What’s wrong with Michigan?

Dylan Burkhardt
on

Michigan State 75, Michigan 52-32
Dustin Johnston

Perspective is paramount over the course of a 30-something game college basketball season. Managing to maintain perspective without getting caught up in the highs and lows of the last game is idealistic at best. Getting wrapped up in the emotions of a come from behind victory or a devastating defeat is a natural reaction after all. The emotions that surround the unpredictability of college basketball are what draw us to game, and make March the best month of the year, but they need to be embraced cautiously before then.

The memories of the both the highs and lows stick forever, but their consequence is never quite what it seemed to be at the time. Think back over the last decade of Michigan basketball and things were rarely what they appeared to be at the time.

Daniel Horton’s 39 points against Illinois were supposed to send Tommy Amaker’s Michigan team to the NCAA tournament for the first time. Josh Gasser’s bank shot was supposed to pop Michigan’s tournament bubble in 2011. Purdue’s win at the Crisler Center was supposed to end Michigan’s Big Ten Championship hopes last winter. These events prove that jumping to conclusions in the middle of February is a risky proposition at best.

Michigan went from No. 1 in the country to losers of three of four. The schedule was tough but losing three games in 10 days should be a disappointment to any team that spent the first 15 weeks of the season in the top five. Michigan isn’t as bad as it looked in East Lansing on Tuesday, and might not be as good as it looked before February, but there are obviously legitimate concerns. To take a closer look I crunched some numbers to look at primary issues with Michigan’s offense and defense in its troubling four game stretch.

Michigan has scored just .99 points and allowed 1.11 points per trip over the last four games. Those numbers are jawdropping when compared to the 1.21 scored, .95 allowed, per possession marks that Michigan accumulated over its first eight conference games. Michigan went from outscoring its first eight opponents by .26 points per trip, to being outscored by .12 points per trip. The offensive regression is more dramatic but at times it feels like the defensive struggles are even more important.

 

Two point defense

Michigan’s two point defense has fallen off of a cliff. The Wolverines went from one of the league’s best interior defenses to the very worst.

B1G Opposition Shooting 2P% 3P%
First 8 Games 40.3% 30.8%
Last 4 Games 53.9% 39.7%

These numbers are worrisome because two point field goal percentage defense feels like a statistic that never lies. If the opposition is making a majority of its two point shots, that means that they are probably getting a lot of dunks and  layups. My nonscientific assessment is that there’s a strong correlation between missed defensive assignments and strong two point shooting.

This is a problem that Michigan needs to figure out. Part of it might be youth – Michigan is now playing five freshmen and a redshirt in its rotation – and another part might just be that Michigan lacks any dominant defenders.

On January 16th, I broke down Michigan’s individual defense using numbers from Synergy Sports. Obviously those numbers included a lot of non-conference play so some regression is expected but here’s how the numbers have changed:

Jan. 16 Feb. 14
Name % Time Poss Points PPP Rank %Time Poss. Points PPP Rank
Morgan 4.8% 59 35 0.593 89% 3.6% 66 41 0.621 88%
Stauskas 10.1% 123 74 0.602 88% 9.8% 178 133 0.747 69%
Robinson 9.4% 115 76 0.661 82% 10.3% 187 122 0.652 85%
Burke 11.2% 137 97 0.708 73% 11.8% 214 150 0.701 78%
Hardaway 9.3% 113 106 0.938 27% 9.7% 177 158 0.893 34%
McGary 4.7% 57 56 0.982 21% 4.4% 80 74 0.925 27%
LeVert - - - - - 3% 54 57 1.056 12%
Horford - - - - - 2% 36 22 0.611 90%

This table isn’t particularly enlightening but it heaps a lot of praise on Jordan Morgan. According to Synergy Sports, there’s no doubt who Michigan’s best and most consistent defender is. When we published the article the first time around the hypothesis was that could be some sort of statistical noise. After watching Morgan play 17 minutes in the last six games, it feels like maybe the numbers are accurate. Michigan’s three worst defensive performances of the season have come in the last four games and the Wolverines continue to look porous.

It’s also clear that Big Ten teams have been picking on Stauskas of late. Opponents have scored 59 points on their last 55 possessions against the freshman. That’s 1.07 points per possession used compared to the .602 mark on his first 123 possessions. LeVert is another Michigan freshman that has really struggled on the defensive end of the floor.

Defense is nearly impossible to quantify individually, so these numbers must be taken with a grain of salt. However, watching the adverse of Morgan’s absence makes these statistics feel like they make a lot more sense.

Offensive woes

Michigan’s offensive efficiency, adjusted for competition, has dropped from first nationally to third over the last two weeks. The Wolverines are no longer even the most efficient offense in their own league, now trailing the Indiana Hoosiers. And while Michigan has played the 4th, 11th, 17th and 18th ranked defenses over that time, it’s clear that the once crisp Wolverine offensive machine is sputtering.

