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Posts Tagged ‘Kohl Center’

Inside the Numbers: Ready for the rough road ahead

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014


Beilein vs Wisconsin(Mike McGinnis, Getty Images)

Even though “Inside the Numbers” had been claiming for weeks that Michigan was a Big Ten contender, it was not until Michigan’s fifth straight victory to open Big Ten play that the rest of the nation realized the same. Last Saturday, Michigan walked into the Kohl Center—a place where U-M had not won since 1999—and beat the Wisconsin Badgers, 77-70, in one of the most aesthetically-pleasing college basketball games thus far this season.

The Wolverines were in command almost the entire contest. They led Wisconsin—last week’s No.3 team in the Associated Press poll—for all but one minute and 25 seconds and owned a 15-point lead midway through the second half. Wisconsin enhanced the drama by cutting U-M’s lead to one with two minutes left. But, in those final two minutes, UW never had possession of the basketball with the opportunity to reclaim the lead. That is because Nik Stauskas buried the Badgers with this “cold-blooded,” step-back three-pointer.

Stauskas 3 vs Wisconsin

Nik Stauskas took over down the stretch to help Michigan top Wisconsin (Mike McGinnis, Getty Images)

Not only did Michigan earn what advanced metrics considered at the time to be the toughest Big Ten contest a team could win this season, it was a historic victory for the program from Ann Arbor. It was Michigan’s first win against an AP Top 3 team in the seven years John Beilein has served as the Wolverines’ head coach. It also was the first road win against an AP Top 3 team in the 98 years of Michigan basketball.

But Michigan has no time to celebrate. The path to a Big Ten championship will not become any less bumpy, especially in the next few days. What is the Wolverines’ reward for beating Wisconsin in Madison? It is the opportunity to play No.10 Iowa at home tonight and No.3 Michigan State in East Lansing just three days thereafter.

This will be the second time that Michigan has played three straight regular-season games against AP Top 10 schools in program history. The first time the Wolverines endured such a challenge was in December of 1963. Michigan cruised to a 16-point win against No.5 Duke, defeated No.10 NYU by nine points, and lost to No.4 UCLA, 98-80, in the span of seven days that December.

However, this will not be the first time in 51 years that Michigan has faced such a difficult stretch of games. In actuality, the Wolverines have become quite accustomed to playing some of the nation’s best teams in three or more consecutive games, having done so each of the past three seasons. Since the 2010-11 season, the Wolverines have played at least three consecutive contests against opponents ranked in the Top 15 of Ken Pomeroy’s rankings—which are formulated by an advanced algorithm—at least once each season. Those challenges have prepared Michigan for the obstacles it will face not only this week, but in February, too.

During the 2010-11 season, the Maize and Blue were scheduled to play Wisconsin, Kansas, and Ohio State in three consecutive contests from January 5 to January 12, 2011. The Badgers were outside the AP Top 25, but Pomeroy’s algorithm—which is a much better evaluator of a college basketball teams’ ability—ranked them at No.15. There was no such discrepancy with regards to Kansas and Ohio State as both rankings listed the Jayhawks and Buckeyes in the Top 3.

Michigan’s Most Difficult Three-Game Stretch in 2010-11

Date

Opponent

Site

Opp. AP Rank

Opp. Pomeroy Rank

Pomeroy Win Odds

Result

Jan. 5, 2011

Wisconsin

Away

NR

#15

23%

L, 50-66

Jan. 9, 2011

Kansas

Home

#3

#3

43%

L, 60-67 (OT)

Jan. 12, 2011

Ohio St.

Home

#2

#2

32%

L, 64-68

Table 1Pomeroy’s algorithm gave Michigan a 70.2 percent chance to win at least once. Further, the most likely scenario was that U-M would finish escape this brutal run with a 1-2 record, having a 45.4 percent chance of doing so. Yet the Wolverines lost all three games. Michigan fought hard against Kansas and Ohio State at home, pushing each to the brink, but U-M could not muster the few extra points needed to give the students a reason to storm the court at the then-named Crisler Arena. It was a disappointing stretch for the Wolverines—especially since it was the first half of what would be a six-game losing streak—but not completely unexpected for a team ranked outside Pomeroy’s Top 50.

