It becomes more clear with each passing game, this team’s confidence and psyche are shattered. They look worn down mentally and become increasingly frustrated with each mistake. When opponents make a run the look on the faces of Michigan players is clear: “here we go again”.
In many ways I think the team on the court has the same feeling as the fans off of it. How did this happen? It’s clear that this is a lost season and these kids aren’t dumb, they know it too.
Wisconsin put on a shooting clinic in the first half. The Badgers shot 15 of 22 (68.2%) from the field and 9 of 13 (69.2%) from three point range for an eFG% of 88.6%. Wisconsin got a handful of great looks but they also hit some incredibly difficult shots as well. In the first half Wisconsin scored 1.75 points per possession, not too shabby.
Wisconsin did cool off in the second half, finishing with an effective field goal percentage of 67.1%, but they controlled the offensive glass and rebounded 37.5% of their missed shots. Wisconsin played the game at their tempo, a remarkably slow 48 possession game. Wisconsin would milk almost the entire shot clock before draining a three or getting a wide open look under the basket.
Michigan’s offense wasn’t bad in the first half. They shot the ball well, 12 of 20 (2-2 3pt), and would have been right there if Wisconsin wasn’t making everything in sight. That offense dried up in the second half. Michigan shot only 5 of 19 (26.3%) and went 0 of 9 from three point range. DeShawn Sims scored only 3 points after scoring 15 in the first. In short, Michigan never came close to making a dent in Wisconsin’s 14 point half time lead.
From here on out, it’s about playing for pride. Motivating a bubble team is easy compared to motivating a team that’s trying to play their way into the NIT. There are a few winnable games left on the schedule but at this point it’s tough to predict what kind of performance you will get from this team on any given night.
Next up is a Thursday road trip to Minnesota, where just under a year ago we were celebrating a victory that pushed Michigan into the NCAA tournament.
Recruiting visitors: 2011 Country Day big man Amir Williams made the trip to Crisler. 2011 commitment Carlton Brundidge was also in attendance.
- DeShawn Sims: Sims is the most consistent scoring threat on this team. The problem is that he isn’t all that consistent. After a 4 point outing in Evanston, Peedi bounced back with 18. However, 15 of them came in the first half with only 3 (1-5) in the second.
- Manny Harris: It’s obvious that this season has worn on Manny. He doesn’t look comfortable and frankly he just can’t make a shot. Manny is now 23 of 68 (33.8%) over the last five games. I think this is both physical (hamstring) and mental (frustration) but it isn’t a good combination.
- Zack Novak: Zack Novak looks worn down. He took several shots versus Wisconsin, including one that split his lip. He has been battling down low all year and it looks like it’s got the best of him. Beyond his physical expression, he also missed 3 free throws and just doesn’t seem to be getting enough lift on his jump shot.
- Darius Morris: I still think that Darius is going to be alright: 8 points (3-4 shooting), 3 assists, 1 turnover. Darius hasn’t developed quite as fast as some people would have hoped but he is going to need to take a big step forward next year. He still has those freshman moments (getting burned on an inbounds play for example) but he has been having more positives than negatives of late.
- Stu Douglass: 37 minutes, 0 points (0-3), 1 rebound, 3 assists. It’s not Club Trillion, but 37 minutes is a lot of playing time to have that almost no effect on the box score.
- Laval Lucas-Perry: LLP appears to be in the dog house, he lost his starting spot and only played 7 minutes.