Game 23: Ohio State at Michigan Recap

Dylan Burkhardt

Michigan 76, Ohio State 74 (OT)-31
Dustin Johnston

MICH 76 1.19 28-60 47% 14-36 39% 14-24 58% 6-11 55% 13 19 18 11 7 4 9
OSU 74 1.16 30-58 52% 23-42 55% 7-16 44% 7-10 70% 9 21 15 11 7 7 14

Nobody wanted to admit it but Michigan needed this one. The No. 3 ranked Wolverines don’t look like a team that needs a win in early February but for a team with its sights on the Big Ten title, this game had to end up in the win column. Michigan has road trips to Wisconsin and Michigan State coming in the next week and Big Ten contenders simply can’t afford to lose games at home.

For a majority of Tuesday night’s rivalry showdown in Ann Arbor, Michigan didn’t look anything like a team concerned with winning a Big Ten title. The Wolverines were consistently late on defensive rotations and beaten to loose balls and rebounds. A deflating home loss almost looked imminent as Ohio State pulled ahead by eight points nearly halfway through the second half.

Tim Hardaway Jr. figured things out just soon enough. If the first 30 minutes of the game served as a painful reminder of just how young this team can look at times, the final 15 demonstrated what a luxury it is to lean on someone who’s been there before. Hardaway came to life, hitting five straight triples, and woke the Wolverines up in time to force overtime before wrestling away a victory in the extra period.

The game statistics totals don’t do this game justice. A quick glance at the four factors chart shows a clean but slow (57 possessions in regulation) game with great shooting by both teams, few turnovers or fouls and a slightly above average number of offensive rebounds. Both teams scored the ball well, but Michigan’s offensive output of 1.19 points per trip was especially impressive considering Ohio State hasn’t surrendered more than 1.11 points per possession (against Duke) this season. Looking at the game box score also illustrates one other point: Michigan was bailed out by the three point shot. The Wolverines shot just 39% on twos compared to 58% on threes and generated 55% of their scoring output from long range.

Breaking the game down period by period is required to  understand this game in earnest.  For whatever reason the nature of the game seemed to shift dramatically every time the horn sounded. Here’s a look at both team’s offensive outputs by period:

1st Half 2nd 1st
Poss. 29 28 7
Points 30 31 42 41 4 2
PPP 1.03 1.07 1.50 1.46 0.57 0.29

The first half played out somewhat as you’d expect. Michigan’s offense was somewhere below its season average due to facing the league’s best defense and Ohio State’s offense slightly outperforming its season averages against a somewhat questionable Michigan defense.

In the second half, both teams threw defense out the window and played what is almost assured to be the most efficient combined offensive half of the Big Ten season. At just 28 possessions, both teams scored over 1.45 points per trip and the offensive numbers were staggering. Michigan posted an effective field goal percentage of 73 percent thanks to connecting on 89 percent (8/9) of its threes. Ohio State didn’t lag far behind in the second half, making 63 percent of its twos and 50 percent of its threes. The defensive rebounding by both teams was no better than the field goal defense. Michigan rebounded 58 percent of its misses in the second half but only turned those seven offensive rebounds into five second chance points. Ohio State was slightly less productive on the offensive glass, rebounding 45 percent of its misses, but managed to convert five offensive boards into 10 second chance points.

The overtime period continued the trend of unexpected as both teams buckled down on the defensive end – or tightened up offensively. With just two made field goals split evenly between the two teams, the difference in overtime was that Burke’s contested jumper came from behind the three point line and Glenn Robinson III made one of two free throws.  Somehow Buckeye scorer extraordinaire Deshaun Thomas failed to attempt a field goal in overtime – rarely even touching the ball – while Aaron Craft accounted for four of the Buckeyes’ five overtime field goals and also turned the ball over. While Craft played a strong defensive game on the night, perhaps he was the one that let the “personal nature” of the Burke-Craft match-up affect him down the stretch.

Michigan is halfway through its treacherous mid-season stretch with trips to Wisconsin and East Lansing remaining on the docket. The baseline for this stretch was likely 2-2 and the Wolverines have held serve thus far. One road win in the next week would keep the Wolverines firmly in the title race but two could put Michigan back in the driver’s seat.