However, it was a learning experience for Michigan and gave U-M a taste of what the Big Ten schedule would be like the next few years. In 2011-12, the Wolverines were a much better team. U-M was 16-5, 6-2 in the Big Ten, and No.33 in Pomeroy’s rankings. But Ohio State, Indiana, and Michigan State were the next three Big Ten teams with which Michigan was getting into the ring. Almost midway through the conference season, the Wolverines were eyeing a Big Ten championship and could not afford to be shut out during their toughest three-game stretch for the second straight year.

Michigan’s Most Difficult Three-Game Stretch in 2011-12

Date

Opponent

Site

Opp. AP Rank

Opp. Pomeroy Rank

Pomeroy Win Odds

Result

Jan. 29, 2012

Ohio St.

Away

#4

#1

6%

L, 49-64

Feb. 1, 2012

Indiana

Home

#20

#10

45%

W, 68-56

Feb. 5, 2012

Michigan St.

Away

#9

#5

15%

L, 54-64

Table 2Despite being a better team in 2011-12 than the previous season, Michigan’s toughest three-game stretch in 2011-12 was more difficult because U-M played two of those three games on the road rather than in Ann Arbor. As a result, Pomeroy believed the Wolverines had only a 56.1 percent chance to record at least one victory. The most likely outcome was that U-M would finish with a 1-2 record, but finishing with a 0-3 record was less than three percentage points away from being just as likely. But, unlike 2010-11, Michigan lived up to its expectations and snatched one win, defeating Indiana by 12 points at home.

This was an improvement from Michigan’s three-game stretch the prior season. The Wolverines learned just how valuable it is to protect home court during Big Ten play. By doing so against the Hoosiers, U-M stayed amidst the Big Ten race. Following this treacherous three-game stretch, Michigan won six of its final seven games and captured its first share of a Big Ten regular season championship since 1986. Without that victory against Indiana, U-M’s Big Ten-championship drought would be at 27 years.

Last season, Michigan fielded its best team in two decades. Coincidentally, Big Ten officials decided that scheduling three straight games against Pomeroy Top 15 opponents was too easy for the Wolverines, so they decided to schedule four straight instead. And to make matters worse, three of those would be played in Big Ten cities not named Ann Arbor. Nonetheless, many expected the Wolverines to maneuver past these roadblocks because U-M endured these rough patches in the schedule the past two years and was one of the nation’s best teams.

Michigan’s Most Difficult Four-Game Stretch in 2012-13

Date

Opponent

Site

Opp. AP Rank

Opp. Pomeroy Rank

Pomeroy Win Odds

Result

Feb. 2, 2013

Indiana

Away

#3

#2

32%

L, 73-81

Feb. 5, 2013

Ohio St.

Home

#10

#11

76%

W, 76-74 (OT)

Feb. 9, 2013

Wisconsin

Away

NR

#14

56%

L, 62-65 (OT)

Feb. 12, 2013

Michigan St.

Away

#8

#14

55%

L, 52-75

Table 3Even though Michigan was going to play three of these four games on the road, Pomeroy’s algorithm still gave U-M a 77 percent chance to win at least two games. And the most likely outcome was that the Wolverines would finish with a 2-2 record. The Wolverines did remember their lesson from 2011-12 and protected their home court, edging Ohio State by two points in overtime.

But what Michigan needed to learn was how to win road contests during these tough stretches. U-M’s best shot was in Madison against Wisconsin when Tim Hardaway, Jr. broke a tie with a three-pointer with about two seconds left. But Wisconsin guard Ben Brust miraculously converted a buzzer-beating, half-court prayer to send the game to overtime where the Badgers would escape with a win. The heartbreaking loss sucked the wind out of U-M’s sails, and the Wolverines ultimately were unable to win any of those three road games. Thus, Michigan finished with a 1-3 record, below Pomeroy’s expectations for U-M.

