Game 30: Michigan at Wisconsin Post Game

Dylan Burkhardt

Michigan hung in there against the Badgers but just didn’t have enough down the stretch. There is a reason why Bo Ryan is 48-0 against unranked Big Ten teams at the Kohl Center and we saw it today. They know how score just enough points with their efficient offense and how to play “Big Ten defense”. Wisconsin is one of the worst match-ups in the conference for Michigan because they are just so big and physical and love to post up. As much as this one hurts, it’s hard to be discouraged because I didn’t expect it to be this close. You have to remember that this is the same Wisconsin team that dominated Michigan for 40 minutes in Ann Arbor.

In the first half the Michigan offense looked great. The spacing was good and Manny Harris did a great job facilitating the offense. Manny scored inside and out in the first half and also did a great job at driving and kicking. Other guys got involved in the first half and hit some big three pointers (5-11). The offense ran so well that Michigan actually had a lead at the half despite Wisconsin’s hot start. The second half was a different story. The game became much more physical and Manny was limited. Michigan scored 2 points over the first 8 minutes of the half and let Wisconsin take control of the game. DeShawn Sims had a big game and he kept Michigan in it but it wasn’t enough. Michigan was 1 of 11 on three point shots in the second half and you can count the number of shots that someone beside Manny or Peedi made on one hand.

Looking at the four factors the biggest differences were at the free throw line and on the glass. Wisconsin got a bunch of backbreaking offensive rebounds down the stretch which left me screaming at me television. Wisconsin’s offense was very efficient (1.11 ppp) but Michigan tightened up a bit after a dreadful start. It’s hard to win on the road when you spot the other team so many easy layups and second chances. I’m going to follow John Gasaway’s lead and avoid talking about the officiating but Wisconsin got to the line down the stretch and Michigan didn’t.

It is no time for moral victories but I still give Michigan a lot of credit. They fought back multiple times and had a chance at the end despite getting down early and coming out so flat in the second half. All you can do at this point is watch the tape and move on. All the chips are on the table for Saturday’s game at Minnesota and it’s not going to be easy. Luckily Michigan has been worlds better when they are playing on three or more days of rest. As commenters continue to point out, Michigan is 14-2 with 3+ days of rest and 4-10 with less than 3 days of rest. Our RPI held at 46 and some other bubble teams lost this weekend and it looks more and more like the Minnesota game could essentially be a play-in game for the tournament.

Programming Note: I’ll have another bubble update and an update on Moses Morgan tomorrow followed by the typical Monday recruiting post on Tuesday.

Player Bullets:

  • DeShawn Sims: Peedi played very well overall after looking a little lost early on: 17 points on 8 of 16 shooting with 7 rebounds and 2 steals. The two three pointers late were frustrating to just about everyone including John Beilein but beyond that he was the one keeping Michigan in the game in the second half.
  • Manny Harris: Manny was exceptional in the first half but he struggled a bit in the second. The three point shot wasn’t falling for Manny and he settled for it a little bit too much. Manny did a great job on the glass and scored 15 points but he just couldn’t get to the line. I, like many others, would like to see Manny demand the ball a little more with the shot clock running down but I’m not sure what Beilein wants in those situations.
  • CJ Lee: CJ got schooled by Trevon Hughes today, Hughes got just about any shot he wanted and hit some absolute daggers. CJ did hit a couple threes to go along with 4 assists and a steal but it wasn’t his best night.
  • Zack Novak: This is one of those games that is just tough for Novak because of Wisconsin’s size, his final numbers were: 6 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists.
  • Stu Douglass: Just like just about everyone else, a pretty quiet game. Stu hit one triple but seemed hindered by Wisconsin’s length on defense.
  • Laval Lucas-Perry: Laval is still struggling. He hit a big three pointer but then took a poor shot the next time down the court.
  • Dave Merritt, Zack Gibson, Anthony Wright, and Kelvin Grady: These four combined for 2 points and 1 rebound in 20 minutes.

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  • gpsimms

    this is on the open thread for the game, but is worth repeating:

    first of all, let’s remember what wisco did to us on our court. I was expecting a blowout today, all of the metrics we’ve looked at earlier this year were pointing to blowout as well: road+quick turnover after a good game+backs not against wall+worst matchup for us in the B10=should have been worse than it was.

    The good overall effort, to me, indicates how far this team has come this year. I know most people think that after the ‘hot start’ this might be a disappointing position to be in, but I honestly believe this team has improved a lot during the B10 season. Today’s effort means to me the Purdue game was not a spike in performance, but that we are actually better!