Michigan’s shooting numbers have dropped and the Wolverines aren’t attacking the offensive glass or getting to the free throw line as often as they did early on. It’s no secret that the numbers have regressed but the larger question is how – and why – has Michigan’s offense ran into trouble. To take a closer look, we broke down the Synergy Sports numbers to look for trends about how the Wolverines are initiating offense and what has changed.

There wasn’t much to see in offensive rebound opportunities, spot up jump shots or post touches (Michigan still averages just 2.5 post opportunities per game). However, the movement in combined pick and roll (ball handler + roll man), transition and cutting possessions was blatant.

image22[1]

As the Big Ten season has worn on, Michigan has seen dramatically fewer transition opportunities combined with a stark increase of pick and roll possessions.

The open drop offs, cuts and dishes around the basket have all but vanished against the strong teams on Michigan’s schedule. The Wolverines average 3.25 cutting possessions per loss compared to 7.75 per Big Ten win. More than any other stat,

These numbers are particularly troubling because transition (1.21 PPP) and cutting (1.18 PPP) possessions are two of three most effective play types in Michigan’s offense. That should come as no surprise as shots cutting to the basket or in transition are generally layups, dunks or wide open three pointers. The Wolverines are still the best pick and roll team in the Big Ten but the pressure of efficiently running the pick and roll  has sky rocketed without the easier chances.

The lack of cutting and transition opportunities explains Robinson’s recent disappearance.

Glenn Robinson III Production by Play Type

Play Types % Time Poss Points PPP Rank
Spot Up 26.6% 63 53 0.841 44%
Cut 21.9% 52 78 1.50 94%
Transition 19.0% 45 54 1.20 74%
Offensive Rebounds (put backs) 13.9% 33 38 1.152 65%
Miscellaneous 6.8% 16 14 0.875 96%
Isolation 5.9% 14 11 0.786 59%

Robinson’s by far the most effective when cutting to the basket or finishing in transition. By wiping those plays out of the offense, opposing defenses have been able to neutralize Robinson, who is averaging just four points per game in Michigan losses. Not only have opponents been able to take away his most efficient production, his spot-up ability has also taken a hit as his confidence has fallen. In plays categorized as “spot up opportunities” by Synergy Sports, Robinson is just 1 for his last 8 chances.

Bottom Line

The real question is what can Michigan fix? With rest and recovery combined with some potentially confidence boosting games on the schedule over the next two weeks, John Beilein will be looking to alleviate some of these concerns before the Michigan State rematch on March 3rd.

Improvements on the defensive end of the floor should catalyze offensive improvement. More stops, more clean rebounds and more turnovers will all lead to more transition offense and flow. Now that we’ve seen how teams “break” Michigan, it’s clear that this team’s identity is transition offense spearheaded by sound and steady defense and rebounds. This year’s Five Key Plays are littered with plays like this:

That’s Michigan.

When Burke or Hardaway is pushing the ball with confidence in transition, Michigan is nearly impossible to stop. Stauasks with corner threes, Robinson with big dunks, Hardaway with trailing threes. Michigan needs to find a way to regain that swagger and confidence to finish the season on a high note.

  • Tom_McC

    I think we might be trying TOO hard find something wrong here. Certainly, UM has some issues…but so does everyone else. UM has played 12 BT games…7 of them on the road and 4 of them against Top 12 teams in the KenPom ratings and those 4 teams also happen to be Top 20 defensive units. Combine that with Morgan’s injury, the general youth of the team and a 45 foot buzzer shot…things could be worse. I mean, if Brust’s heave falls just short, UM is still in great position for a BT title, even if MSU blows out UM like it did on Tues.

    Sure, the MSU game was AWFUL…but it was also one game. UM has a stretch now where they can spend as much or more time ironing some of their own issues out and not have to spend all of their time preparing for the next opponent. 2 home games over the next 12 days or so will b a huge elixir for these guys.

    So to answer your question…”What is Wrong with Michigan?”, I’d say they are just going through what most really good teams would go through playing such a tough stretch of games.

    • http://www.umhoops.com/ Dylan Burkhardt

      I don’t disagree.. It’s just one stretch but there are some trends of things to fix. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with Michigan but this team needs to get back to doing some of the things that made it so successful early on.

      • Tom_McC

        Right but I think you still are overlooking how extremely difficult a stretch UM just endured. In 10 days, UM played the #2, #10, #12 and #11 teams…3 on the road and all of who are good defensive clubs. UM finished 1-3 but probably should have been 2-2.

