 2nd and 7th in pass defense (166.1 yards per game), and 1st and 1st in total defense (247.6 yards per game).

Only four opponents have topped 100 rushing yards against Wisconsin this season. Maryland had the most success with 143 yards on 4.1 yards per carry. Illinois had 134 yards on 4.1. But Wisconsin has shut down its last two opponents, holding Indiana and Iowa to a combined 65 yards on 47 carries (1.4 yards per carry). Now, before you get too worried, both of those running games rank in the 100s nationally and 10th and 11th in the conference.

Wisconsin’s pass defense hasn’t allowed more than 271 yards in a game this season. Six of ten opponents have thrown for 155 yards or fewer including Iowa, who passed for just 41 yards last week.

Clearly, Wisconsin is one of the best teams Michigan has faced all season, at least statistically. Just how good the Badgers are remains to be seen given the strength of their schedule. But the same can be said for Michigan, who has lost to the only two good teams they’ve played. Michigan can win, but it will take a complete performance to do so.

#4 Michigan 14 – #8 Wisconsin 7: Just enough

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016


um-vs-wisconsin-by-bryan-fuller(Bryan Fuller)

It was ugly at times. It was sloppy at times. It got tense at times. But Michigan did what good teams do. Despite three missed field goals the Wolverines ground out a 14-7 win over 8th-ranked Wisconsin to remain perfect on the season.

After averaging 52 points per game through the first four weeks of the season, Michigan’s offense had trouble putting points on the board against the nation’s 7th-best scoring defense. But it was Michigan’s own defense that rose to the occasion and shut down Wisconsin’s offense, holding the Badgers to just 159 total yards — their fewest in at least 13 years.

The Wolverines recorded two sacks, but bottled up Wisconsin’s running game to the tune of 2.5 yards per carry and kept quarterback Alex Hornibrook under pressure all afternoon. The freshman who shined in a 30-6 win over Michigan State a week prior went just 9-of-25 for 88 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.

um-wisconsin_small-final
Final Stats
Michigan Wisconsin
Score 14 7
Record 5-0, 2-0 4-1, 1-1
Total Yards 349 159
Net Rushing Yards 326 70
Net Passing Yards 130 71
First Downs 21 8
Turnovers 1 3
Penalties-Yards 6-45 3-30
Punts-Yards 7-326 9-321
Time of Possession 35:41 24:19
Third Down Conversions 3-of-15 4-of-15
Fourth Down Conversions 0-of-0 0-of-1
Sacks By-Yards 2-13 4-32
Field Goals 0-for-3 0-for-0
PATs 2-for-2 1-for-1
Red Zone Scores-Chances 1-of-3 1-of-1
Red Zone Scores-TDs 1-of-3 1-of-1
Full Box Score

Michigan moved the ball well in the first quarter with 108 total yards on 15 plays and scored the first points of the game on the first play of the second quarter. They also reached the Wisconsin 13 on the next possession before the drive stalled, but Kenny Allen missed a 31-yard field goal. He missed a 45-yarder on Michigan’s next possession and Michigan took a 7-0 lead into the half.

Michigan opened the second half with a promising drive, but it ended with the first interception Wilton Speight has thrown since his first pass of the season. Wisconsin capitalized with a 31-yard touchdown drive to tie the game. But Michigan’s defense clamped down the rest of the way, yielding just 34 yards on Wisconsin’s final six possessions — just 1.9 yards per play.

Michigan broke the deadlock with a 46-yard touchdown pass from Speight to Amara Darboh with just under eight minutes remaining. Three Wisconsin possessions later, Jourdan Lewis sealed the game with a spectacular one-handed interception.

The Michigan offense amassed 349 yards of offense, the most Wisconsin’s defense has allowed so far this season. Speight went 20-of-32 for 219 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. De’Veon Smith led Michigan with with 66 yards on 17 carries, while Ty Isaac and Chris Evans each got eight carries and went for 48 and 34 yards, respectively. Darboh caught six passes for 87 yards and the touchdown.

Defensively, Michigan held Wisconsin to its worst offensive performance of the season by far. The Badgers’ previous worst was 317 yards against Michigan State last week and Michigan held them to half of that. Corey Clement rushed for 66 yards on 17 carries and Wisconsin converted just 4-of-15 third-downs.

Michigan (5-0, 2-0) hits the road for the first time this season for a primetime tilt with Rutgers (2-3, 0-2) next Saturday. The Scarlet Knights lost 58-0 to Ohio State on Saturday.

Game Ball – Offense

Amara Darboh (6 catches, 87 yards, 1 touchdown)
Michigan’s offense struggled to move the ball consistently for most of the game and converted just 3-of-15 third downs, but senior receiver Amara Darboh made two big plays in the fourth quarter that ultimately won the game. On 3rd-and-7 from the Michigan 39, Darboh caught a slant for a first down across midfield. On the very next play, he beat the Wisconsin cornerback down the sideline and caught a perfectly thrown deep ball for the game-winning touchdown.

Previous
Week 1 — Chris Evans (8 carries, 112 yards, 2 touchdowns)
Week 2 — Wilton Speight (25-of-37 for 312 yards, 4 touchdowns)
Week 3 — Jake Butt (7 receptions for 87 yards)
Week 4 — Grant Newsome, Ben Braden, Mason Cole, Kyle Kalis, Erik Magnuson (326 rush yards, 0 sacks allowed)

Game Ball – Defense

Channing Stribling (2 tackles, 2 interceptions, 2 pass breakups)
This week’s defensive game ball could have very easily gone to Ryan Glasgow for clogging the middle of the line and bottling up Wisconsin’s running game. But when a defensive back records two interceptions — and nearly a third — he gets the game ball. Channing Stribling has always played second fiddle to Jourdan Lewis in Michigan’s secondary, but although Lewis’ interception was the highlight of the game, Stribling shut down the Wisconsin passing game. His second interception, when Wisconsin was trying to put together a game-tying drive with less than four minutes remaining, effectively sealed the game.

