Game 17: Michigan at Ohio State Recap

Dylan Burkhardt


MICH 53 .90 18-47 38% 12-27 44% 6-20 30% 11-15 73% 7 23 8 13 4 5 13
OSU 56 .95 22-50 44% 17-35 49% 5-15 33% 7-8 89% 6 24 11 12 5 4 14

Michigan finally looked like the youngest team in the Big Ten. The Wolverines were blitzed early in Columbus and looked shell shocked while falling behind quickly. Michigan’s offense looked nothing like the efficient, low turnover scoring machine that it has been all season. The Wolverines turned the ball over eight times in the games’ first 10 minutes and took 14 minutes to reach double digits in the scoring column.

Ohio State built its lead to as many 21 points in the first half but slowly and surely Michigan was able to correct its early mistakes. The Wolverines cut the turnovers and increased their defensive pressure to come all the way back and tie the game at 46-46. The Buckeyes had one more answer. Ohio State responded with a 6-0 run of their own and Michigan was never able to regain the lead as a Trey Burke three, which would have given Michigan a one point advantage, went in and out with 16 seconds to play.

Michigan’s offense was finally stopped. The Wolverines scored just 53 points in 59 offensive possessions and were held below the one point per possession threshold for the first time this season at .90 points per trip. Turnovers and errant three point shooting were Michigan’s undoing.

After turning the ball over eight times in the first quarter of the game, Michigan was able to limit itself to just five turnovers over the next 30 minutes but still coughed the ball up on 22 percent of its offensive possessions. Many of Michigan’s early turnovers were “turnovers for touchdowns” resulting in easy Buckeye points. Ohio State scored 16 points in the first half off of turnovers and 18 for the game.

The Wolverines made 44% of their twos and 30% of their threes for a 45% effective field goal percentage. Michigan was unable to make an impact on the offensive glass corralling just 23% of its missed shots for four second chance points. The Wolverines were able to somewhat overcome their poor shooting by getting to the free throw line, attempting 15 free throws to 47 field goal attempts. Perhaps the most troubling aspect of Michigan’s offensive performance was its inability to convert transition opportunities – something that has been one of its greatest strengths this season.

Michigan’s comeback effort was fueled by defensive improvement. After surrendering 1.21 points per possession in the first half, the Wolverines tightened the screws in the second half and held the Buckeyes to just 22 points on 31 second half possessions (.71 PPP). Obviously Michigan dug itself into far too deep of a hole (on both ends of the floor) but the second half defensive effort was impressive enough to bring Ohio State’s per-possession output to just .95 points per possession. The Wolverines dominated the defensive glass, rebounding 79% of Ohio State’s misses and held Ohio State to below average shooting numbers, 49% on twos and 33% on threes.

The Wolverines inexplicably fell in love with the three point shot after tying the game at 46 a piece with 5:59 to play and it cost them the game. Michigan attempted eight threes after tying the game and made just one (Burke’s relatively meaningless banked triple with one second to play). The Wolverines attempted just two twos in that span (a missed long jumper and a transition dunk) and shot two free throws. Burke, Robinson, Hardaway and Stauskas all bought raffle tickets down the stretch but none went home a winner. Whether it was hero ball or something else, the late inefficiency ruined Michigan’s valiant comeback effort.

Michigan responded to its dismal start with a valiant effort but will have to build off of this performance. Things won’t get any easier as the Wolverines head to Minnesota on Thursday to face another Big Ten contender on the road. It’s time for Michigan’s freshmen to grow up quickly and Thursday will provide a great, but challenging opportunity to rebound.