Those three brutal stretches of games—in three consecutive seasons, no less—would take their toll on every team in NCAA D-1 basketball. The odds of even the best college basketball team escaping all three of those stretches unscathed would be slim to none. But Michigan posted only a 2-8 record during those three stretches combined. None of those wins were outside Ann Arbor. Given the expectations set by Pomeroy, U-M underwhelmed. And there were questions about whether Michigan could beat elite teams away from the Crisler Center.

But, then, everything clicked. Michigan became acclimated to these brutal conditions, and U-M’s experiences from those difficult stretches of games finally began to pay off. Proof? See Michigan’s magical run through the 2013 NCAA Tournament. In the Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, and Final Four, the Wolverines matched up against Kansas, Florida, and Syracuse, respectively, on neutral sites. All three opponents were ranked in Pomeroy’s Top 10. Pomeroy thought that Michigan had only a 7.4 percent chance to beat all three and advance to the national championship game. And, yet, the Wolverines did just that and were seven points shy of winning the program’s second national title.

Now, in the 2013-14 season, the Wolverines have begun to show that it can win contests not just at neutral sites, but also in true road games during these difficult stretches. Michigan proved that with its aforementioned upset win against Wisconsin four days ago. The Wolverines need to continue to show the nation that they can survive these stretches, starting with the one they are amid right now.

Michigan’s Difficult Three-Game Stretch from Jan. 18, 2014 to Jan. 25, 2014

Date

Opponent

Site

Opp. AP Rank

Opp. Pomeroy Rank

Pomeroy Win Odds

Result

Jan. 18

Wisconsin

Away

#3

#4

22%

W, 77-70

Jan. 22

Iowa

Home

#10

#5

57%

TBD

Jan. 25

Michigan St.

Away

#3

#6

31%

TBD

Table 4Before Michigan played Wisconsin in the Kohl Center, Pomeroy gave U-M a 23.1 percent chance that it would be winless during this stretch. Yet U-M already eliminated that possibility. So, with one win in the bank, Michigan already has matched its expectations and needs just one win against Iowa or Michigan State this week to surpass them. The odds that the Maize and Blue do just that: 70.3 percent.

With a 5-0 conference record and more than a seven-tenths chance to defeat at least one of the two Big Ten schools it will be competing with in the Big Ten race, Michigan has set itself up to make a run at a conference championship. However, it is not all cupcakes and ice cream once Michigan finishes this current test. In February, the Wolverines will endure a similarly difficult four-game stretch that likely will determine whether they have a legitimate shot at winning their second Big Ten title in three years.

Michigan’s Difficult Four-Game Stretch from Feb. 8, 2014 to Feb. 23, 2014

Date

Opponent

Site

Opp. AP Rank

Opp. Pomeroy Rank

Pomeroy Win Odds

Result

Feb. 8

Iowa

Away

#10

#5

27%

TBD

Feb. 11

Ohio St.

Away

#17

#16

36%

TBD

Feb. 16

Wisconsin

Home

#9

#7

62%

TBD

Feb. 23

Michigan St.

Home

#3

#6

62%

TBD

Table 5Pomeroy believes that the most likely outcome for Michigan during this second brutal stretch is a 2-2 record, with a 40 percent chance to do so. Pomeroy also thinks that Michigan has a 65 percent chance to grab at least two wins. Therefore, in Michigan’s seven games against the best of the Big Ten this season, Pomeroy’s algorithm gives the Wolverines almost a 50 percent chance to have no worse than a 4-3 record.

That is not a typo. Advanced metrics give Michigan almost a 50-50 shot to finish with at least a 4-3 record against Michigan State, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Ohio State in 2013-14. If the Wolverines can land on the right side of that coin flip, they likely will finish with no worse than a 14-4 Big Ten record assuming U-M loses a game or two it should win. That will likely result in a earning a share of the Big Ten championship and maybe even the whole thing.

Michigan is a Big Ten contender. Not only is U-M a Big Ten contender, it is a Big Ten contender whose conference season will be decided in two treacherous stretches that would break most teams. But Michigan has learned how to handle these rough sections of the road in the Big Ten, improving each of the past three seasons. The Wolverines now know how to maneuver through them whether they are at home or on the road.