Previous
Week 1 — Mike McCray (9 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble)
Week 2 — Rashan Gary (6 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks)
Week 3 — Jabrill Peppers (9 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 1 sack, 2 kick ret. for 81 yards, 4 punt ret. for 99 yards, 1 TD)
Week 4 — Maurice Hurst (6 tackles, 3 solo, 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack)

M&GB staff predictions – Wisconsin

Friday, September 30th, 2016


StaffPicks_banner20152

Previously this week: First Look, Five-Spot Challenge, Tailgate Tuesday: Tomato pie, Week 4 power rankings, The numbers game, Game preview

Both Michigan and Wisconsin enter Saturday’s matchup ranked in the top 10 — the first time in series history that the two have played as top 10 teams. Both earned dominant wins over Big Ten East foes last weekend and both feature defenses that rank among the nation’s best. So what gives?

Once again, Joe was the winner of our staff predictions last week with his prediction of Michigan 42 – Penn State 10. He now has the lead in our staff picks challenge with three wins in four weeks. Here are our picks for this week:

Justin
Staff Predictions
Michigan Wisconsin
Justin 33 13
Derick 35 24
Sam 24 10
Josh 41 13
Joe 34 14
M&GB Average 33 15

Michigan and Wisconsin feature two of the nation’s best defenses, but I’m not sold on the offenses the Badgers have faced to date. That’s not saying that their defense isn’t great. But Michigan’s offense is light years better than those of LSU, Akron, Georgia State, and Michigan State. Michigan may not score the 52 points it averages, but it will move the ball semi-consistently and put a little bit of humility into Wisconsin’s defense. Look for a lot more Jabrill Peppers as a ball carrier, receiver, and as a decoy as Jim Harbaugh finds ways to neutralize Wisconsin’s linebacker strength.

Defensively, Michigan matches up nicely with Wisconsin’s offense. Alex Hornibrook hasn’t faced the type of pass rush Michigan brings and won’t have the same accuracy he displayed last week. Without a spread threat, the defense will be able to focus on bottling up Corey Clement and forcing third-and-longs where the Wolverines excel.

The first half will remain a close, defensive battle, but Michigan’s offense will find enough to pull away in the second. Wilton Speight will take care of the ball and put together a nice stat line with Jake Butt being his favorite target.

Michigan 33 – Wisconsin 13

Derick

Wisconsin is the first real test Michigan will face this season, setting up a top-10 battle in Ann Arbor.

Michigan provides a bigger test for Alex Hornibrook, who will see a defense averaging 4.3 sacks per game. On offense, Michigan probably won’t get up to 52 points (its season average), but it should do enough to win the game.

Wisconsin will hang around, but the special teams dominance of Michigan will wear down the Badgers. Michigan will pull away late to win.

Michigan 35 – Wisconsin 24

Sam

Many are calling this the first real test for this Michigan Wolverines squad after four straight blowouts. But with Vince Biegel out for the Badgers and Michigan’s defense getting close to full strength (minus the unfortunate loss of Jeremy Clark), I think the Wolverines hold every advantage in what should be a classic rough-and-tumble Big Ten throwback contest.

Jabrill Peppers should see plenty of snaps in all three phases, Jourdan Lewis and Ben Braden should inch closer to full health, and Michigan’s defense should be far too stout for a Wisconsin team designed to ground and pound. I’ll take the Maize and Blue in convincing fashion again.

Michigan 27 – Wisconsin 10

Josh (1)

As we saw in this week’s The Numbers Game, Wisconsin is very good at preventing explosive plays but not so good at generating them. This plays right into Michigan’s hands. I think this will be a good test for the Michigan offensive line as they have struggled thus far against 3-4 fronts, and Wisconsin is always a stout team up front. I expect Wisconsin to keep Michigan well under their season average for explosive plays (currently 11.25 per game), but with the loss of stud linebacker Vince Biegel they will struggle to keep Michigan the board.

It appears as though sophomore running back Karan Higdon is not only healthy but quite possibly the No. 2 option behind De’Veon Smith. If this holds true I think we’ll see a heavy dose of run and play-action passing this weekend. I’m not sure Michigan tops 45 for the sixth straight game (dating back to last season) but they’ll come close. As we’ve seen Harbaugh isn’t one to let his foot off the gas.

On the other side of the ball redshirt freshman quarterback Alex Hornibrook had a solid outing against Michigan State last week but it appeared that his arm strength was a bit, shall we say, lacking. He likely won’t be able to test Michigan deep, nor is he a threat to run. At least not a dangerous run threat anyway. It looks like Bryan Mone may be back this week, and if he is Hornibrook could be in for a long, painful afternoon. Michigan should keep their season pace with 10-plus tackles for loss and add three or four sacks as well.

Wisconsin is a pro-style team and they don’t really use many 3-plus wide receiver sets, so the huge loss of Jeremy Clark, literally and figuratively, might not rear its ugly head this week. However, Paul Chryst is a solid coach and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him roll out a few plays with an extra receiver or two to try and stress Michigan’s pass defense.

Honestly, I’m not too worried this week but I am very uncomfortable going forward. Brandon Watson, David Long, and Lavert Hill don’t exactly instill much confidence in me right now. But again, this is as a good a week to test out some new defensive back options as any without much fear of disastrous results.

Normally you expect a battle of two top defenses (currently No. 1 and 2 in the Big Ten) to come down to which team has the better offense. That team is Michigan, by a longshot. On top of that ,I don’t think Wisconsin is as good as their record — and previous opponents’ ranking — would lead you to believe. LSU is clearly a dumpster fire and Michigan State gave that game away with poor quarterback play and a ton of turnovers. Did I mention Georgia State took them deep into the fourth quarter? Wisconsin is good, don’t get me wrong, but Michigan is just much better all-around. My gut says it won’t be as close as a top ten matchup ought to be though. Wolverines win big, again.

Michigan 41 – Wisconsin 13

Joe (3)

Now things start to get a little fun. We’re done with the early cream-puffs and start to get into the meat of the schedule. Mmmmmm…..meat! If you browse the inter webs on Tuesday’s, you know what we do to meat around here. We cook it low and slow and typically char it at the end. This will be no different against the Badgers. They are coming into the Big House riding high after a dominating performance against the Spartans. The big difference is the offense they will see this week is much better than anything they’ve seen so far. Speight will distribute the ball around and take a few deep shots along the way and eventually find Butt for a touchdown or two. The defense will get all over the freshman quarterback and force a few bad decisions resulting in short fields for the good guys. Michigan wins this one going away.