        My point is, that stretch of games isn’t something UM will see again going forward. It would be foolish to think UM wouldn’t see a regression in their numbers or even see some of the frosh struggle. And with that said, in the BTT and/or the NCAA’s…UM will not play in those types of hostile environments. They won’t have to face teams that have that extra adrenaline from playing in front of raucous crowds and the won’t have to battle the natural advantage home teams get from the officiating.

        There is a snowball effect that happens…not just in singular games but in this case, UM is playing a string of brutally tough games, I don’t think a dip in a teams quality of play is to be unexpected.

        Honestly, going into this 4 game stretch, I was amazed at how confident folks were that UM would go 2-2 or 3-1. I fully expected 1-3 and despite the horrendous performance vs MSU, I think this team is in great shape. They will watch a ton of film, practice on themselves more than they have since November and that will be great for this team.

        • http://www.umhoops.com/ Dylan Burkhardt

          Again, I agree with what you are saying. I don’t think it’s fair to ignore problems that have arisen though, because after all the first 20 games of this season were essentially problem free. We’re starting to see at least some of this team’s weaknesses, even if they are exposed in the toughest stretch of schedule.

          • Tom_McC

            I’m not trying to argue here…and I certainly don’t think I’m ‘ignoring’ anything. In fact, I think part of the problem is folks have been so enamored by the advanced/efficiency numbers UM put up in their first 20 games, they were ‘ignoring’ the obvious issues.

            The obvious issues are, this team is young, is still learning to play D at a high level and had their best player interior defensive injured..who happens to be one of the teams few veterans.

            To suggest that, all of sudden this teams has problems is just nuts to me. In my original post, folks may think I’m whistling past the graveyard when I wrote UM would be fine after the MSU debacle ..but I think too many UM fans have been whistling past the graveyard when they were 19-1.

            Not to sharpshoot you here Dylan…but the weaknesses we are starting to see…have always been weaknesses, IMO. It is also one of the flaws on relying too much on data and not enough on what you see. Michigan is a very, very good basketball team…but like almost every team I have seen this year…they have issues and those issues just didn’t come to the forefront the past couple of weeks. Those issues simply are more easily exploitable when this team is faced with super difficult road environments against quality teams.

          • Tom_McC

            And let me add…I don’t think it will be as easy to exploit those weaknesses in a neutral court environments like we see in the NCAA’s and perhaps even the BTT. Certainly, teams are capable of giving UM issues on a neutral floor(or even UM’s home floor) but I don’t think those issues will nearly as pronounced as we saw over the last 4 games(especially the road games).

            UM has a great opportunity over the next month to tweak some stuff on both ends of the floor to get flowing again. Obviously, playing 4 home games out of 6 should and like I mentioned above, they will actually have several practices where they can focus on Michigan instead of having to focus on a singular opponent.

          • Nick

            Pitch perfect. You are currently the voice of reason for Mich. bball (in my book at least)

          • mikey_mac

            So the team plays exceptionally well then hits a snag, and Dylan is making the mistake of pointing out how the advanced metrics indicate problems when we could simply talk about how young this team is and how difficult the schedule was?

            Dylan’s method tries to identify ways to improve, instead of just suggesting the players grow up and face an easier schedule.

            Is this just an overreaction to the title of this post? Because it’s been pretty clear that this team has room for improvement.

          • Tom_McC

            I appreciate Dylan’s analysis…and maybe I’m a little sensitive to the title “What’s wrong with Michigan?”. My point is, if you’ve been paying attention to UM all season, the weaknesses have been there all along. Additionally, in a tough road environments, it is easier to expose a teams weakness because typically players are more focused and energized AND refs typically will give home teams a more favorable whistle. The numbers posted by mistersuits prove my point.

            I also think I’ve been clear this team does need to improve…but they haven’t had many opportunities to spend time focusing on themselves due to the compressed schedule. UM will now have time to work on being a better UM instead of spending a the available practice preparing for the next opponent. 7 games in 20 days against a brutally tough schedule can be taxing on even the most veteran teams, let alone teams that play 3 frosh extended minutes and 3 other frosh moderate minutes.

          • Retiredat23

            We played pretty much a cupcake schedule before we started the Big 10 season, so we didn’t know what our weaknesses were against tough competition. Now we know we don’t have a post-game.

          • Jeff

            This is incorrect. We beat #10 KState and #16 Pitt at a neutral site. We also beat NCState who has been a little disappointing and dropped from the rankings (possibly temporarily) but were expected to be very good and are still decent. That’s more solid opponents than many teams schedule in the nonconference. It was far from a cupcake schedule.

        • Mattski

          Appreciate this general line of thinking very much, but I also think that teams have learned how to play Michigan over this stretch and that a certain loss of confidence–already evident with GRIII before the grueling stretch began–may continue to prevail. The defensive difficulties are real. And if the offense is reduced to dependence on the pick n’ roll. . .