Michigan 76, Ohio State 74 (OT)-16

Player Bullets:

  • Tim Hardaway Jr.: Hardaway’s 17 point second half performance featured 5-of-5 three point shooting and might have been the most impressive explosive half of the lot for a player that forged his career on halves just like this as a freshman. Hardaway let the game come to him in the first half – and had a great pick and roll dish to McGary – but once he heated up in the second the Wolverines did a great job of getting him open looks. Michigan looked to be drifting away before Hardaway put the Wolverines on his back and carried them back into the game.
  • Trey Burke: Craft is a great defender and deserves all of the praise he’s given by commentators, analysts and random Ohio State fans on the street. It’s a joy to watch Burke and Craft go head to head and often times it feels like they not only know each other’s every move, they know every counter move as well. But Trey Burke got the best of this match-up. Burke scored 16 points on 6-of-12 (4-7 3pt) shooting and handed out eight assists while using just 22 percent of Michigan’s possessions – below his season average. Burke fed his freshmen early on, facilitated Hardaway’s offensive explosion and contributed his own offense down the stretch. Burke hit the game winning three (even if he missed one first) and blocked Craft’s potentially game winning effort. Here’s to hoping for a rubber match in Chicago.
  • Mitch McGary: McGary’s confidence is absolutely surging and he’s finally starting to relax and just play basketball. Most of the time that’s good and John Beilein will live with a couple of goofy shots because McGary makes so many plays. He had a couple of great pick and roll finishes in the first half, set great screens, and grabbed four steals (!). He even threw a nice pass to a cutting Nik Stauskas from the high post for an assist. McGary finished with 14 points on 7-of-13 shooting and six rebounds (3 off). His stamina still isn’t all the way there but his continued improvement bodes well for the future.
  • Nik Stauskas: Stauskas had a solid night, knocking down three triples but turning the ball over four times. His threes were all huge from the opening three which gave the Wolverines some early confidence to his late bucket which gave the Wolverines the lead. I’m okay living with a couple Stauskas turnovers when he’s trying to make plays in the half court offense but two of his four turnovers came late in the game and nearly proved costly: a forced turnover by Aaron Craft and a botched outlet pass that turned into a Deshaun Thomas three pointer.
  • Glenn Robinson III: Robinson’s confidence is lost somewhere in the middle of Indiana. Robinson managed 10 points and four assists, four rebounds and two steals but it was clear that he’s not himself. Part of it might be unfair due to Robinson’s nonchalant demeanor but he just seems a step slow on the defensive end of the floor. He’s thinking rather than reacting and struggling to get a body on people on the defensive glass. Games are only going to get more physical over the next two games and it will be interesting to see how Robinson reacts.
  • Jon Horford: Horford wasn’t bad but it was clear that he didn’t make as strong of an impact as McGary. Horford finished with two points (1-3 fg), two assists, three rebounds (1 off) and a block in 13 minutes.
  • Caris LeVert: LeVert really struggled in the first half. He seemed lost on defense both in half court and in the transition and also looked somewhat hesitant to shoot the ball from the perimeter. He missed his only field goal attempt in nine minutes.
  • Spike Albrecht: Albrecht was a massive spark in Columbus but struggled when he took the floor after Burke’s lip bas bloodied. He turned the ball over and missed his only field goal attempt in just two minutes.
  • Jordan Morgan: Morgan again played just a couple of minutes and didn’t look 100 percent.
  • gobluemd16

    Hopefully we win one of the next two on the road, then I think we have a decent shot of going undefeated the rest of the way. That would put us at 28-3 (15-3 in B1G) and a definite one seed. Wow.

  • Mith

    I’m getting 1.19PPP instead of 1.21. 76/64 right?

    • Sorry, I took the game PPP stats from StatSheet and calculated the half ones by hand. Stat Sheet rounded to 63 possession for the game rather than 64.

      • Mith

        No problem. I thought about it after and wondered if OSU had 64 possessions and we had 63. No big deal. I thought the 1.21 was initially a mistake(it seemed way too high) and so when I checked I got the 1.19.
        Thanks for all your hard work, Dylan and Joe!

  • Wayman Britt

    It was nice to get a win, but Beilein has alot of things to work on if UM wants a deep tournament run and many of them are on the defensive end.

    • mikey_mac

      This. UM played hard, but didn’t play very smart on the defensive side of the ball. Can’t help but feel like UM stole this game with that unlikely 3PT%.

      • I think the strategy to try to stop OSU’s inside slashing game and keep Thomas from being Thomas hurt them when OSU started knocking down 3’s. Craft/Thomas were 11/27 the rest of the team shot 19/31 61%. It’s the strategy you’re supposed to use against OSU, they just knocked down shots

        • mikey_mac

          I don’t feel like they did stop OSU’s slashing game, though … Ross got to the bucket on dribble-drives numerous times, for example. While the strategy definitely seemed to be to contain Thomas (and was modestly successful at that), it was at the detriment of sound team principles, making for lots of open shots.