Michigan 34 – Wisconsin 14

#4 Michigan vs #8 Wisconsin game preview

Friday, September 30th, 2016


um-wisconsin-game-preview-header

Michigan’s schedule has gotten progressively harder each week this season and the Wolverines have passed each test with flying colors. Tomorrow, Michigan faces its toughest test yet when eighth-ranked Wisconsin comes to town.

um-wisconsin_small
Quick Facts
Michigan Stadium – 3:30p.m. EST – ABC
Wisconsin Head Coach: Paul Chryst (2nd season)
Coaching Record: 33-22 (14-3 at Wis)
Offensive Coordinator: Joe Rudolph (2nd season)
Defensive Coordinator: Justin Wilcox (1st season)
Last Season: 10-3 (6-2 Big Ten)
Last Meeting: UW 48 – UM 28 (2010)
All-Time Series: Michigan 49-14-1
Record in Ann Arbor: Michigan 27-7
Jim Harbaugh vs Wisconsin First meeting
Last Michigan win: 2008 (27-25)
Last Wisconsin win: 2010 (48-28)
Current Streak: Wisconsin 2
Wisconsin Schedule to date
Opponent Result
#5 LSU W 16-14
Akron W 54-10
Georgia State W 23-17
#8 Michigan State W 30-6

Apparently Wisconsin is a part of the Big Ten. It’s true, I just looked it up. High schoolers right now probably don’t even remember the last time Michigan played the Badgers as the two teams haven’t faced off since 2010, when they wouldn’t have even been teenagers yet. Yes, that was two coaches ago for both teams. Rich Rodriguez graced one sideline and Bret Bielema graced the other. Those were different times indeed.

But now, both teams are back and will face off as top 10 opponents for the first time in series history. Although Michigan has owned the all-time series (49-14-1), Wisconsin has won the last two, beating Michigan 48-28 in 2010 and 45-24 in 2009. And while Michigan comes into this year’s matchup ranked higher, Wisconsin is the team that has already played and beaten two ranked opponents.

Wisconsin opened the season with a 16-14 win over then-5th-ranked LSU in a not-so-neutral site game at Lambeau Field. But that win has looked less and less impressive as the first month of the season wraps up. LSU let Jacksonville State hang around until the last minute of the first half. Then they squeaked by Mississippi State, 23-20. Then last week they lost to Auburn 18-13 and promptly fired Les Miles. They feature the nation’s 110th-best scoring offense and 111th-best total offense. Consider that Penn State ranks 72nd in scoring and 112th in total offense.

It remains to be seen whether or not the big win over Michigan State is as good as it looked. The Spartans have been dominant in recent years, but had an uninspired performance against Furman in the opener and then knocked off Notre Dame, who is just 1-3.

So is Wisconsin as good as its wins initially looked? Or is their ranking overinflated due to overrated opponents? The answer probably lies somewhere in between, but let’s take a look at the matchups.

When Wisconsin has the ball

Wisconsin’s offense currently ranks 63rd nationally in scoring offense (30.8 points per game), 75th in total offense (410.5 yards per game), 58th in rushing (184.2 yards per game), and 70th in passing (226.2 yards per game).

Whereas Michigan’s offense hasn’t recorded fewer than 397 yards in a game this season, Wisconsin’s has exceeded that only twice — 400 yards against Georgia State and 586 against Akron. Against the two good defenses it has faced, it has averaged just 328 yards. Those defenses — LSU and Michigan State — rank seventh and 21st in S&P+. By comparison, Michigan ranks second.

Wisconsin started senior quarterback Bart Houston for the first three games after winning the competition in fall camp, but Chryst went with freshman Alex Hornibrook against Michigan State. Houston completed 62 percent of his passes for 527 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. Hornibrook, meanwhile, has completed 67.4 percent of his passes for 378 yards, three touchdowns, and two picks. Against Michigan State last Saturday, Hornibrook went 16-of-26 for 195 yards, one touchdowns, and a pick.

He has a couple of dangerous receivers to throw to in Jazz Peavy and Robert Wheelwright, who have combined for 31 receptions for 502 yards two touchdowns. Peavy had a big game against Akron with seven catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught four passes for 96 yards against MSU. But Those two scores against Akron are the only two by the tandem thus far. Junior tight end Troy Fumagali is the only other pass catcher with double digit receptions. He has caught 14 passes for 169 yards. Interestingly, the most scoring production has come from lesser known tight ends Eric Steffes and Kyle Penniston and fullback Alec Ingold, who have caught 11 combined passes and three have been touchdowns.

The best player on the Badgers’ offense is senior running back Corey Clement, who averages 83.7 rushing yards per game. He missed the Georgia State game with an injury, but has scored two touchdowns in two of the three games he has played. However, Michigan State held him to just 2.3 yards per carry — one of those being a 22-yards run. Senior Dare Ogunbuwale is the second leading rusher with 186 yards and a touchdown on 42 carries and he’s the best pass catcher out of the backfield. Freshman Bradrick Shaw leads the team with an average of 5.7 yards per carry on 24 attempts.

The offensive line has allowed six sacks through four games, one more than Michigan’s has. But it’s a young line that struggled to open holes for the running game last season. Junior left tackle Ryan Ramczyk, a transfer from UW-Stevens Point, is the elder statesman. Left guard Michael Deiter, center Brett Connors, right guard Beau Benzschawel, and right tackle Jacob Maxwell are all redshirt sophomores.

When Michigan has the ball

Wisconsin’s defense lead the nation in scoring defense a year ago, but defensive coordinator Dave Aranda bolted for LSU. Instead of promoting from within, Chryst hired Justin Wilcox, who had just been fired from USC. Wilcox has been considered one of the top up and coming coaches in football after having success as Boise State’s defensive coordinator from 2006-09 when the Broncs went 49-4. He went from there to Tennessee for a couple seasons, then Washington, and USC, but has yet to land a head coaching gig.

He inherited a lot of pieces from Aranda, including nearly the entire front seven. It’s lead by one of the best linebacking corps in the nation. However, it received a major blow this week when the Badgers announced that senior Vince Biegel will miss a few weeks with a foot injury. While that may make things a bit easier for Michigan’s offense, there is still plenty of talent there. Juniors T.J. Watt and Jack Cichy and sophomore T.J. Edwards are the team’s three leading tacklers and have combined for 10.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.