Michigan did it on Saturday in Madison against Wisconsin. Tune into the Big Ten Network tonight at 7 p.m. EST to see if the Wolverines can do it for the second straight game against Iowa at the Crisler Center.

Beatdown in Badgertown: Michigan 77 – Wisconsin 70

Sunday, January 19th, 2014


(Mike McGinnis, Getty Images)

The last time Michigan won at Kohl Center, Britney Spears, The Backstreet Boys, ‘N Sync, and 98 Degrees were all vying for the top spot on the music charts. On Saturday evening, John Beilein’s squad put an end to that streak, topping the Badgers 77-70 to remain atop the Big Ten standings.

Holding a 68-67 lead with 1:14 remaining, Michigan was in desperate need of a basket. Wisconsin had gone on a 14-2 run over the previous six minutes and Michigan needed to stop the bleeding. That’s when Nik Stauskas took over. The sophomore dribbled the ball outside the arc on the left wing, started to drive towards the paint, but pulled back, brought the ball between his legs and pulled up from three-point range. Nothing but net.

Caris LeVert made all three of his three-point attempts en route to a 20-point night (Mike McGinnis, Getty Images)

Now with a four point lead, Jordan Morgan fouled Traevon Jackson, who hit one of two. From there on, it was a matter of hitting free throws and Michigan did just that. Stauskas was sent to the line three times and made all six attempts while Wisconsin was unable to make several desperation three-point attempts to seal the win.

Michigan started the game on fire, jumping out to a 15-8 lead in the first four minutes and maintaining a five-to-ten point lead the entire half. The Wolverines shot 60.7 percent and made 4-of-5 three-point attempts in the half and took a 43-38 lead into the locker room.

In the second half, Michigan’s shooting regressed back to the norm a bit, but the Wolverines were still able to widen the lead to 15 in the first eight minutes of the half. Then, Michigan went cold, leading to the Wisconsin run down the stretch.

For the game, Michigan shot 54.7 percent from the field and made 7-of-13 three-point attempts. Michigan out-rebounded Wisconsin 31-30 and blocked seven Badger shots.

Stauskas finished the game with 23 points on 7-of-17 shooting. He also added four rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a steal. Caris LeVert added 20 points on 7-of-15 shooting, making all three of his three-point attempts. Glenn Robinson III was the only other Wolverine in double figures with an efficient 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford combined to score 12 points, grab 15 rebounds and block five shots.

The third-ranked Badgers became the highest-ranked team Michigan has ever beaten on the road. Michigan remains tied with Michigan State, the only two teams in the Big Ten still unbeaten in league play. The Wolverines host Iowa (14-3, 3-1) on Wednesday.

Three Stars

***Nik Stauskas***
23 points (7-of-17 FG, 3-of-9 3PT, 6-of-6 FT), four rebounds, four assists, two blocks, one steal in 37 minutes

**Caris LeVert**
20 points (7-of-15 FG, 3-of-3 3PT, 3-of-3 FT), seven rebounds, four assists, four steals in 38 minutes

*Josh Gasser*
16 points (4-of-7 FG, 4-of-5 3PT, 4-of-5 FT), one rebound in 38 minutes

Notes

Michigan’s 5-0 Big Ten start is its best since starting 6-0 during the 2002-03 season

Nik Stauskas has now scored 20 or more points eight times this season

Caris LeVert has now scored 20 or more points three times this season

Final Game Stats
# Name FG-FGA 3FG-3FGA FT-FTA OR DR TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
01 Glenn Robinson III* 6-8 0-0 2-2 0 0 0 3 14 1 2 0 0 31
10 Derrick Walton Jr.* 1-2 0-0 0-1 0 2 2 0 2 2 0 0 0 31
11 Nik Stauskas* 7-17 3-9 6-6 0 4 4 2 23 4 2 2 1 37
52 Jordan Morgan* 3-3 0-0 0-0 1 7 8 4 6 1 1 3 0 21
23 Caris LeVert* 7-15 3-3 3-3 1 6 7 2 20 4 4 0 4 38
02 Spike Albrecht 1-2 1-1 1-2 0 0 0 1 4 0 0 0 1 10
15 Jon Horford 3-3 0-0 0-0 0 0 7 2 6 0 2 2 0 17
21 Zak Irvin 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 14
44 Max Bielfeldt 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Totals 29-53 7-13 12-14 3 28 31 14 77 12 11 7 6 200
Wisconsin 26-60 7-18 11-14 8 22 30 15 70 11 9 2 4 200
Full Stats