  • Chazer

    Nice win….you can start to see the grind of the B1G and the impact on the Freshman. GRIII looks gassed and the other guys a step slower, perhaps the hype, travel and big games are taking a toll. I’m just thinking of where Trey was last year and I saw some of that in GRIII last night.

    The kids are young but still competing against stronger and mature players. I think they will be fine but more concerned about running into older mid major teams in March. Will they have the endurance and strength? It is very evident that there are no off nights in the B1G this year. Its going to be a battle to the end.

  • DB

    The Wisconsin game will be the first time Michigan has 3 days between games since the Purdue game. Hopefully, the extra day will help.

  • Tenzin Tsundu

    Every time I see trey go against Aaron craft he starts dribbling way to much and forcing it. Trey burk would be much more effective if he let the game come to him through the offense instead of forcing it and taking a deep three or forcing a drive to the lane. Trey needs to be able to use the weapons around him better so he doesn’t have to force the issue on offense. Glen Robinson III has been playing scared. Beeline or the big dog need to build his confidence up again. There was multiple times in this game that I saw him pass up shots that I saw him take earlier this season. He is lacking a lot of confidence in his game right now and without him playing good Michigan won’t be able to win it all. As a whole I though michigans defense looked soft. They need to still work on helping the helper. Somehow we managed to win this game but we can’t play like this again, especially on the road, if we want a win.

  • Mattski

    Thomas had a relatively quiet night, right? I’m thinking that a review will show that GRIII did pretty well guarding him. And coming through with ten points as he works his way out of a hard game at B’ton ain’t all bad. He will be okay.

    My hat is off to OSU, though. Great team. Craft is wild good, and so is Thomas. They should be right up among the top five teams. I’m rooting for an all-B1G Final Four.

  • AC1997

    A couple of thoughts on the team right now:
    — First of all, we have to caution ourselves not to over-react to things that happen in this stretch of four games, especially the last two. These are top-10 teams that are better than anyone Michigan will see until probably the second week of the NCAA tourament.
    — l love McGary and you can see the offensive talent he has and wih some coaching he’s going to be a monster. BUT…..I think he sucks t post defense. Okay, “sucks” is too strong, but I feel like teams just attack the rim against him and he’s either out of position or hopeless to stop them. He also gives up a lot of offensive rebounds considering he’s such a solid rebounder himself. His wing players getting beat off the dribble hurts, but I suspect with a more in depth look we’d see his struggles on D.
    — Stauskas has come back to earth against athletic teams, especially when those teams are also able to frustrate Burke. This is why it would have been nice if Vogrich had met the coaches’ expectations. Having a senior with a similar skill set come in for a few minutes to calm things down would be nice – unfortunately Vogrich never put it together.
    — GR3 is fried. He plays as many minutes as anyone and is struggling. I love Max Bielfeldt, but I had always hoped Michigan would have signed Larry Nance Jr. as an athletic PF who would probably be playing 15 mpg behind GR3 and adding to the NBA legacy story at Michigan.
    — Burke ended up having a good game and “got his” against Craft, but he was stuck on 8 points late in the game and did a little too much hero ball for my taste. When a big man gets swtiched on to Burke he immediately tried to take him 1-on-1, often resulting in a crappy shot. And those NBA-style end of the clock plays are maddening for their ineffectiveness. BWS has an interesting post about Burke settling for too many long-jumpers lately, which is somewhat expected against great defenders, but can still be frustrating.

    • Guest

      McGary is a freshman and defense will be learned. When learned and he matures some more, I think he is going to be very fun to watch. I loved watching him get aggressive on pick and rolls last night and really beat the crap out of some of the OSU guards. When Morgan get’s back it is going to be a big lift on D, as well as on giving McGary some rest. Until then I think McGary brings too much to the table to play Horford over him.

  • ChathaM

    It looks as though I’m seriously in the minority here, because I thought Robinson did a very good job on Thomas. It’s important to remember how tough a check Thomas is. Robinson was clearly told to not help off of Thomas, and he did that all night, except for one first half possession that resulted in a Thomas 3. That’s pretty good awareness and commitment by any player, let alone a freshman. He did an excellent job of denying Thomas the ball on the perimeter on a number of second half possessions. That other OSU players hit shots when UM’s game plan was clearly to not allow Thomas to beat them is partially an indictment of UM’s team defence, which was weaker than usual. But, it’s also proof that this OSU team does have a very high ceiling. I was disappointed with Robinson’s defensive rebounding on a few possessions, but if you compare his body to that of the player he was trying to keep off the boards, it was really no contest. Thomas is much wider and stronger than Robinson, and it showed.