Player Bullets:

  • Trey Burke: Burke was quoted on Friday as saying that this game wasn’t “personal” to him but he didn’t play like it. He had a handful of forced shots and turned the ball over four times in what has to go down as his worst performance of the season. He opened the game with a quick pull up three that he made but was never able to find a groove against Craft or Scott for the remainder of the night. He finished with as many turnovers as made field goals and needed 13 shots to get 15 points.
  • Tim Hardaway Jr.: Hardaway struggled but persevered. He had a dreadful first half, going 1-of-6 from the field, but responded in the second half. He was instrumental in tying the game but you would also hope to see a little more consistency from one of your more experienced players. Hardaway deserves credit for continuing to attack the basket, even when he wasn’t getting results, and that eventually yielded production in the second half.
  • Spike Albrecht: Albrecht was the unlikely hero that sparked Michigan’s comeback effort and he played extremely well under pressure – seemingly out of nowhere. He was aggressive driving the ball and drawing fouls and hit a huge three in the first half.  Michigan outscored Ohio State by 11 points in the 11 minutes that Albrecht was on the floor.
  • Nik Stauskas: Stauskas was held scoreless and also struggled with foul trouble throughout. He played just 23 minutes and went 0-of-3 from the field with two turnovers. He struggled on both ends of the floor and looked very much like a freshman in his first major Big Ten road game. Craft doing such a good job on Burke limited both Stauskas and Robinson because Burke was never able to get in the lane and create for his able finishers.
  • Glenn Robinson III: Robinson looked shell shocked early – like most of his teammates – and had a couple lazy passes that you just can’t afford on the road. He also struggled to finish around the basket (1-4 2p), something that we’ve rarely said this year.
  • Jordan Morgan: Morgan had a rare isolation basket to open the second half and poured in a solid five points and six rebounds (1 offensive). He seemed to do a much better job in the second half of containing dribble penetration on the pick and roll by avoiding over committing and hedging too hard.
  • Mitch McGary: McGary had another productive day. He was effective around the bucket and converted all three of his field goals. He also had a pair of blocks, two offensive rebounds and an assist all in 18 minutes. Michigan’s bigs combined to score 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting and grab nine rebounds.
  • Caris LeVert: LeVert missed a free throw jumper off a great shot fake and also missed a pair of free throws in a very quiet nine minute performance.
  • Jon Horford: Horford is active again but only played two minutes grabbing a defensive rebound and a foul.
  • Mattski

    I think Burke must have the green light for those long threes in late-clock situations. Given his difficulties in getting to the rim all day, I’m not sure it wasn’t the best move, all things considered.

    It’s funny, game-chemistry-wise, that Burke came out and drilled that three at the outset, looking like he had just come to slay the OSU dragon, then proceeded to get so rattled from there.

  • JRose

    Hardaway’s turnover on the 4-2 break was a huge missed opportunity! Your most experienced player has to make better decisions!

    • rlcBlue

      I had already marked up Craft’s third foul when Timmy turned around and threw the ball to Ravenel. Ugh.

    • Merlin50

      We need more leadership from Hardaway simple as that -he has to stay calm but he was as frazzled as the freshmen. We just were not patient in the first half and compounded our problems. I think OSU is a bad matchup for us-hopefully we will do better at Minnesota to maintain our composure-I think we will.

      • Jeff

        Agree with this totally. When the team was shell-shocked at the beginning of the game, they needed Burke and Hardaway to pick them up. Neither of them could do, and if fact, contributed to the horrible start. That was the most disappointing takeaway from this game for me. Hopefully, they’ll learn from it.

  • Wayman Britt

    No doubt it was Burke’s worst game. I totally agree that Burke said he wasn’t going to take this game personally, but he did. He was out to show everybody in Ohio and it hurt the whole team. As a PG he needed to help his struggling and nervous teammates.

    UM better get use to the in your jock defense and clutch and grab, this is the BIg Ten on the road.

    Still early in the season, but I think we have to play Mitch more minutes.

  • Michigan’s offense was immensely dissapointing, every one of the big 4. But even with how poor they played it came down to one possession and was very winnable in the last five minutes. This is a game Michigan definitely should’ve gotten and it may haunt them down the stretch run for the big ten

    • gobluemd16

      Totally agree here, this game was SO winnable even after all of our missteps in the first 35 minutes of the game. Absolutely heartbreaking for me at the arena in Columbus. The offense was horrendous the last few minutes, and I really thought we had it after it was tied up at 46; it was ours for the taking. Looking at the schedules of other Big Ten contenders, Indiana looks like they could easily be 8-0 heading into our matchup with them in Bloomington on Feb. 2nd, while we have a few really tough games on the schedule. This game could come back to haunt us at the end of the day in terms of the Big Ten title.

