Five Key Plays: Wisconsin at Michigan


1. Stu Douglass’s three halts Wisconsin’s 10-0 run

Michigan methodically opened up a 10-2 lead over the first seven minutes of play but Wisconsin answered in a flash. In two minutes of clock time the Badgers scored ten straight points and forced John Beilein to burn a timeout. The Badgers had stolen back momentum and effectively silenced the Crisler Center crowd. The Wolverines responded with a great set play out of the timeout. The play was designed for Stu Douglass – who has now hit seven of his last ten threes – and he knocked down the big shot. First, Trey Burke took a ball screen from Blake McLimans and drove down the right side of the lane, attracting two defenders. As McLimans rolled to the basket, he set a down screen on Douglass’s defender. Douglass had more than enough space to pop out to the three point line, set his feet and bury the three point shot. Douglass’s shot reignited the crowd while providing a sense of confidence that Michigan could answer whatever runs Wisconsin threw its way.

2. Michigan’s 7-0 run to start the second half

With a 25-19 halftime advantage, Michigan had a decent lead but it seemed like both teams spent much of the first half just feeling each other out. Neither team really got into an offensive flow and ,at times, the game was pretty ugly. At the beginning of the second half, the Wolverines set the tone. Similar to the first half, where Michigan opened on a 10-2 run, the Wolverines opened the second half with a 7-0 run to stretch a six point lead to 13-points. It started with a gritty, hard-fought possession—the type of possession that seemed to explain this win in a nutshell. Following a Zack Novak missed three from the wing, Jordan Morgan kept the offensive rebound alive before it was finally corralled by Evan Smotrycz in the corner, giving Michigan new life for the possession. As soon as Smotrycz had control, he dished the ball to an open Hardaway, who nailed a three from the left wing. Hardaway got on the board again a couple possessions later, drawing a foul on the fast break and hitting two free throws. Moments later, Jordan Morgan took a page out of Wisconsin’s book with an offensive rebound and put-back off of a Trey Burke miss in transition. The bucket brought the crowd to its feet and Michigan never really looked back from there.

3. Trey Burke’s highlight-reel plays midway through the second half

In a span of just about thirty seconds, Trey Burke put together a little highlight reel of his own. First, off a ball screen from Morgan, Burke drove hard to the right side of the lane. When he reached the bucket, he was greeted by Wisconsin 6-foot-10 big man Jared Berggren. It didn’t matter. Burke, nearly a foot shorter than Berggren, hung in the air long enough to create enough space so he could get the shot off, then laid the ball in off the glass as he fell to the floor. Moments later, after a Stu Douglass steal, Burke had a one-on-one fast break situation. Guarded by Jordan Taylor, who many believe to be the best point guard in the Big Ten, Burke blew by him, drew the foul and hit the bucket. The made free throw following the play gave Michigan its biggest lead of the day to that point and gave the national audience watching a taste of just how good Trey Burke can be.

4. Zack Novak’s tough second half possessions

In his four-year career, Zack Novak had never beaten Wisconsin. On Sunday, he was going to do whatever he could to earn his first career win over the Badgers. He dove for loose balls, grabbed offensive rebounds, kept plays alive simply by tipping the ball back to a teammate — whatever it took. In the first play of this sequence, Novak snuck up on Berggren, who was attempting to post up on Morgan. Novak stripped Berggren from behind and tipped the ball out to Burke. The ensuing fast break was featured in Key Play #2, but what wasn’t mentioned in that play was that Novak was the one who kept the offensive rebound alive before the ball was tipped to Morgan, who finished with a nice left-handed lay up. In the next play featured in this clip, Novak scrapped for another offensive board, but this time he corralled it himself rather than tipping it out to a teammate. After fighting for the board and taking control of the ball, Novak drove right to the bucket and finished strong with the left hand to increase Michigan’s lead back to 14. Novak has been making plays like these throughout his whole career, and there are dozens more plays from this game that could be featured, but his intensity and hustle finally translated into a victory over Wisconsin.

5. Stu Douglass’s five steals

Everybody likes to talk about Stu Douglass’s hot and cold streaks from behind the arc, but there’s much less discussion about Douglass’s defensive abilities. Douglass has improved his defense every year of his career and Sunday might have been the best defensive game of his career. As Burke tired, Douglass spent significant time down the stretch guarding Jordan Taylor and he tied a career high with five steals, each of which is featured in this clip. Douglass battled for every steal and he’s begun to relish the physical nature of perimeter defense. His forced turnovers alone translated into seven Michigan points off turnovers which is no small feat in a 59-41 victory. Perhaps the best play of Michigan’s season is featured in the third play of this clip. As Wisconsin’s Mike Bruesewitz attempted to crossover to his right from the top of the key, Douglass stripped the ball loose. The effort didn’t stop there. Douglass dove for the loose ball around center court and pried it just loose enough so that Novak, who also had dove on the floor, could pick it up and flip it over his head to the streaking Burke. Burke handled things from there, finishing with the easy finger roll down the floor. The play symbolized the hard work Novak and Douglass have put into this program, and it was also the perfect example of the way Michigan played as a whole in order win this game.