The line isn’t the type of pass rushing line that Michigan features, but it mostly stands its ground and lets the linebackers do that. Junior end Connor Sheehy has one quarterback hurry, a tackle for loss, and half a sack, while fellow junior end Chikwe Obasih only has three tackles. Sophomore nose tackle Olive Sagapolu is a 6-foot-2, 340-pound space eater but not a threat to get to the quarterback.

The secondary is where some vulnerabilities may lie, as Wisconsin ranks just sixth in the Big Ten and 39th nationally against the pass. Senior cornerback Sojourn Shelton is a good one and junior Derrick Tindall is as well. They have a combined three interceptions and 10 pass breakups thus far. The safeties are junior D’Cota Dixon and senior Leo Musso, who have combined for 28 tackles, a sack, an interception, two quarterback hurries, and a fumble recovery, which Musso returned for a touchdown last week.

The other third

Wisconsin is also without its starting field goal kicker, junior Rafael Gaglianone, who will miss the rest of the season for back surgery. While his status was still up in the air last week, Chryst played aggressively on offense, going 2-of-2 on fourth downs. Gaglianone’s backup, senior Andrew Endicot, did attempt one which he made from 41 yards out. It was the first of his career.

Freshman punter Anthony Lotti ranks last in the Big Ten with a 39.0-yard punt average, though he has downed four of nine inside the 20 with no touchbacks.

Peavy handles the punt return duties, averaging 4.8 yards per return, while Ogunbowale averages 22.8 yards per kick return.

Prediction

Michigan and Wisconsin feature two of the nation’s best defenses, but I’m not sold on the offenses the Badgers have faced to date. That’s not saying that their defense isn’t great. But Michigan’s offense is light years better than those of LSU, Akron, Georgia State, and Michigan State. Michigan may not score the 52 points it averages, but it will move the ball semi-consistently and put a little bit of humility into Wisconsin’s defense. Look for a lot more Jabrill Peppers as a ball carrier, receiver, and as a decoy as Jim Harbaugh finds ways to neutralize Wisconsin’s linebacker strength.

Defensively, Michigan matches up nicely with Wisconsin’s offense. Hornibrook hasn’t faced the type of pass rush Michigan brings and won’t have the same accuracy he displayed last week. Without a spread threat, the defense will be able to focus on bottling up Clement and forcing third-and-longs where the Wolverines excel.

The first half will remain a close, defensive battle, but Michigan’s offense will find enough to pull away in the second. Wilton Speight will take care of the ball and put together a nice stat line with Jake Butt being his favorite target.

Michigan 33 – Wisconsin 13

Five-Spot Challenge 2016: Wisconsin

Monday, September 26th, 2016


Congratulations to JD Mackiewicz for winning last week’s Five-Spot Challenge. His deviation of 96 was 13 points better than second place Wolfetd. JD Mackiewicz was only one away from Jabrill Peppers’ all-purpose yards (54), six away from Saquon Barkley’s rushing yards (59), and 16 away from Penn State’s second half total yards (141). He wins a prize box of product from our sponsors, Lane’s BBQCultivate Coffee & Tap House, and Chayder Grilling Company.

Tooty_pops and Wolfetd were the closest to Barkley’s rushing yards (four away). HTTV137 and Jaeschke were both just one away from Penn State’s second half yards. Nobody correctly predicted that Matt Godin (number 99) would record Michigan’s first sack. Zigmun and Maizenblu62 were the closest with their predictions of 96 (Ryan Glasgow). Chris Wormley had the most predictions (10 of 33). Finally, DBenney09 was the only contestant to correctly predict the length of Kenny Allen’s longest punt (44 yards).

All 33 contestants picked Michigan to win by an average score of Michigan 42 – Penn State 17. No one correctly predicted the score, but BadBlu was the closest with his prediction of 49-13. Had Penn State kicked another field goal he would have had his highest deviation reduced to zero and moved all the way up to fourth place for the week.

The weekly results and season standings have been updated.

This week, Michigan hosts No. 8 Wisconsin in what should be a tough defensive battle. Here are this week’s questions.

First Look: #8 Wisconsin

Monday, September 26th, 2016


Sep 5, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; The Wisconsin Badgers mascot Bucky Badger takes the field before the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT: USATSI-226178 ORIG FILE ID: 20150905_lbm_am8_089.JPG

Michigan throttled Penn State in their Big Ten opener on Saturday and now faces their biggest test of the early season when eighth-ranked Wisconsin comes to town. Let’s take a look at how the two teams compare four games into the season.

Wisconsin & Michigan statistical comparison
Wisconsin | Michigan Rank Defense Rank
Points Per Game 30.8 | 52.0 63 4
11.8 13.8 7 | 11
Rushing Yards 737 919 322 490
Rush Avg. Per Game 184.2 229.8 58 29
80.5 122.5 10 40
Avg. Per Rush 3.9 | 5.4
3.2 3.4
Passing Yards 905 952 786 589
Pass Avg. Per Game 226.2 238.0 70 65 196.5 147.2 39 12
Total Offense 1,642 1,871 1,108 1,079
Total Off Avg. Per Game 410.5 467.8 75 40 277.0 269.8 12 11
Kick Return Average 21.4 15.7 67 121 14.6 20.0 6 | 52
Punt Return Average 6.8 23.6 76 2 17.5 17.5 119 119
Avg. Time of Possession 37:01 32:26 3 31 22:59 | 27:34
3rd Down Conversion Pct 45.2% | 54.4% 43 7
23.9% | 12.0% 11 1
Sacks Allowed-Yards/By-Yards 6-30 | 5-34
39 | 29
11-65 | 17-144 32 | 4
Touchdowns Scored 14 28
5 | 7
Field Goals-Attempts 8-9 4-6
4-5 | 2-5
Red Zone Scores (14-18) 78%|(22-24) 92% 89 | 31
(5-7) 71%|(3-5) 60% 21 9
Red Zone Touchdowns (11-18) 61%|(18-24) 75% (3-7) 43%|(2-5) 40%
Off. S&P+/Def. S&P+ 27.7 36.6 80 23 14.6 9.1 6 2

Michigan and Wisconsin haven’t met since the 2010 season when Bret Beilema beat Rich Rodriguez 48-28. Jim Harbaugh was in his fourth and final season at Stanford and Paul Chryst was Wisconsin’s offensive coordinator. After a brief stint as Pitt’s head coach, Chryst returned to Madison last season and has maintained the success where Bielema and Gary Andersen left off.