  • Kenny

    your comments on Spike is dead on. Wish we could’ve won this game but this team showed resilience when down by 21 on the road. They will bounce back in Minneapolis.

    • mikey_mac

      Spike should win the game’s Pick To Click, even though his counting numbers won’t add up. He was so much calmer and consistent than Burke — taking what was available and adjusting his game. Of course, It helps that frequently Craft wasn’t the one defending him.

  • A2JD

    I was hoping that Beilein was going to go with Mitch and Jordan together down the stretch and leave Nik on the bench. It just wasn’t his day on either end of the court and both our bigs were playing well in the 2nd half.

    • gobluemd16

      Also wondered why Spike got only a couple minutes in the second half after almost single-handedly bringing us back into it in the first.

    • Nik’s struggles didn’t come from shooting and missing, they came from OSU doing their homework and staying home, that strategy leaves the rest of the floor a little more open and helps the rest of the guys on offense. I wish he’d play McGary more, but I don’t think he’d be as productive with Morgan on the floor with him. End of the day, we weren’t going to go undefeated through the big ten, and being #1 would have been nice, but it’s just a loss and we’ll have 5-6 of them before the tournament and they’ll make us a stronger team in march

  • james

    i think mcgary should be starting now.

    • Brad S

      He definitely looked better than Morgan. Wonder if he can keep up that energy playing starter’s minutes

    • DingoBlue

      It’s been said before that Beilein likes having a spark off the bench. That was Nik at the start of the year, it may be more McGary’s role now. Who knows. I concur he has been playing at another level lately.

    • Jeff

      McGary made a lot of mistakes covering the pick and roll that led to easy baskets for OSU. He did better than most of the team overall, but I definitely don’t think he’s passed Morgan yet. Morgan is better at the pick and roll on both offense and defense at this point.

      • I think that’s true, especially early. I think it’s pretty clear that Beilein trusts Morgan more in terms of his understanding of defensive concepts. McGary might have more potential as a one-on-one post defender but there’s so much more that goes into it.

  • ZRL

    This game reminded me of last year’s game at Indiana. First big ten road game against a quality opponent, we fall down by a lot, come all the way back, but poor shot selection in the last couple minutes costs us the game. I expect us to learn from this and play more poised down the stretch on Thursday.

  • umnyc

    Great write up as always. i think we should have gone to zone a bit earlier to neutralize the OSU run. I love GRIII, but would like to see him exhibit a little more of a killer instinct especially when faced with defending the best forward in the conference. This team misses Stu’s defense. But we’ll be fine. Never expected to win them all.

  • Steve Lawrence

    Burke and Hardaway chucked up 28 shots and mustered 9 baskets. Meanwhile, the best shooter in the conference could barely get a touch. I felt bad for Stauskas when he forced up his late longball; all game, he looked like the odd man out in a game of playground ball that knew he wasn’t touching the ball again anyway. Some of this has to fall on Beilein for not drawing something up. Instead, we saw Burke dribble into double teams, dribble out of double teams, dribble back into them, dribble back out, then swing to the top of the key. Disgracefully-selfish isolation, over and over again, against a team equipped to handle it.

    • Mattski


    • Jalen Rose

      The best shooter in the conference took some ill-advised shots and was out of control on some drives. Burke and Hardaway made some very poor decisions, true, but let’s not act like Stauskas is free of blame. Defensively he was putrid and offensively he contributed to the turnover woes in the first half.

      • he took 1 ill-advised shot and didn’t miss by much, he hits that and he becomes a hero. I for one was happy that he still had the confidence to take that shot in a big spot. He was missed wide open a couple of times and never got a chance to get any rhythm with OSU’s pressure D. They came out the first 15 minutes and played like every basket could win the game and it turned out they were right.