  • sane1

    Love this Five Key Sequences feature, Dylan.

    • Thanks and credit to Kevin who does it. And yeah, sequences probably makes more sense but we have to stick with Five Key Plays for now due to branding purposes ;-)

      • Chris

        The fact that Clark Kellogg was even suggesting that they were reviewing a back court violation is absurd.  He went on for 10 mins about how it could be a back court violation.  Novak got the ball in Michigan’s back court and threw it to Trey in Michigan’s front court.  I don’t understand how a guy who played the game could be so stupid to even question a possible back court there.  Clark you can’t get a back court violation if you aren’t in the front court to begin with.  Obviously there is many requirements to broadcast college basketball on a National stage.  Clark Kellogg proved he can have a job and not know the simple rule which is a back court violation.

        • Chris


        • Maybe he just didn’t want to admit he had no idea what was going on? 

          • Chris

            Well he basically did admit it when he continued to babble on about a possible back court violation. 

          • rlcBlue

            Yep, they had to fill time so they picked a theory and ran with it. It was probably the director who came up with the backcourt idea and started running the replays, so Clark couldn’t exactly talk about the weather at that point.

            Well, he could have just talked about the weather and how his shoes fit and what a great women’s lacrosse team Vanderbilt will have this year, but then he’d be Dick Vitale.

        • ChathaM

          I think that any sportscaster should be required to read their sport’s rulebook prior to every season. It doesn’t take much time, they would learn a ton, and they’d be a far better sportscaster as a result.

        • sane1

          Also, that is not even reviewable.

        • Mattski

          Clark Kellogg, from my point of view, is about as good as they come. Didn’t see the game, and it sounds annoying, but that guy gives even-handed and insightful analysis on a par with Bilas, the only other announcer I really like. 

          • q-sac

            kellogg and bilas are solid – not as fired up over kellogg’s review as other posters. but my  top three have got to be raftery, gus, and knight.

          • Mattski

            I love Gus, but for some reason don’t find him all that insightful. Used to love Raftery but his act has grown stale. Love Knight’s analysis, on nights he cares to provide it, but just find him a bit reptilian, all and all; not a good human being. 

          • rlcBlue

            Gus does play-by-play; he’s not supposed to be insightful.

            Kellogg and Raftery are my favorite analysts, with my preferred balance of insight and entertainment, though Clark has gotten less entertaining as CBS has steered him towards the broader audience. Most ex-coaches are way too dry and inarticulate, while Vitale is an assault on the ears and brain.

            The three man team of McDonough, Raftery, and Bilas works much better than I thought it would. I kind of miss Lavin doing B1G games for Disney.

  • ChathaM

    I was going to comment on how Novak played hard for every second of that game. Then, I realized that he plays that way every game. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Zack Novak give up on a play. Players of every caliber should try to emulate Novak’s effort.

    If you’d told me before the game that Douglass would pick Taylor clean in a one-on-one situation above the arc, I’d never have believed you. 

    • Yep that clean steal was something else. Pocket picked. Trey did such a great job on Taylor all game but he was definitely wearing down. It was a nice luxury to have another body to throw at him, especially because both players seemed to love the challenge.

      • ChathaM

        Do you think that shifting Douglass onto Taylor for the final stretch was a pre-planned move, or do you think it was in response to Burke “wearing down” over the course of the game? I don’t recall that being addressed in the post-game interviews.

        • Not sure where the quote is but I believe Beilein said that he thought Burke was tired and he made the switch. He said Burke was upset about it because he wanted to guard Taylor. You have to wonder if Burke playing 37 minutes/night starts to wear him down though.

          • rlcBlue

            I for one was happy to see Brundidge on the floor in the first half. I’m guessing that Beilein was anticipating that Burke would be tired by the end of the game.

            Can Brundidge get more court time vs. Northwestern? Their offense requires 36 seconds of defense, like Wisconsin’s, but it might be easier to slip Carlton in for a few more possessions than against many B1G teams.