While Michigan has played a weak schedule to date, Wisconsin has beaten two top-10 teams already. The Badgers knocked off 5th-ranked LSU, 16-14, in the season opener in Lambeau Field and blasted 8th-ranked Michigan State in East Lansing this past Saturday, 30-6. In between, they beat Akron (54-10) and Georgia State (23-17).

Wisconsin has done it mostly with its defense, which ranks 12th nationally in total defense (277 yards per game), seventh in scoring defense (11.8 points per game), 10th in rush defense (80.5 yards per game), and 39th in pass defense (196.5 yards per game).

The Badger defense has held three of four opponents under 100 yards rushing. LSU was the only one that cracked 100 behind Leonard Fournette’s 138 yards, but he didn’t find the end zone. Michigan State managed just 75 rushing yards on 27 carries. Georgia State is the only team to score a rushing touchdown against Wisconsin, but that came in a 28-carry, 33-yard performance.

The pass defense hasn’t been quite as dominant as the past two opponents have thrown for at least 250 yards. Georgia State went 20-of-30 for 269 yards and a touchdown, while Michigan State went 20-of-43 for 250 yards, but the Badgers were able to pick off MSU quarterback Tyler O’Conner three times.

Like Michigan, Wisconsin’s defense excels in getting off the field on third down, allowing opponents to convert just 23.9 percent, which ranks 11th nationally. Michigan is the nation’s best, allowing just 12 percent.

Offensively, Wisconsin is statistically comparable to where Penn State was entering last week’s game. The Badgers boast the Big Ten’s eight-best total offense (410.5 yards per game), eighth-best scoring offense (30.8 points per game), seventh-best rushing offense (184.2 yards per game), and ninth-best passing offense (226.2 yards per game).

Wisconsin features a better running game than Penn State, but a weaker passing game. The Badgers rushed for 294 yards and four touchdowns against Akron, but then again, Appalachian State rushed for 307 on the Zips. In the other three games, Wisconsin has averaged 147.7 rushing yards per game and just 3.4 yards per rush. Michigan State’s defense limited the Badger running game to just under three yards per carry on Saturday.

The passing game is pretty much a mirror of the running game. It had a big game against Akron — 292 yards and three touchdowns — but has averaged just 204 passing yards per game in the other three. It didn’t crack 200 yards against MSU on Saturday.

Special teams is an interesting area that Michigan may be able to take advantage of. Wisconsin isn’t dangerous returning kicks or punts, ranking 67th and 76th nationally, and has allowed a punt return for a touchdown. Jabrill Peppers leads the nation in punt return yards by a wide margin and already has one return for a touchdown — and barely missed another one last week.

Overall, Wisconsin is a solid team that is lead by its defense. That alone will keep the game much closer than Penn State was able to, as Michigan won’t be able to rush for 300 yards. Michigan boasts the nation’s fourth-best scoring offense, but expect a much lower scoring contest this Saturday.

Michigan hoops preview: Big Ten Tournament vs #6 (1) Wisconsin

Friday, March 13th, 2015


UM-Wisconsin
Michigan (16-15, 8-10) vs #6 Wisconsin (28-3, 16-2)
Friday, Mar. 13 | Chicago, Ill. | 12:00 p.m. EST | ESPN
Offense
64.9 Points/gm 71.7
(707-1,672) 42.3 Field Goal % 48.0 (784-1,635)
(244-681) 35.8 3-pt FG % 35.1 (209-596)
(353-466) 75.8 Free Throw % 75.4 (445-590)
11.4 FT Made/gm 14.4
30.5 Reb/gm 34.0
11.9 Assists/gm 12.4
9.7 Turnovers/gm 7.6
Defense
63.7 Points/gm 55.7
(739-1,651) 44.8 Field Goal % 41.4 (669-1,615)
(201-587) 34.2 3-pt FG % 35.2 (151-429)
34.1 Opp. Reb/gm 27.9
5.5 Steals/gm 4.5
1.7 Blocks/gm 3.6
Individual Leaders
Caris LeVert (14.9)*, Zak Irvin (14.0) Points/gm Frank Kaminsky (18.4), Sam Dekker (13.1)
Caris LeVert (4.9)*, Derrick Walton Jr (4.7)^ Reb/gm Frank Kaminsky (8.1), Nigel Hayes (6.9)
*Out for season, ^Injured

___________________________________________________________________________________

Michigan dominated Illinois on Thursday to avoid a losing season and keep its postseason hopes alive. The Wolverines are still in play for an NIT bid, although it’s far from certain unless the Wolverines beat Wisconsin on Friday. Wisconsin, meanwhile, is in the position Michigan was in a year ago, playing for a 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament.