    Now, poor shots from DeShawn, I agree…but you definitely can’t blame Beilein. Krabbenhoft really stepped up the d on Manny in the second half, and the reffing didn’t help either. After two iso-type plays for Manny, and Manny’s getting mauled twice, and not getting a call, then I guess you can’t try to set Manny up to drive anymore, right? What would you do? I guarantee you, Manny was not going to get a call from the ref in the last 2 minutes.

    Anyway, this game was leaps and bounds better than the one in AA, and I think we’re set up to win the Minny game. backs against the wall+long prep+decent matchup for us+less difficult road environment=we can win.

  • Drew

    Shoulda won this one fellas. That was extremely frustrating. Anyone else fed up with Manny looking for contact instead of just laying the ball in? I specifically remember him doing it down the stretch today and missing what should have been a simple lay in, and he did it against Iowa. But I’m not gonna knock him too much cause I loved that move he put on Krabenhoft(sp?), mostly because I hate pretty much everyone on Wisconsin and him especially.

  • bentley

    I don’t know about everyone else, but my frustration hit a peak today and maybe I am starting to become apathetic. I truly do not understand merritt getting so many minutes. I know he only got about 10, but he gives us absolutely nothing. He is a liability on both sides of the ball. I understand that he hustles, but at this point in time we need a 3rd scorer or at least someone that can create off the dribble. And while I think you can only play Grady 3-5 minutes at a time and 10-15 per game, he does provide that ability that we so desperately need. CJ lee’s vaunted defense has been exposed lately as well. I dont think he should lose his spot, but if he can’t play defense why stick with him, tell me what he provides on a consistent basis outside of defense. Either way I think Michigan has a shot at Minnesota, probably not a great one, and I definitely don’t like the prospects of beating Northwestern a third time (not going to be easy) for the right to play sparty.

  • BJ

    Saturday can’t come soon enough…I’m pumped! Road trip? :0

  • JimC

    Yeah the only guys who really deserved their minutes were Manny & Sims. Personally, I thought Novak played too much again and was getting taken in the post, but I think the team played about as well as they can on the road.

    They need to elevate and play way over their heads one time!

  • blueblitz

    Take this to the bank…UM beats Minnesota Saturday.

  • JimC

    Hey looking at the box again, wonder why Gibson only played 6 mins? Seems we really could’ve used him more, esp. on D.

  • Avery Queen

    I think this game had very little to do with who did or didn’t play or who made mistakes. Wisconsin as a team is just not a good match up for us and even though we played them well they were tougher down the stretch. I am encouraged by pretty solid play but this is what, like the 5th road game where we had a lead at half and couldn’t quite hang on to it?

    So here is how I see it. We are a bubble team for one reason: our inability to finish games on the road. We have one chance left to prove we can do it and if we do it will be nice and fresh in the committee’s mind. If we can’t pull it off then honestly we just aren’t deserving.


    Sims’ final long-distance offering came with Michigan trailing 56-52.
    And while Beilein was repeating the word patience in Sims’ direction, the 6-foot-8 junior heard “take it”.

  • blueinflorida

    Really think that in order for us to be successful the rest of the year, Zack Gibson has to give us more. He’s gotta be able to play 12 minutes and give us ~6 pts plus some rebounds.

    I echo the sentiments about Merritt. Still don’t understand why Grady can’t get at least 5 minutes a game–he makes our offense so much better and we get more open looks when he’s in. Also—I know I’ve harped on this all year—-in a game like this where Novak is obviously outmuscled and overmatched, why Jevohn Shephard can’t get in the game is beyond me. He’s considerably stronger than Novak and I think we could have used him in this game.

    At this point, just have to trust Beilein. I do feel pretty confident about this game against Minnesota though. The guys should know this is it and I hope they play like it.

  • Erik

    I know someone who was at the game today. He claims Grady did not warm up with the team. He sat on the bench and trainers were occasionally talking with him.

    Take it for what it’s worth… I know Grady saw a little bit of game time though…

    Was anyone else there today?

  • wooderson

    I just can’t wait until we get a big guy…anyone over 6′ 10” with a pulse could’ve checked Leuer and Krabbenhoft easily. I agree 100% with blueinflorida: where was Shephard today? I can live with a few bad shots if it means a few less offensive rebounds given up.

    As far as the officiating goes: yes it wasn’t as egregious as some other games and ultimately probably didn’t cost us this one, but it’s so frustrating to see how Manny gets treated. The last 3 minutes of the game he got absolutely hammered every time he got near the basket and never got a call. Those were calls any other player in the league would get. I mentioned on mgoblog this week that there was only 1 Big 10 player out of the 30 on the Naismith watch list, well this is why.