Sam’s 3 thoughts: Wisconsin

Saturday, January 18th, 2014


It’s no secret that Michigan’s schedule to open the conference season has been a little bit misrepresentative of the Big Ten’s overall strength. So far, the Wolverines’ four conference foes are just 4-11 in Big Ten games outside of Michigan. Even so, a 4-0 start to league play is nothing to be ashamed of, as the Maize and Blue are now one of only two undefeated teams left.

The road will not remain so easy, however, and the first difficult stretch of games begins this afternoon with a trip to the Kohl Center and a date with the 16-1 Wisconsin Badgers (6 p.m. EST on ESPN). Wisconsin, fresh off their first loss of the season to Indiana, will certainly be playing inspired basketball on a home court that has not played host to a Michigan victory the last 11 times these two teams faced off in Madison. But the Wolverines should make it competitive if they play a complete game.

Here are my thoughts for Michigan on this classic Big Ten battle.

Maximize and Value Possessions: This short tip is one that defines John Beilein’s basic offensive philosophy, and something his Michigan teams have done very well. Wisconsin, however, is a unique beast. In today’s preview of the Badgers, Beilein, Nik Stauskas, and Jordan Morgan all alluded to the notion that Bo Ryan’s Wisconsin team simply does not beat itself, and to have a chance against it, Michigan must value each and every possession while trying to snag as many extra possessions as possible. It is not rocket science, and Beilein’s young Wolverines already do a tremendous job holding onto the basketball and scoring with great efficiency, but it deserves repeating for tomorrow.

To have a shot in the game, Michigan absolutely cannot hand Wisconsin the ball and cannot take bad shots. Certainly, a perfect zero-turnover, 100 percent shooting night will not happen, but every time Michigan does cough it up or miss an ill-advised look, Wisconsin will seize the opportunity and make them pay. Similarly, if Michigan does not take advantage of the few turnovers the Badgers afford them, the Wolverines will not win. An overall solid performance should keep it close, but a great showing may be necessary to get the win in the end.

Ben Brust put a dagger in Michigan's heart last season, something the Wolverines won't forget (David Stluka)

The one area of the possession battle Michigan may try to exploit is on the glass. Wisconsin is a relatively small team, and while they usually rebound well for their size, the Badgers’ second-, third-, and fourth-best rebounders measure in at 6’1″, 6’2″, and 6’3″, respectively, and Ryan’s squad has had some difficulty cleaning up the defensive glass over the past few games, as Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana were able to post a combined offensive rebounding rate of 41.3 percent. On the other end of the floor, Michigan will need to limit Wisconsin to one shot per possession as often as possible, and that should be doable – the Badgers have only grabbed 25.3 percent of their misses over that same three-game period.

Communicate Defensively: Michigan’s struggles of late have come on the defensive end of the court, and while it has yet to cost the Wolverines a game in Big Ten play, too many lapses this afternoon will do them in. Beilein noted yesterday that one of the biggest reasons this Wisconsin team is so difficult to play against is that they will start five guys who can shoot the ball from beyond the arc, post up, pass, and play defense. Three of those four traits are offensive, and for good reason.

As a team, Wisconsin shoots nearly 40 percent from downtown while individually the Badgers’ starters have each made at least 16 treys on the year at a clip of at least 35.1 percent. Big man Frank Kaminsky, listed at 7’0″, continues a Bo Ryan tradition by leading the team in three-point shooting at 47.7 percent (better than Nik Stauskas).