  • TCE

    Is it just me or is Hardaway extremely soft on defense and on the glass. He just doesn’t play with fire. Drives me crazy

    • Billiam

      I don’t see it. When the MGoVideo team puts the video up, I’ll look into it tho. His rebounding numbers are up this year, and he’s better on defense than last year.

      /Not trying to be a dick, but I DO disagree.

    • gobluemd16

      I kind of agree with respect to his defense. He is often slow on some of his rotations and is poor/lazy at closing out on shooters. This has occurred in other games as well, but it may have been more magnified today because he played 40 minutes, I believe. I do not think his rebounding is faltering, however, and he has actually improved a lot on the glass this year.

    • mikey_mac

      I disagree. He’s not a defensive stopper, but the effort has been very good, especially on the boards, IMO.

  • UMQuasi

    Similar to what many others are saying, I was very disappointed in Burke today. I’m always forgiving of an off game, but this was not an off game for Burke. When Nik Stauskas plays within the offense, gets open shots and goes 2-7 from 3, that’s an off game. What we saw from Burke today was a selfish game, and that is completely unacceptable. The ironic thing is that he probably hurt his draft stock a bit by trying to be the individual hero.

    I was so upset during and after the game that I thought Beilein should consider benching Burke for a game. I’ve come off that a bit, but I still wouldn’t mind seeing Burke not start the next game. There is a huge difference between taking ill-advised shots (which happen every game) and actively going against the plan. Beilein obviously knows better than I do whether Burke was defying the game plan, but that’s what it looked like to me at times. For example, even though it almost went in, I very much doubt that JB called for a step-back fade-away three at the end of the game. During many possessions, it just looked like Burke was refusing to run the offense. Our most efficient possessions of the game were when Spike was running the point.

    If this were Burke’s first game back at home, I would forgive it, but he apparently didn’t learn anything from his performances last year against OSU. That’s why I’m in a favor of sitting him at the start of the next game, just to send the message that it’s not about him.

    • dafug

      Love Trey Burke. Absolutely love the kid. And while your reaction is over the top IMO, there did appear to be some underlying truth. Whether Trey did it consciously or subconsciously, he looked like a totally different guy out there today. I thought he came out a little like this early against Pitt at MSG this year looking like he was ‘trying to get his’ under the spotlight. But these guys are young. And Trey is such a good player. Gotta take these games in stride and assume they’ll learn from it. It’s been a hell of a ride so far enjoying this team. Can’t wait for the next game.

  • ChathaM

    Mark me down as another disappointed Burke observer today, but only in the first half. That said, his first half was terrible. Selfish offensive flashes aside (which we see some of in every game, by the way…it just stands out more when you lose), he had 3 different Buckeyes beat him off the dribble. That shouldn’t happen. I won’t pretend to know why that happened, but it did, and I can’t even imagine why it did. Don’t get me wrong. Burke is a great player. In the second half, he looked much more like himself at both ends of the floor. In Minny, I expect to see the Burke that we’re used to seeing. He seems mentally tough enough to avoid this type of game again.

    After the game was tied, I thought OSU did a great job of running their next few possessions through the post, and the ensuing baskets by Ravenel and Thomas were huge, as they coincided with UM’s run of 3 attempts, only a couple of which were good looks. It would be nice to have a post threat that the offence could choose to run through in those types of late game, must score, situations. But, right now at least, we just don’t have that.

    Stauskas will take some heat for having a poor game, but that’s not all on him. In the first 8 minutes of the game, there were 3 possessions where he was wide open, all by himself, on the left wing, as help collapsed on Hardaway or Burke. Rather than recognizing the situation (which they should, as Stauskas is ALWAYS on that left wing), they forced shots. To a large extent, for the team to benefit from Stauskas’ best skill, his teammates need to get the ball to him in those exact situations. The early game selfishness didn’t allow that to happen, and that was very disappointing to watch. OSU’s defence was superb during the first 10 minutes of the game, consistently taking away UM’s primary option. But, had the guys recognized and allowed secondary options to develop, that eventual 21 point lead would likely only have been 10-14, and the outcome of the game would have been different. That, I think, is the primary lesson to be learned from this one.