The Starters
Minutes Points FG% 3FG% FT% Reb Ast TO Blk Stl
Frank Kaminsky (F) 32.6 18.4 55.9 41.0 75.2 8.1 2.6 1.6 1.6 0.7
Sam Dekker (F) 29.8 13.1 51.5 32.1 69.3 5.5 1.1 1.0 0.5 0.5
Nigel Hayes (F) 32.5 12.0 52.0 37.5 71.9 6.9 2.0 1.3 0.5 0.8
Bronson Koenig (G) 27.6 7.8 41.4 39.8 85.3 1.7 2.2 0.8 0.3 0.3
Josh Gasser (G) 32.1 7.0 42.8 37.7 85.7 3.5 1.6 0.5 0.2 0.7
The Others
Minutes Points FG% 3FG% FT% Reb Ast TO Blk Stl
Traevon Jackson (G)* 27.4 9.4 45.6 28.6 85.4 1.7 2.9 1.6 0.2 1.1
Duje Dukan (F) 16.6 4.7 37.2 29.4 71.1 2.8 0.7 0.8 0.1 0.2
Vitto Brown (F) 6.8 2.1 45.6 00.0 58.8 1.4 0.2 0.4 0.2 0.2
Zak Showalter (G) 7.7 2.1 37.8 08.3 88.0 1.3 0.4 0.1 0.1 0.3
Riley Dearring (G)* 2.8 0.8 40.0 42.9 00.0 0.2 0.1 0.4 0.0 0.1
*Injured
The Schedule
Date Opponent Score
Nov. 14 Northern Kentucky W 62-31
Nov. 16 Chattanooga W 89-45
Nov. 19 Green Bay W 84-60
Nov. 22 Boise State W 78-54
Nov. 26 UAB* W 72-43
Nov. 27 Georgetown* W 68-65
Nov. 28 Oklahoma* W 69-56
Dec. 3 #4 Duke^ L 70-80
Dec. 6 at Marquette W 49-38
Dec. 10 at Milwaukee W 93-54
Dec. 13 Nicholls State W 83-43
Dec. 22 at California W 68-56
Dec. 28 Buffalo W 68-56
Dec. 31 Penn State W 89-72
Jan. 4 at Northwestern W 81-58
Jan. 7 Purdue W 62-55
Jan. 11 at Rutgers L 62-67
Jan. 15 Nebraska W 70-55
Jan. 20 #25 Iowa W 82-50
Jan. 24 at Michigan W 69-64 OT
Jan. 31 at #25 Iowa W 74-63
Feb. 3 #23 Indiana W 92-78
Feb. 7 Northwestern W 65-50
Feb. 10 at Nebraska W 65-55
Feb. 15 Illinois W 68-49
Feb. 18 at Penn State W 55-47
Feb. 21 Minnesota W 63-43
Feb. 24 at #13 Maryland L 53-59
Mar. 1 Michigan State W 68-61
Mar. 5 at Minnesota W 76-63
Mar. 8 at Ohio State W 72-48
Mar. 13 (9) Michigan#
*Battle 4 Atlantis, ^ACC/Big Ten Challenge, #Big Ten Tournament

 

The Series

Michigan leads the all-time series 91-68. In this season’s only meeting between the two, Michigan took the Badgers to overtime in Ann Arbor but fell short, 69-64. Michigan was without Caris LeVert at that point, but did still have Derrick Walton, who led the team with 17 points. Michigan had no answer for Frank Kaminsky, who finished with 22 points and nine rebounds.

Near upset: #6 Wisconsin 69 – Michigan 64 OT

Sunday, January 25th, 2015


Michigan vs Wisconsin(Teresa Mathew, UMHoops)

ESPN’s College Gameday was in Ann Arbor for Michigan’s matchup with the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday night, but that doesn’t mean anyone was really expecting a good game between the two teams at opposite ends of the experience spectrum.

The Badgers, led by the eccentric but outstanding Bo Ryan, came in as the 6th-ranked team nationally, boasting a lineup replete with size, experience, talent, and cohesiveness. Frank Kaminsky, a preseason All-American 7-footer, is arguably one of the three best players in the country, but he’s joined by fellow senior Josh Gasser, junior (and surefire first-rounder) Sam Dekker, and experienced sophomores Nigel Hayes — a skilled big man — and Bronson Koenig. Coming off the bench, Ryan prefers another senior and another pair of sophomores being weaned into a handful of minutes per game. On Saturday night, not a single visiting freshman checked into the game.

Wisconsin returned just about everyone coming off a trip to the Final Four last season, and they’ve looked the part so far this year, with their only losses coming to Duke and a puzzling fall at Rutgers, where Kaminsky sat out and point guard Traevon Jackson injured himself in the second half.

Compare that to this season’s Michigan outfit, which is now down to nine scholarship players and starts two freshmen, two sophomores, and a junior – along with a bench full of more freshmen and walk-ons – and you see why the Badgers entered the evening as double-digit favorites. And though the Wolverines were just one round away from dancing in Dallas with the Badgers, injuries and NBA attrition have forced coach John Beilein into playing multiple lineups with almost no experience; on Saturday night, five freshmen and two sophomore walk-ons logged minutes for the home Maize and Blue.

For much of the night, the inklings of the Badgers’ superiority proved accurate, with Wisconsin jumping out to an early seven-point lead, enduring Michigan’s first-half run, then bringing it back to seven at the break before opening the lead up to 11 four minutes into the second half.

Dekker used his 6’9″ frame and athleticism to shoot over and drive past the defense on his way to eight first-half points, Koenig knocked down three of four shots for seven, and bigs Hayes and Kaminsky pitched in six a piece before the break. Michigan also displayed some nice balanced scoring, with six different players getting on the board in the first half, but no one scored more than Max Bielfeldt’s six. The Wolverines stuck in the game by taking advantage of an uncharacteristic six first-half giveaways from the Badgers – prompting Bo Ryan to quip that he was pondering opening a bakery because of so many turnovers in one of the more bizarre jokes I’ve ever heard in a press conference – and an even more surprising five offensive rebounds, including three for Bielfeldt that were all put back up and made.

The sloppy play for the Badgers wouldn’t continue forever, though, as the visitors turned it over just once in the second half, allowing them to use their full possessions and dominate with their size. A couple times, Spike Albrecht was comically caught trying to body up Kaminsky, who had his way in the post for much of the game to the tune of 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting without a single triple attempt.

Four Factors
Michigan Wisconsin
49.1 eFG% 53.9
36.7 OReb% 29.0
15.4 TO% 13.7
22.2 FTR 37.3

Despite the odds, Michigan still fought back as they have so many times this season. Missing leader Caris LeVert for just the second game, the Wolverines seemed to move the ball a little better around the perimeter with less reliance on the three. After falling down early in the game, Bielfeldt stepped up down low for three offensive boards and buckets to help the home squad take a 17-16 lead before fellow big man Mark Donnal checked in to score four more quick points, including one bucket on a pretty 15-foot turnaround fadeaway baseline jumper to keep Michigan up two with 3:13 remaining.

The Maize and Blue wouldn’t score the rest of the half, however, while Wisconsin quickly reeled off nine points courtesy of a Hayes and-one and buzzer-beating three and a ferocious dunk from Dekker, who had to leave the court after converting the three-point play due to a sizable amount of blood coming from his hand.