  • Tom Too

    Regarding the big guy, if Beilein would recruit a big guy that has a weight greater than 210…..besides Cronin. He really needs to have a bruiser or two/three on each team. Gibson is not a bruiser. The Frosh coming in next year are not bruisers. He really needs to go after a Dallas Lauderdale-type of guy every other year. How many three point shooters does he need? Next year he is going to have Stu, the Frosh, and Novak. I think he has even been quoted as mentioning something along the lines of changing his recruiting, but I can’t remember exactly…

  • Is Jordan Morgan not a “bruiser”?

  • Tom Too

    Man, I am not sure. I haven’t seen him play, so it’s a tough call. I wasn’t thinking he was a bruiser because he committed so soon, before JB saw how physical the B10 was going to be. Also, I am never overly impressed with his rebound totals on the stats you post.

  • Well he is certainly over 210 pounds… His play has been underwhelming at times but he should be a “bruising” type of player I think.

  • Tom Too

    And, I have never seen a bruiser on ANY of his prior teams (Canisius, Richmond, West Virginia), and I have followed his teams since I played for him at LeMoyne….

  • Why does it seem like coming out of every time out UM passes the ball around the perimeter aimlessly and then gets forced to jack a bad shot to avoid a shot clock violation? I dont know what Beilein is drawing up but it obviously needs to change. I know many on here think Beilein is the greatest but this team displays a lack of direction at crucial times in games.

  • Drew

    I’ve heard that Jordan Morgan plays soft… FWIW

  • Aaron

    One thing I noticed is that we’re not playing well in the “crunch time” of the game. Beilein should have the team work on playing in pressure situations. As I see it there’s a combination of hot potato, a lack of knowledge of what exactly to do, trying too hard to not screw up, and awful clock management. Aside from the incredible turnaround fade that Peedi made, no one stepped up to make the big shot. Stu got a couple of good looks but wasn’t able to connect. I give him credit that he took them, but he’s gotta make them, that’s what he’s there for. Also, there was a point where there was 20 seconds left and Peedi wound up chucking a three, clearly we should have had someone take it to the hoop pretty much every time we got the ball. Can someone please add a post to this point on what the strategy should be? I am beginning think Beilein hasn’t worked on this with the team as much as he should.


    I just cannot stand the way Wisconsin plays basketball. Its just funny how a team that is structured like wisconsin can be so successful in conference, but the minute they have to play a more athletic team on a neutral court with different reffs they get taken out back. Just shows you that the way bo ryan constructs his teams doesnt allow for them to have success on a national level or in tournament settings. It was frustrating today to see Manny getting bodied and hacked by krabbenhoff. The thing that I always look at is if a less athletic player is guarding a more athletic/quicker player, they usually will need help, or have to play way off if the player is a decent shooter(which Manny is) so its confusing to me how none other than joe krabbenhoff is able to “lock down” Manny without picking up fouls. That should have been a good match up for us. But the way the reffs call these games I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Mark my words, whatever tournament wisco gets into, if krabbenhoff, or their other guard(cant remember the name) but if theyre matched up against more athletic players, on a neutral court with neutral reffs, they will struggle. Wisconsin is not built for national success, or tournament success. They wont go far.

    As for us, I dont think we played terrible, but our play and decision making late in games has not been very good as of late, something that surprises me with a JB team. I think a lot of it is just limited options, and or confidence in players on the offensive end. If its not Manny or Peedi, who is generating offense? I firmly believe thats the key reason JB has D Moris coming into town. Right now its like we are playing with 3 or 4 guys on offense. I have no problem with Lee getting minutes, he runs the offense well, doesnt turn it over, and plays his heart out. The thing I cant understand is the minutes Merritt gets. I can see him getting a few minutes, but KG should be getting most of those, for he will be a key cog in the wheel going into next year. Gibson is very frustrating, there is just no other way to put it. Its a rollercoaster ride with him. I would love for him to be one type of player or the other, a physical guy or a finesse guy. The problem is that Gibson isnt the great shooter or ball handler to say he is a good finesse player. He is just floating around somewhere in the middle, and its hurting us. As far as getting guys like Lauderdale or whoever, Im not quite sure. Lauderdale is so limited to what he can do on offense. I think we need to give this incoming class a shot. I dont think many of us have seen Jordan Morgan play, so lets hope when he gets here he gives us what we need. I think JB can still run his style, while still gravitating to a little more of a physical style. However, I would love to see JB go after this Solomon kid, as well as Amir. I think with JB’s ability to develop skill, he could take some bigs who might be a little more raw offensively, and really bring them along.