    I love that Hardaway can be a one man fast break. It’s a great weapon to be able to rebound, and start a break without an outlet. But, for his entire career, he’s consistently made poor decisions on the break when the ball’s in his hands crossing halfcourt. I think he’d be best off giving it up early in the break, then getting it back to finish.

    In the last minute, I felt like I was watching the Arkansas game all over again. How is a step back 3 our go-to last second, need a basket set? That makes no sense to me at all.

    I can’t believe that LeVert jumps on his free throws.

    • Jalen Rose

      Even in the second half Burke made some bad plays. He tried to throw a very ill-advised alley oop from halfcourt over Sam Thompson, he was way too nonchalant on that lay up that was blocked in the second half and he committed a couple of dumb fouls. The stepback…it would have been awesome to see Trey stick it to O$U but I’m generally not a fan of hero ball. It’s so much easier to defend than ball movement.

      • ChathaM

        You’re right; his 2nd half was far from flawless.

    • mikey_mac

      Burke’s defense was abysmal. His offensive struggles and “selfish” play were one thing — OSU has the personnel to completely suffocate our PnR attack — but to be caught napping or lost repeatedly on defense was frustrating.

  • Mandingo

    That was close to the score I was expecting, but not the way it played out– I was impressed with UM’s ability to get back into the game after about the worst start imaginable. It’s rough to lose to OSU, but the type of loss was good (i.e., something a great coach like Beilein can build on with the the team). I really wish the next game weren’t at Minnesota, though. In terms of talent, I think that’s a tougher game than this one was, and kicking off the gauntlet run with 2 losses is not ideal. Should be a good game, regardless.

  • AADave

    I agree with most of the comments. I think Michigan basically beat themselves. Overall, they played a terrible game with terrible decision making, especially their shot selection down the stretch – I think their last 7(!!!) shots in their half court offense were 3 pointers. This stretch of hail mary basketball shots was only broken up by 2 free throws and a fast break layup. The last shot by Burke, while it almost went down, was ridiculous. You’re in the penalty, down by only 2, and you have numerous options available if you just drive to the basket!

    Their poor start basically put them in an almost insurmountable hole and was mainly their own doing – perhaps jitters or just a lack of focus. They had something like 8 turnovers in the first 10 minutes, mostly unforced.

    Even in the middle of the game a lack of focus led to an inability to cut further into the lead for the first 10 minutes of the second half. Only 3 less than open shots from their best shooter, Stauskas, is ridiculous – as somebody else pointed out, this was Michigan’s own doing. There were several airballs. The Hardaway backward pass on the fast break was just plain goofy.

    This was a game Michigan should have won. They were clearly the better team – they played miserably but still only lost by one possession on the road. It was bound to happen – it’s a long season and it’s hard to avoid a bad game on the road with young players. I see a few positives here. Michigan showed that it can play great D for most of the game. They showed great poise in coming back – Burke, Hardaway and Robinson all seemed to improve after a bad first half. Even in a loss, they showed they are a legitimate Final Four contender. They can learn from this game to avoid similar performances in the future.

    I expect a much different Michigan team against Minny and likely a big win. I also expect a decisive win against this Ohio team at home.

    • mikey_mac

      Burke was going to take the last shot no matter what, and when you can’t drive on Craft, you settle for a deep chuck instead. It was clean look, but you want more than a 40% opportunity. A designed play for THJ would’ve been my choice. He was the only one with the match-up, size, and results in the paint up until that point. With his improved passing and finishing, plus the chance for a foul, I much prefer his chances to get 2+ points on that possession.

  • TCE

    We got punched in the mouth from the tip and it took 15 minutes to figure out that we weren’t playing nearly as hard as they were. Hopefully it is a blessing that this happened when it did and the team will come out aggressive every night from now on. We looked so soft to start and they just wanted it more on defense. That said you have to love the fact that we came back in contrast to the disaster that was Illinois at Wisconsin. I hope our freshman understand what it is going to take to win on the road now. I am a little concerned with Stauskas and his ability to play against aggressive defenders. He seems to get flustered pretty quickly. Spike played with great poise, what a great late add to the class he has been. We would be a disaster if Akunne was playing those minutes.