This afternoon, Michigan needs to know the defensive plan and execute it perfectly. As they have done almost the entire season, the Wolverines will likely once again switch every ball screen, but any miscommunication that leaves a man open from deep will be lethal. What makes Wisconsin so difficult to guard, though, is that as soon as their opponents get too caught up in stopping the three-ball, the Badgers will take it to the lane or post up for easy one-on-one buckets. Excellent man defense will be an absolute requirement for Michigan to fly back to Ann Arbor with an unblemished Big Ten record.

Bring the Energy: Last year, Michigan had all but sealed a win at Wisconsin until Ben Brust banked in a half-court shot at the buzzer to send the game into an ill-fated overtime, and a couple years before that, Josh Gasser hit a game-winning three off the backboard as time expired at Crisler Arena. Tomorrow, the Wolverines need to stick together, play hard on every possession, and not dwell on past misfortune.

Stauskas indicated yesterday that he still thinks about the heartbreaking loss at Wisconsin a season ago and that he wants to prove that Michigan belongs in the elite ranks of the Big Ten. If Michigan can withstand the crowd and a Wisconsin team that is equally good now in hurrying up or slowing down (they have scored 70-plus points in eight straight games), it should be a dog fight. Mitch McGary will again not make the trip as he recovers from back surgery, and his loss will certainly be felt on the bench where he provided so much energy, but the rest of his teammates know the task at hand.

Prediction: A game at Wisconsin always seems to be one that looks increasingly winnable on paper but feels impossible based on prior knowledge. Michigan has certainly played some competitive games at the Kohl Center recently and should again be able to make a contest of it tomorrow, but Wisconsin is so good at home that it is hard to see a Wolverine victory. I think the Maize and Blue carry a lead into halftime but fail to withstand a smooth-shooting, veteran Wisconsin squad and ultimately lose, 71-64.

Wisconsin 65 – Michigan 62 OT: Half court heave dooms Michigan

Saturday, February 9th, 2013


Final 1st 2nd OT Total
#3 Michigan (21-3, 8-3) 29 31 2 62
Wisconsin (17-7, 8-3) 28 32 5 65

This is what it's like for Michigan in the Kohl Center (Andy Manis, AP)

Tim Hardaway Jr’s three-pointer with three seconds to play seemed to have ended Michigan’s 13-year futility in Madison. It gave the Wolverines a three point lead and left Wisconsin needing to go the length of the court in 2.1 seconds. But the inbounds pass hit Ben Brust on a curl at midcourt and he took one dribble and heaved it towards the rim. Just as one would expect in Madison, it found nothing but net and sent the game into overtime.

In the extra period, Michigan was unable to find any offense, scoring just two points and missing a couple of layups that could have made the difference. Just like in regulation, it was Brust who hit the big shot, this time a three from several feet behind the three-point line to give the Badgers a three point lead.

After Michigan couldn’t score, the Wolverines were forced to foul, but Ryan Evans missed the front end of a one-and-one, giving Michigan one final chance. But just like at Ohio State, Trey Burke’s three rattled in and out and the Wolverines were sent home from the Kohl Center in defeat yet again.

From the start, it was evident that Michigan was in for a dogfight as Wisconsin opened up a nine point lead by the under-eight time out. But Michigan went on a 9-1 run over the next two-and-a-half minutes to pull within one, and then a pair of Burke jumpers gave Michigan a one-point lead heading into the locker room.

Wisconsin took the lead back in the early part of the second half, but Michigan built a 55-49 lead with 6:31 left to play. From that point, the Wolverines were held scoreless until Burke hit a shot at the 1:06 mark. Michigan led 57-54. Wisconsin big man Jared Berggren beat Mitch McGary off the dribble and dunked over Burke who tried the draw the charge. He was called for a block, sending Berggren to the line for a chance to tie the game. He made the free throw which led to the end of regulation heroics by Hardaway and then Brust.

Burke led Michigan with 19 points, but it took him 21 shots to do so. He hit just 2-of-8 three-point attempts. Hardway finished with 18 on 8-of-17 shooting. McGary had another good game, scoring 12 points and grabbing eight rebounds. He showed the ability to hit the mid-range jumper that will make him tough to defend if he can do so consistently.