  • slowtrain

    Can i get an explanation on the review of the no-call over-and-back violation? First off, was there an over and back that the refs missed? secondly, can that call be reviewed after points are scored (or can a no call be reviewed at all)? and what calls can even be reviewed in NCAA hoops? I thought just shot clock, 3 point and end of time shots…

    • ChathaM

      A new rule this season allows a head coach to request a video review of whether a Flagrant 2 foul occurred. That’s what Bo requested when he found out that there was contact between Novak and Brusewicz. The rule also stipulates that the requesting team loses a timeout if no flagrant foul occurred, which is what happened yesterday. 

  • GCS

    Now that I get a second look at the steal that Ryan was asking for a review about, I think I can see what his beef originated with. It looks like Novak catches Bruesewitz’s head with his knee as he dives for the loose ball. That shouldn’t have resulted in free throws or anything like an elbow would, should it?

    • The review was actually for Novak giving a high five, to Douglass I believe, where he got a little too fired up and might have made some contact with Bruesiewitz. I haven’t seen video of it but that’s what Ryan said after.

  • MGoTweeter

    re: reviewed play.  A couple of things from my vantage point across from Wisconsin bench.  Right after Burke makes the layup, Novak goes to give Douglass (who is getting up) a high five.  At the same moment Bruesewitz is getting up and is between Novak and Douglass, and Novak’s hand makes contact with him somewhere near the head.  Couldn’t really tell exactly where, but you could see Novak’s arm come through pretty hard and then Bruesewitz flinch/react.  It did not look like it hurt Bruesewitz in anyway, but he did have a wtf look afterwards.  

    I cannot comment on what Kellog and the broadcast team were talking about, but since people were mentioning below that he thought they were reviewing a backcourt violation, I thought I would add this.  The refs looked at the review as soon as Bo Ryan said something to them.  A couple minutes later they came back and said nothing had happened.  The PA guy announced that no change had been made to the ruling on the court.  

    Bo Ryan went crazy and looked like he was gesturing to someone right next to the scorers table, not sure if this was a cbs guy or a wisconsin guy (a couple wisky fans behind me thought he was associated with wisconsin).  But he kept yelling at the officials and pointing to this guy.  The refs then went back to review the play again.  The guy Bo Ryan was pointing to then went around the court to the table with Kellog, and told him something then returned back to the scorer’s table area.  Refs came back from the second review and PA announced that the play had been reviewed from every possible angle and no change would be made to the ruling on the court.  

    Based on all of this, perhaps the refs first reviewed the play but were not sure where they were looking for the flagrant foul.  Then Ryan yells at them again and gets them to review once more.  Pretty ridiculous especially since it was pretty obvious even at the distance I was away from the play, that Novak was just trying to celebrate with Douglass and Bruesewitz got caught in the middle of it.  

  • JimC

    A lot of us in here worry about THJ going pro early, but this post reminds me just how much we’re going to miss Novak and Douglass next fall. 

    • Especially because the only other two guard on the roster is Carlton Brundidge really.

      • JimC

        I was just thinking about that and it’s a little scary.

      • ChocoJoe

        Can Vogrich play the two?

      • rlcBlue

        I expect Brundidge to be ready for starter’s minutes next year. I’m hoping that Stauskas will be able to cover the two in stretches.

        And if THJ is back, he may want to get more minutes at the two; that would be his position in the NBA, and showing more ball-handling skill in college would improve his draft stock…

        • gpsimms

          why doesn’t anyone say stauskus can back up the one as well?

      • maxwell’s demon

        Stauskas is going to be a PTPer

    • ForeverBlue

      Their leadership and understanding of JB’s system is going to be really missed.  I don’t know who is going to provide that next season except maybe Burke, but that’s a lot to ask of a sophomore.

  • Wayman Britt

    Trey’s defense on Taylor was fantastic.  Now he needs to duplicate that against Keith Appling.

    I also have noticed Beilein questioning and getting on the referees a little more.  I think this is good.  I don’t want him to me a whiner, but sometimes in the past Izzo, Ryan and Creaner seemed to always get the 50 – 50 calls.  I truly believe that their chirping helped in calls when Beilein was passive.  Now don’t get the wrong idea I don’t want Beilein to turn into a complete whiner and hot head like Izzo, but he needs to continue to show the referees that he means business.

  • DingoBlue

    Off Topic but I’m now making the connection courtesy of Cazzie that Mitch McGary likes number 33 (Cazzie’s number, now retired).  Thoughts on his backup number? 

    • Sven187

      I don’t know but Carlton needs to switch to the number 4 so I can call him CB4!

  • Matthew

    The five key plays feature is really awesome.  Even though I watched the whole game, I know there will be an insightful analysis on UMHoops of the five key plays.  

    Bravo Kevin & Dylan — you guys are doing a fantastic job with this website!