Early in the second half, it looked like Wisconsin would finally escape the ties of Michigan’s dizzying array of defenses and run away with it, but four straight buckets from four different Wolverines and a pair of Derrick Walton free throws tied things up at 38 midway through the second half. A Bronson Koenig three finally halted Michigan’s 11-0 run, but Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman stepped right up and nailed a three of his own to knot it up again.

With a veteran savvy that is becoming increasingly rare in college basketball, however, the Badgers remained unfazed and immediately scored seven in a row to go up 48-41 with just 7:33 remaining. It looked like the book would finally be closed on the evening, but Michigan fought back valiantly with five straight from Zak Irvin and a huge pair of makes from Rahk and Walton to cut things to two with 22 seconds left right after Josh Gasser missed the front end of his 1-and-1 try.

Michigan, with no choice but to foul, sent Koenig to the line for a 1-and-1 opportunity, and happily saw the second miss. Walton quickly got fouled, drained a pair to cut the lead to one, then Aubrey Dawkins put Koenig back to the line for two.

This time, the sophomore made good on both to give Wisconsin a three-point lead with just 10 seconds remaining.

The Wolverines would have one chance to send it to overtime, and with Bo Ryan electing not to intentionally foul, Dawkins caught a pass from Walton on the left wing, went up to shoot – drawing two defenders – and deftly laid it back off to an open Walton on the left.

The shot hung in the air for a few memorable moments before finding nothing but net, causing Crisler to erupt in a deafening roar as Michigan took it to OT.

Unfortunately for the terrific crowd and the scrappy Wolverines, the dream comeback died shortly after. Frank Kaminsky started off the extra period with an incredible and-one finish over Ricky Doyle, then Josh Gasser hit a three after a Michigan turnover to put Wisconsin up six before Beilein’s team knew what hit them.

And although the Wolverines had mustered up comeback after comeback all night long, this lead proved insurmountable. Kaminsky would finish the overtime period with eight of his game-high 22 while Gasser pitched in the three and Dekker made one free throw, giving Wisconsin the 69-64 win.

After the epic battle, Beilein said there would be no moral victories taken despite the encouraging performance, but that Michigan will certainly learn from the loss and continue to key in on what they did well.

It’s hard to not see this game as a positive for Michigan performance-wise, though, even if they let another potential season-changing win fall through their grasp.

Nine different Wolverines scored, led by Derrick Walton’s 17, while only Wisconsin’s starting five got on the scoreboard. Particularly encouraging for Michigan also was the collective output of bigs Doyle, Donnal, and Bielfeldt, who combined for 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting and 13 rebounds, including six offensive, while doing about as well as you could hope against the likes of Kaminsky and Hayes down low. That pair scored 32 points, but it took them 23 shots to get there.

Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman (Rahk) was another bright spot, as the freshman scored nine points on four shots and showed positive signs for the third straight game, according to Beilein. Rahk continues to display a better grasp of the offense and greatly increased confidence, but perhaps most impressive has been the drastic improvement in his outside shot. The knock on the Philadelphia native coming in was his inability to provide a deep threat, and he certainly struggled shooting earlier this year, but his shot looks terrific right now, and he has not been afraid to take the big ones.

The Wolverines will now face a Nebraska team this Tuesday coming off a home win over Michigan State before a gauntlet of games awaits in February.

At this point, Michigan has lots of catching up to do in order to have even an outside shot at making the Big Dance, but if they can play like this on a nightly basis, there should be a few reasonable opportunities for big wins in the near future.

The first step has been taken. Now the effort must be sustained.

Quick Hitters:

• In his press conference, Beilein confirmed that Michigan was fouling on purpose at the end of the first half, but that, looking back on it, they executed very poorly. The Wolverines had two fouls to give, but the confusion started when Walton, who already had one foul on the night, picked up a second foul some 30 feet from the hoop with 19 seconds on the clock. Michigan fouled again with nine seconds remaining, but that still gave Wisconsin plenty of time to score, which they capitalized on with a corner three from Nigel Hayes.

The controversial strategy from Beilein is designed to take advantage of “free” fouls at the end of the half in order to give the other team very little time to get set up and finish with a bucket, but in order to work, Michigan would like to leave the team with four seconds or fewer to operate. By fouling with 19 seconds left, the strategy was destined to fail, as Michigan couldn’t possibly utilize just one more foul to give effectively with so much time left.

Three Stars:

***Derrick Walton Jr.***
17 points (4-of-12 FG, 2-of-5 3pt, 7-of-8 FT), five rebounds (two offensive), two assists, one steal, one turnover in 39 minutes

**Max Bielfeldt**
9 points (4-of-6 FG, 1-of-3 3pt, 1-of-2 FT), five rebounds (three offensive) in 13 minutes

*Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman*
9 points (3-of-4 FG, 1-of-1 3pt, 2-of-2 FT), two rebounds in 23 minutes

Final Game Stats
# Name FG-FGA 3FG-3FGA FT-FTA OR DR TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
21 Zak Irvin* 5-15 2-6 0-0 1 1 2 0 12 2 1 0 1 40
24 Aubrey Dawkins* 1-3 1-3 0-0 0 3 3 4 3 2 0 1 0 24
32 Ricky Doyle* 1-3 0-0 2-2 1 4 5 3 4 0 0 0 0 23
02 Spike Albrecht* 1-4 0-2 0-0 0 1 1 0 2 2 1 0 0 25
10 Derrick Walton Jr* 4-12 2-5 7-8 2 3 5 4 17 2 5 0 1 40
03 Kameron Chatman 1-2 0-0 0-0 1 2 3 2 2 0 0 0 0 22
04 Andrew Dakich 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2
12 M-A. Abdur-Rahkman 3-4 1-1 2-2 0 2 2 4 9 0 0 0 0 23
20 Sean Lonergan 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
34 Mark Donnal 3-5 0-0 0-0 2 1 3 0 6 0 0 0 0 11
44 Max Bielfeldt 4-6 1-3 0-0 3 2 5 3 9 0 0 0 0 14
Totals 23-54 7-20 11-12 11 22 33 20 64 8 9 1 2 225
Wisconsin 24-51 7-21 14-19 9 21 30 12 69 12 8 1 4 225
Full Stats