    OSU must be wondering what it has to do to close out really good teams. They probably feel like they should have won this game, as well as earlier games at MSU and Duke, and at home against Kansas. I felt they should have worked the post more down the stretch, and especially in overtime last night. I don’t know that UM could have denied Thomas in the post (they couldn’t do it anytime he did post, and the officials were allowing him to shove the defender with an arm to get open, so why not keep going to that well?). A big reason that OSU hung on to win in Columbus was that they had 2 excellent post possessions down the stretch (Thomas and Ravenel). I’m sure that Matta has questioned himself on that already.

    As weak as the defensive rotations were throughout the night, Hardaway was an exception. I remember one possession where Thomas did have some open space, and by the time they got him the ball, Hardaway was right in his face, after seemingly coming out of nowhere. Hardaway’s floor game was incredible. That stat line with only 2 turnovers against that defence is outstanding.

    Here are the relevant parts of the flagrant foul 1 definition…

    A flagrant 1 personal foul shall be a personal foul that is deemed excessive in nature and/or unnecessary,but not based solely on the severity of the act. Examples include, but are not limited to:

    1. Causing excessive contact with an opponent while playing
    the ball;

    2. Contact that is not a legitimate attempt to play the ball
    or player, specifically designed to stop or keep the clock from

    6. Illegal contact with an elbow that occurs above the
    shoulders of an opponent when the elbows are not swung excessively per

    Parts 1 and 2 have to be judged on the spot, I believe. Given the game situation, I can understand the officials not going with a flagrant 1 on the spot, although I’ll bet the calling official thought about it, based on sections 1 and 2. They went to the monitor to judge section 6, as elbow contact above the shoulders is an automatic flagrant 1, no matter the intent. To me, it looked like Craft’s elbow did hit Robinson on the side of the head prior to his hand hitting Robinson in the face. That would be an automatic flagrant 1. I’ll admit that I wasn’t sure if there was elbow contact, and I’m guessing that the officials were viewing the same replays that we were viewing at home (and possibly in non-HD). If they weren’t sure that there was elbow contact, then they couldn’t go with a flagrant 1. To suggest that the no-call on Craft at the end of the game was a “make up” for the earlier call shows a complete lack of respect for the integrity and judgement of officials. Put another way, that isn’t how it works (and yes, I’m an official….ducking).

    • Mattski

      I saw it as a make up for Craft’s late-clock three as much or more than for the flagrant–I think I asserted this in the thread. Later I wondered whether that was true–I don’t think that officials’ minds necessarily work like that, or that they would dial through all the nights’ calls to try to balance things in such a way–that would be pretty tough to do, anyway. But announcers often do suggests that officials are resorting to make-up calls, so. . .

      Thomas only had seventeen points. Could have tee’d off on us much worse. I also thought that on many possessions our d was in fact NOT so bad, but that OSU was skilled, resourceful, and made plays despite it. Their offense, somewhat maligned, is coming into its own.

      • Thomas had 17 points but Michigan doubled him throughout…

      • Kenny

        I am not sure that the officials were even aware of the after clock three in the last seconds of the overtime, otherwise, they should call the flagrant to make up for it. They chose not to call the flagrant even as they could, similarly they chose not to call the foul on Hardaway even they could. The hardaway block is 95% clean and I see such not called all the time. The officials simply did not want to make controversy calls that could determine the outcome of the game.

      • ChathaM

        I just re-watched the second half and the OT. UM did play adequate defence on many possessions, and OSU simply made plays. But, there were also too many possessions where hedge and recover or switch situations were poorly done/communicated, and I agree with those who said that this needs to be cleaned up. What was interesting from OSU’s perspective is the contribution they got from Ross and Williams. If that wasn’t just a tease, and if those two can provide that type of spark consistently, OSU is a national contender. Until I see it again, though, I’d lean towards tease.

        If the officials really wanted to make up for the botched shot clock violation, the make-up call was on the second possession of OT, when Stauskas’ shot after the botched possession did not get off in time, but there was no whistle. That they missed the Craft violation is inexcusable. The play came after a timeout, during which the officials should have discussed the situation, and both the trail and the centre official should have been right on top of the call. I’ll never understand how they missed that.