As a team, Michigan shot just 39.4 percent from the field and 27.8 percent from downtown. Wisconsin, a poor shooting team, made nearly 44 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from three-point range. For the second game in a row Michigan had trouble getting to the free throw line, this time attempting just two after shooting none against Ohio State.

Michigan missed a golden opportunity to sieze control of the Big Ten race, and now finds itself staring down a must win on the road against Michigan State on Tuesday night.

Final Game Stats
# Name FG-FGA 3FG-3FGA FT-FTA OR DR TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
01 Glenn Robinson III* 2-6 0-1 0-0 1 2 3 2 4 0 0 0 2 33
15 Jon Horford* 1-4 0-0 0-0 1 1 2 2 2 0 1 0 0 7
03 Trey Burke* 8-21 2-8 1-2 0 5 5 2 19 4 1 0 2 40
10 Tim Hardaway Jr.* 8-17 2-3 0-0 0 4 4 4 18 3 1 0 0 37
11 Nik Stauskas* 2-7 1-5 0-0 2 5 7 1 5 3 3 0 0 39
02 Spike Albrecht 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 11
04 Mitch McGary 6-10 0-0 0-0 2 6 8 1 12 1 0 1 3 32
23 Caris LeVert 0-3 0-1 0-0 0 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 8
44 Max Bielfeldt 1-3 0-0 0-0 2 2 4 0 2 1 0 0 0 48
Totals 28-71 5-18 1-2 11 28 39 13 62 12 7 1 8 205
Wisconsin 25-57 10-24 5-10 7 32 39 8 65 14 14 5 4 205

Michigan at Wisconsin preview

Friday, February 8th, 2013


#3 Michigan vs Wisconsin
Saturday, Feb. 9 | 12pm ET | ESPN
21-2 (8-2) Record 16-7 (7-3)
Slippery Rock 100-62
IUPUI 91-54
Cleveland State 77-47
Pittsburgh 67-62
Kansas State 71-57
NC State 79-72
Bradley 74-66
W. Michigan 73-41
Arkansas 80-67
Binghamton 67-39
West Virginia 81-66
E. Michigan 93-54
C. Michigan 88-73
Northwestern 94-66
Iowa 95-67
Nebraska 62-47
#9 Minnesota 83-75
Purdue 68-53
Illinois 74-60
Northwestern 68-46
#10 Ohio State 76-74 OT
Wins SE Louisiana 87-47
Cornell 73-40
Presbyterian 88-43
Arkansas 77-70
California 81-56
Nebraska-Omaha 86-40
Green Bay 65-54
Milwaukee 74-53
Samford 87-51
Penn State 60-51
Nebraska 47-41
#12 Illinois 74-51
#2 Indiana 64-59
#12 Minnesota 45-44
Illinois 74-68
Iowa 74-70 2OT
#15 Ohio State 56-53
#3 Indiana 73-81
Losses #10 Florida 56-74
#14 Creighton 74-84
Virginia 54-60
Marquette 50-60
Iowa 66-70
#13 Michigan State 47-49
#11 Ohio State 49-58
77.7 Points Per Game 67.5
60.2 Scoring Defense 56.2
667-for-1,325 (50.3%) Field Goal % 562-for-1,317 (42.7%)
529-for-1,283 (41.2%) Def. Field Goal % 483-for-1,206 (40.0%)
193-for-469 (41.2%) 3-point % 176-for-512 (34.4%)
147-for-467 (31.5%) Def. 3-point % 89-for-291 (30.6%)
260-for-370 (70.3%) Free Throw % 252-for-405 (62.2%)
11.3 FT Made/Game 11.0
36.2 Rebounds Per Game 36.9
29.6 Opp. Reb. Per Game 32.3
15.5 Assists Per Game 13.2
9.4 Turnovers Per Game 9.2
5.6 Steals Per Game 5.9
2.9 Blocks Per Game 4.0
G – Trey Burke (18.1)
G – Tim Hardaway Jr. (16.0)
Leading Scorer F – Jared Berggren (11.8)
G – Ben Brust (11.0)
F – Mitch McGary (6.0)
F – Glenn Robinson III (5.7)
Leading Rebounder F – Ryan Evans (7.7)
F – Jared Berggren (6.8)

For the third weekend in the past five, Michigan has a chance to grab the No.1 spot in the national rankings with a win. Whether the Wolverines actually want the ranking and the curse that comes with it is debatable, since it seems to be the poison pill the past few weeks. But no one doubts whether the Maize and Blue want or need the win in Madison on Saturday afternoon.