  • DoubES

    I don’t think people are giving the OSU defense enough credit, particularly Craft. He, and the rest of their defense are the real reason (and not some cliche sports narrative like “taking the game too personally”) that Trey had a tough time. By preventing penetration, it takes away Trey’s effective finishing at the basket, kick-outs to Stauskas, and baseline cuts from GRIII. Those are huge parts of our offense, and OSU’s defense, especially in the first half, stymied those. What seemed like some jittery opening turnovers certainly did not help matters.

    Like has been said, this was our first major road test, so I’m not surprised our young team got a little rattled when going up against a tough defense. The only disappointing aspect to me is OSU is definitely a beatable team, and this win would have been a huge help to our Big Ten championship chances. But, we will bounce back for sure. I don’t think the Minnesota back court can check Burke, and that will open it up for us.

    • ChathaM

      I agree that the OSU defence was terrific, and that Craft did a very good job on Burke. But…whenever Burke did start to penetrate with the dribble, even if he didn’t cleanly beat Craft, help came, and Burke failed to recognize that in the first half.

      I don’t think that Minny can guard Burke, either. I could see them playing some zone, but I don’t think it would be effective.

    • Joel_C

      Don’t give Craft any credit, I hate that guy…..he admits to fouling on every possession.

  • A2JD

    A really good sign that McGary is getting more in game shape and is learning is that he had 3 blocks in the first 12 games and has 9 blocks in the last 5 games.

  • Goblue55

    Somtimes it hurts to be such a die hard fan. it hurts to see us lose against ohio state but knowing there are thousands of die hard michigan fans in the country still feeling the way i do a day after the gave gives me comfort go blue!!!

  • Jalen Rose

    I’m surprised people aren’t talking about the officiating more. True, Michigan did get more free throws but that’s to be expected when you’re playing as aggressively on defense as ohio state was. AWFUL calls that come to mind:
    1 blocking foul against Michigan in which the defender (I believe Stauskas) had his feet set
    2 charges against Michigan when the OSU defender was clearly moving his feet
    That fast break where Craft grabbed Trey that should have been an and 1.
    A couple of possessions later, Hardaway drove and was clearly fouled by shooting but the refs just called it off ohio state.
    I didn’t think Michigan really received the benefit of the doubt on any call last night.

    There’s no excuses for Michigan playing as poorly as they did. But the refs did O$U quite a few favors.

    • The push of that they called on McGary had the biggest impact on the flow of the game and the momentum in my opinion, but you have to expect to not get calls when you’re playing on the road in the big ten.

    • Devin McCauley

      Not giving Burke an And 1 was also a pretty questionable call. As was the goal tending on the Burke layup but that could only be seen in slow mo to be fair. Ultimately their youth cost them more than the refs, but I kinda wonder how the game would have gone if Stauskas didn’t get screwed I kinda felt like that hurt our mindset.

  • CDeSana

    This game was a case of Deja Vu that reminded me that Burke till has a little too much of Darius Morris in him. he simply dribbled the air out of the ball against a very skilled on the ball defender leading to low percentage shots outside of the offensive set.

    That said it is not all on Burke; the rest of the team has to make themselves more available which simply does not happen when they were often just watching Burke try and breakdown Craft on the dribble typically far outside the 3 pt line. I think it is safe to say high ball screens by the center in attempt to free up Burke have been well studied by every team in the Big 10; and we simply have to find better ways to run the offense.

    Maybe a few back screens and or picks along the baseline for both Stauskas and GRIII were in order because waiting for Burke to get into the lane and making Ohio pay for the double team clearly was not working. I was also waiting for either THjr or Stauskas to move to the point in an effort to change things up but that never happened either.

    In the end it all comes down to the Coach simply not putting his team in position for victory; hopefully that will change going forward and I think it will.