Michigan hoops preview: #6 Wisconsin

Saturday, January 24th, 2015


UM-Wisconsin
Michigan (12-7, 5-2) vs #6 Wisconsin (17-2, 5-1)
Saturday, Jan. 24 | Ann Arbor, Mich. | 7:00 p.m. EST | ESPN
Offense
64.9 Points/gm 73.8
(425-1,033) 41.1 Field Goal % 48.9 (494-1,011)
(156-441) 35.4 3-pt FG % 35.8 (132-369)
(227-309) 73.5 Free Throw % 74.2 (282-380)
11.9 FT Made/gm 14.8
31.8 Reb/gm 34.4
12.4 Assists/gm 12.9
9.9 Turnovers/gm 7.8
Defense
61.6 Points/gm 54.6
(435-999) 43.5 Field Goal % 40.9 (399-976)
(125-362) 34.5 3-pt FG % 34.9 (90-258)
34.1 Opp. Reb/gm 27.6
6.1 Steals/gm 5.1
1.9 Blocks/gm 3.9
Individual Leaders
Caris LeVert (14.9)*, Zak Irvin (13.7) Points/gm Frank Kaminsky (16.9), Sam Dekker (12.6)
Caris LeVert (4.9)*, Derrick Walton Jr (4.7) Reb/gm Frank Kaminsky (8.2), Nigel Hayes (6.9)
*Out for season

___________________________________________________________________________________

Although Michigan’s postseason is hanging on by the thinnest of threads, the Wolverines stand just a half game out of first place in the Big Ten one-third of the way into conference play. Tonight, when Michigan hosts sixth-ranked Wisconsin in front of a nationally televised ESPN audience, it gets a prime opportunity to seize the quality win its resume lacks. Let’s take a look at the Badgers.

The Starters
Minutes Points FG% 3FG% FT% Reb Ast TO Blk Stl
Frank Kaminsky (F) 30.4 16.9 53.4 40.4 75.6 8.2 2.4 1.4 1.8 1.1
Sam Dekker (F) 27.4 12.6 52.7 35.6 69.0 4.9 1.2 1.2 0.5 0.3
Nigel Hayes (F) 31.4 12.5 55.3 36.8 69.6 6.9 1.9 0.9 0.6 0.7
Josh Gasser (G) 29.4 7.2 45.2 40.3 85.4 2.7 1.5 0.5 0.1 0.8
Bronson Koenig (G) 22.1 5.6 43.5 37.0 87.5 1.4 2.1 0.5 0.2 0.3
The Others
Minutes Points FG% 3FG% FT% Reb Ast TO Blk Stl
Traevon Jackson (G)* 27.4 9.4 45.6 28.6 85.4 1.7 2.9 1.6 0.2 1.1
Duje Dukan (F) 18.6 6.5 43.5 35.4 66.7 3.2 0.8 0.9 0.1 0.4
Vitto Brown (F) 8.8 2.8 48.8 00.0 58.8 2.1 0.2 0.4 0.3 0.3
Zak Showalter (G) 7.3 2.7 40.7 14.3 85.7 1.3 0.3 0.1 0.2 0.4
Riley Dearring (G) 3.1 1.0 40.0 42.9 00.0 0.2 0.1 0.4 0.0 0.1
*Injured
The Schedule
Date Opponent Score
Nov. 14 Northern Kentucky W 62-31
Nov. 16 Chattanooga W 89-45
Nov. 19 Green Bay W 84-60
Nov. 22 Boise State W 78-54
Nov. 26 UAB* W 72-43
Nov. 27 Georgetown* W 68-65
Nov. 28 Oklahoma* W 69-56
Dec. 3 #4 Duke^ L 70-80
Dec. 6 at Marquette W 49-38
Dec. 10 at Milwaukee W 93-54
Dec. 13 Nicholls State W 83-43
Dec. 22 at California W 68-56
Dec. 28 Buffalo W 68-56
Dec. 31 Penn State W 89-72
Jan. 4 at Northwestern W 81-58
Jan. 7 Purdue W 62-55
Jan. 11 at Rutgers L 62-67
Jan. 15 Nebraska W 70-55
Jan. 20 #25 Iowa W 82-50
Jan. 24 at Michigan
Jan. 31 at #25 Iowa
Feb. 3 #23 Indiana
Feb. 7 Northwestern
Feb. 10 at Nebraska
Feb. 15 Illinois
Feb. 18 at Penn State
Feb. 21 Minnesota
Feb. 24 at #13 Maryland
Mar. 1 Michigan State
Mar. 5 at Minnesota
Mar. 8 at Ohio State
*Battle 4 Atlantis, ^ACC/Big Ten Challenge

Wisconsin began the season as the favorite to win the Big Ten and opened with seven straight wins, capturing the Battle 4 Atlantis crown before falling to Duke in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Another winning streak carried the Badgers into Big Ten play before Rutgers of all teams stopped the streak at eight just two weeks ago. But Wisconsin responded with a 15-point win over Nebraska and a 32-point thumping of 25th-ranked Iowa.

The Series

Michigan leads the all-time series 91-67 and 56-21 in Ann Arbor. Last season, the teams split their matchups, each winning on the road. Michigan beat Wisconsin 77-70 at the Kohl Center and Wisconsin returned the favor 75-62 in the Crisler Center. John Beilein is 2-12 all-time against Wisconsin.

Notes

• Senior guard Traevon Jackson broke his foot in a loss to Rutgers on Jan. 11 and will miss tonight’s game. He had started 84 consecutive games

• Wisconsin ranks fourth in the Big Ten in scoring (73.8 points per game) and first in scoring defense (54.6). The Badgers’ plus-19.2 scoring margin also leads the conference

• Wisconsin ranks second in the Big Ten in shooting percentage (48.9) and seventh in three-point shooting (35.8)

• Wisconsin ranks 12th in the Big Ten in three-point shooting defense (34.9 percent), ahead of only Northwestern and Purdue

• Senior Frank Kaminsky ranks fifth in the Big Ten in scoring (16.9 points per game), second in rebounding (8.2), fifth in blocked shots (1.8), and first in defensive rebounds per game (6.6)

• Sophomore Nigel Hayes ranks fifth in the Big Ten in rebounding (6.9 per game)