With Indiana’s loss to Illinois on Thursday night and Michigan’s overtime win over Ohio State on Tuesday, the Wolverines are back in control of their own destiny in the Big Ten race. There’s still a long way to go with two games against rival Michigan State and a home bout with Indiana remaining, but a win tomorrow in one of the conference’s toughest venues would be big.

Nobody expected Wisconsin to be among the Big Ten’s title contenders, but with a win over Indiana and narrow losses to Ohio State and Michigan State, the Badgers have shown how feisty they can be. In essence, they’re a classic Bo Ryan team based around relentless defense and a ball control offense.

Saturday’s early showdown (tip is 11am local time) will be a clash of styles as the Big Ten’s top defense that prefers to play the game at a snail’s pace will try to slow down Michigan’s ultra-efficient offense that relies on a dynamic transition game.

While Arkansas and Virginia managed to beat Wisconsin in Madison early in the season, the Badgers have proven that doing so in conference play is a much tougher proposition. They beat Illinois and Minnesota in the Kohl Center and took Michigan State to the wire. But it was the win at Indiana three weeks ago that let everyone know they’re for real. Wisconsin’s defense held the Hoosiers 24 points below their season average thanks to a defense that limited Indiana to just 37 percent from the field.

A trio of Badgers score at roughly the same clip, led by 6’10″ big man Jared Berggren’s 11.8 points per game. He scored 27 earlier in the season against Creighton, but had a string of five out of six games in which he was held to single-digits beginning with the IU game. Since that game, he has shot just 32 percent from the field. He has the ability to step out and hit the three, but over that span, he has made just 4-of-22. He’s also the second-team’s leading rebounder, which you would expect from a guy his size.

Guard Ben Brust averages 11 points and just under three assists per game and is coming off back-to-back solid performances. He scored 20 and 18 points against Illinois and Iowa, respectively, and shot 52 percent in the process. He’s a dangerous three-point shooter as well.

Senior forward Ryan Evans is also hot after consecutive 15-point, nine-rebound performances. He leads the team with 7.7 rebounds per game, but is not a threat from three, and if there’s a guy you need to foul down the stretch, he’s the guy with a 42.5 percent free throw clip.

The Kohl Center hasn't been kind to Michigan

Sam Dekker is a freshman who averages 8.7 points per game and is the team’s best three-point shooter at 42.1 percent. Traevon Jackson is the other guard, but has had his share of struggles this season. He turns the ball over nearly twice a game, which is uncharacteristic of the typical Bo Ryan guard, and is shooting just 28 percent from three-point range.

The other big man that plays a lot is Mike Bruesewitz. You might know him as the big white guy with the red afro. He averages 7.1 points and 5.6 rebounds in 27 minutes per game and is the hustle guy that plays a similar role as Mitch McGary. He’s shooting 45.1 percent overall and a smidgen over 30 percent from downtown, but he’s also the guy most likely to bank in a three at the buzzer (yes, I’m still bitter about what Josh Gasser did to us a couple years ago).

The main key for Michigan in this one is to not let Wisconsin dictate the tempo, which is exactly what the Ryan will want his squad to do. The Badgers are not very good offensively, so Michigan wil need to turn up the intensity on defense to force some turnovers and get out on the fast break where the Wolverines are deadly. If the entire offense revolves around Trey Burke taking step-back threes at the end of the shot-clock, Michigan likely won’t win. Push the tempo in the early going, get out to a good lead, and make Wisconsin win with its offense.

Michigan hasn’t won at the Kohl Center since 1999, and with a trip to East Lansing looming on Tuesday, will need to end that streak. Sam says Michigan will do just that with a 68-58 win to regain the No.1 ranking come Monday.