    Moving forward I think we just need more players at each position to pose a threat. The offense will run so much more smoothly when that happens. Morris, and KG at point, Cronin to guard the rim and do some dirty work, Mclimans to spread the floor and back up Peedi, ect…ect. That and the reffs getting on the same page and calling fouls on players when they a slow unathletic krabbenhoff cannot stay in front of Manny Harris. But it just takes time, and help is on the way.

  • DC

    > would like to see Manny demand the ball
    > a little more with the shot clock running
    > down but I’m not sure what Beilein wants
    > in those situations.

    It looks like the team doesn’t know
    what Beilein wants either. This has
    become a big problem and needs to be
    addressed. See for example the 1:30-ish
    mark of the Wisconsin game, with a chance
    to tie or take the lead.

  • JRose5

    Should have had that one! Manny has to be more assertive with the shot clock running down…if Coach B is not calling for that he is failing the team in that area! I also feel that KG could have played much better D on Hughes that CJ…I know CJ has been great for us, but hustle only goes so far against talent. Sims has become the leader of this team…I never thought I would say that. All in all, I am very excited about our chances at Minny…Bo Ryan’s teams are always tough at home and we still stayed in the game. We still just need to beat Minny and then our 1st round game and IMO we are in.

  • Avery Queen

    I really disagree with all these posts criticizing JBs play calling. I think if you go back and look at the following play from Sims last made basket we clearly (and logically) tried to get him the ball down low. It didn’t work out and Manny ended up driving which I think was the 2nd option. JB definitely didn’t draw up Sims shooting 3’s. I think it is just a lack of poise down the stretch and maybe you can blame that on coaching but I think it’s more of a maturity/experience thing. Look for that to change next year (and hopefully on Saturday).

  • AG2

    Apparently, thinks “its going to be hard for Michigan to make the tournament when they’ve been crushed in every road game.”

  • El Capitan

    It sure is going to be hard for us to make the tournament when we have two road wins and they both came in overtime against the two worst teams in the Big Ten. The only kinda positive thing we can say about our road performance is that we kept it close at UCONN and Wisco.

    For the past few weeks I have been saying 20 wins gets us in, but with our god awful road record, the tournament is a LONG SHOT, even with the 20 wins (barring a big run in the Big Ten tournament, of course).

  • JimC

    Sporting News….”Crushed” is hyperbole.

    So winning at MN would be our biggest road win by far, and it’s at the end of the season. Probably we’d be back in the “last 4 in” range if we win at MN.

  • El Capitan

    The only way we’d be part of the “last 4 in” is if we get some help from other bubble teams:

    -Miami needs to lose one of their final two games (since a loss to GT or NC State will hurt them big time)
    -UNLV needs to lose one of their last two (preferably losing to Air Force)
    -Arizona needs to lose their last two games (especially against Stanford which would be another ugly loss for them)
    -Cincinnati needs to lose one of their final two games (if South Florida beats them, I think they are out for good)

    Also, Florida plays Kentucky and Kansas State plays OK State this week, so the loser of those games will probably have their bubbles popped.

  • Ken in Vegas

    Let me know if you agree with this logic. No matter what happens the selection committee is going to include 7 big ten teams in the tournament. Minnesota is going to lose to Wisconsin and so we will face them on Saturday both with 8-9 B10 records. The winner makes the tourney and the loser falls to 8-10 and is left out on selection Sunday. I guess the only way this isn’t true is if the committee only takes 6 B10 teams, but is that likely? Even if they do take 6, Penn State could be in a tough spot if they don’t beat Illinois. Our resume stacks up very favorably against Penn St.

  • Adam

    I agree with Ken. I think that is the way it is going to go down barring some unforeseen occurrence

  • JimC

    I agree! We also need to win the first BTT game tho. At least this seems to be consensus.

    Personally, I don’t follow or care much about all the other teams. M has to take care of it’s own business.

  • Aaron

    Avery- You could be right that it might not be the play calling. But I looks like we haven’t practiced what to do down the stretch because our guys appear to not know what to do. We were down 56-52 with 29ish seconds left. Lee brought up the ball, passed to Peedi who held it for a few seconds and chucked a three with 18 seconds left when we needed a quick deuce to extend the game. But it deserves some criticism after we’ve seen confusion during the Iowa game as well.

  • Of all the years to only play Indiana once…shesh. Early on I didnt think it was a big deal because we missed State at the Breslin, but we lose all the road games anyway, so missing the road game against State was of no benefit.