        That announcers often suggest that make-up calls do exist is only proof that announcers do not understand officiating. We always see instances of announcers not understanding rules. If they don’t understand some basic rules, it’s not reasonable to believe that they understand how officials’ minds work.

  • Patrick

    Great write up Dillon as always. Just a correction, Trey was 4/7 from three

    • (Dylan) but thanks. These 9 p.m. tips are going to be the death of me.

      • I know the feeling!

      • Mattski

        Seconded. I now take a baby aspirin routinely before big games so that my middle-aged behind doesn’t end up lifeless on the floor over a basketball game.

  • Kenny

    This game was played as intense as any basketball game can be from the very beginning to the very end. Both team are very tired at the end. Sure Burke was tired, but Craft was just as tired and could not get the ball out sooner. Craft’s foul on GRIII at the end was also partly because he was too tired. While our freshmen might hit the wall, especially Stauskas in the 2nd half, Buckeyes made two turnovers in the overtime, all because they were running out of gas too.

  • EchoWhiskey

    Regarding Craft: he is certainly a great defender, there’s no denying that. He does as good a job as anyone at taking away the opposing team’s offense by smothering the point guard. But there were multiple instances last night where he put two hands on Burke to keep in front of him. That should be a foul every time; it seemed as his reputation preceded him a bit in the refs eyes.

  • MGoTweeter

    I agree with the comments regarding GRIII and fatigue. However, I do not think it is a freshman thing. I think it is a 4 man thing. We saw this with Novak even when he was a senior. It is very difficult to log that many minutes as an undersized 4. At some point I think Beilein just needs to bite the bullet and play one of the bigs, maybe Max, at the 4 for some extended time in games. It may mean living with some bad stretches of play and perhaps even cost you a game, but Michigan needs GRIII to be full go for the tournament and I don’t see it happening with his usage right now.

    • rlcBlue

      When Sparty plays Nix & Payne together we may have no choice but to respond with two bigs. Wisconsin’s bigs play on the perimeter so much that it’s probably more important to have GRIII’s mobility in there.

  • Dr_ZC

    JB has to mix it up more on defense. We went to zone, but against Ohio it did not help, since they were hitting and penetrating. It should be noted that we went with 2 bigs down low at the end, we had some stops, and that gave us the momentum we needed to close out the game with 1 big at the end.

    Against MSU we will have a hard time going against Nix, Payne and Dawson with 1 big. They will eat our lunch with their offensive rebounding. McGary used to get a lot of defensive rebounds when we played zone, but when we are one-on-one, he is contesting shots and not in a position to box out, or rebound. John and Max can box out and they are good rebounders. Morgan is an excellent position defender, does not block shots, but he is always ready for the defensive rebound. So, JB has to figure out a way to use 2 bigs when the chips are down and we need solid defensive rebounding and stops.

    • mikey_mac

      The 2-3 zone look yesterday was such a terrible decision with Thomas in the game for OSU … He immediately shredded it. That idea by Beilein convinced me he was grasping at straws.

  • mikey_mac

    So last season our fab frosh Burke plays 36 MPG, gets worn out by the grueling B1G season, and we collapse in the tourneys.

    We all scream we’ve learned our lesson. Burke is “down” to 34.4 MPG this season. But what about our new fab frosh, GRIII? 36.1 MPG in B1G games, including 37.5 MPG in the last 8!

    It’s not GRIII’s confidence that’s lost — it’s his legs!

    • Champswest

      And that is on Beilein.
      I think we could live with 2 or 3 minutes of Max each half and keep GRIII fresher.

      • Mattski

        Not disputing that Robinson is tired, but I think that Beilein is anxious to win some of the current slate of ballgames. There should be some time to rest everyone down the stretch. Will be interesting to see how we go against MSU, where there’s strong reason to play two bigs.

    • Dr_ZC

      Good points. In the last two games our interior defense has been atrocious. At the OSU game GR3 and Stauskas played 85 min out of the possible 90, while at the Indiana game, they played 75 min out of the maximum 80. I’d rather see some of their minutes go to a second big down low, to help with box-outs and defensive rebounds, rather than give offensive rebounds and dunk put-backs.

      • It’s not boxing out that’s the problem, both OSu and IU have good athletic backcourts that took their guys off the dribble causing McGary to help too much. We need better wing defense and they need to be more disciplined on their rotations

  • Kenny

    Going forward, once JMo gets 100%, I think that we will more two bigs. There are many reasons, one of them is that GRIII needs some rest badly, the other is that whoever starts, the other two are of less a drop-off than our other options on the bench.