        • mikey_mac

          Based on how the team played, they probably should’ve been 1-3. They got lucky against OSU, and got unlucky versus UW. The kicker that makes the stretch look worrisome is the complete dud versus MSU.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=528316211 Will Keathley

            Not sure they got lucky against OSU, they played a decent game and stayed in the game and home cooking won in the end. Pretty much the gameplan when you’re playing tops teams at home

          • mikey_mac

            I would love to see historical winning percentages for teams in games that go to OT, or have a 1- or 2-pt margin in regulation. Seems very much like a coin flip. Any time you get a win in a game where with one minute left, your win expectancy is around 50% or less, you will have good fortune to come out with the win.

    • Retiredat23

      Incorrect. We have NO post game and we got exposed :)
      Derrick Nix posted up against whoever guarded him and made some tough shots, which he normally doesn’t do….but when St. defended the pick and role and the basket cut the way they did, Michigan doesn’t have an offense outside of transition. If we don’t use our post men and allow them to play a post-up game every few possessions when our pick n roll is being defended like it was, we won’t win.

  • toblav

    Nicely put together piece. Thanks.

  • Mattski

    My mom used to say that it’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness, and that’s what this piece does–shed light on the specific problems now bedeviling the team rather than continue the vague complaining (or the complaining about the complaining!) Kudos, Dylan.

    But–all these valuable observations having been made (missing Jordan Morgan being among the biggest)–success during the rest of the season is also going to rest on the team’s psyche. With such a young team it could go either way. GRIII may be the biggest question; he’s in a tough spot not just with his confidence, but in his defensive assignments and the team’s need to keep him in games.

    • geoffclarke

      I think GRIII is doing fine defensively. I would like him to recognize advantages when he has them on offense and make hard cuts off the ball.

      • Mattski

        I also think he has done pretty well, but he’s often overmatched sizewise, taking tough assignments, which is wearing and may further lessen his confidence.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=528316211 Will Keathley

      Not sure it’s completely confidence or the “freshman wall”, he scored double digits early in the season without having plays ran for him. I just don’t think there’s enough plays for him on this team right now and when we play teams like Wisc/OSU/etc that there aren’t many fast break ops, he’s just not going to get into the offense enough. There really isn’t a place for him in the current offense.

  • JeremyS

    I think there is just one basic thing wrong with Michigan over the last 4 games: the lack of open shots. As Dylan’s article proves, there have been very little wide open spot ups, transition points and very little cuts. These defenses that Michigan has faced have been absolutely outstanding and Michigan cannot get open.

    Novak said it best earlier in the year when he said that offensive players need space. There has been no space and Michigan has stuggled to create it. It was no wonder Stauskas and Robinson played so great earlier in the year, because they had TONS of space. Now, they are getting none.

    It has become clear to me that the old cliche holds true here: Defense wins championships. And Michigan isn’t built that way this year. Last year’s team was all about defense with Novak and Douglass, but not this year’s team. Let’s just hope they can face some teams in the NCAA’s that don’t play such great defense. They can make one heck of a run that way because this team is the best in the country if they play teams that don’t play such great defense.

    So how does Michigan create space for its offense against top-notch defense? That is the main question and I don’t think have an answer. I hope Beilein does.

    • rlcBlue

      I love Zack & Stu as much as the next guy – unless the next guy is you, apparently:

      Year AdjO AdjD
      2013 122.0( 3rd) 90.5(41st)
      2012 113.0(22nd) 95.1(60th)

      Last year’s “all about defense” team was much worse at preventing the opposition from scoring than this year’s squad. This year’s team must improve defensively, and I have no doubt they will; this block of extra practice time is coming just when needed most.

      • JeremyS

        I am surprised to hear that this year’s team is better defensively because Douglass was an outstanding on-ball defender and Novak was also very good but undersized. They are each better than Stauskis and GR3 are right now. I would have to think that this year’s team is better defensively because of the tremendous improvement in rebounding. Last year’s team “hounded” the opposition. This year’s team doesn’t do that as well.

        But you are missing my whole premise. I don’t think the problem is with the defense, although it sure would be nice if they could improve. The problem with this team right now is their ability create space (and open looks) offensively when they are playing against elite defenses. If they have open looks, they make them. If they don’t have open looks, well, you see what happens.

        • rlcBlue

          This year’s team rebounds better, fouls less, allows a lower percentage of three point makes (in considerably more attempts), and gets more blocks.

          The freshmen are nowhere close to getting the most out of their talent, unlike Douglass and Novak. The main cure for that is experience.

          I agree wholeheartedly with the point about the offense; see my later post about how defenses are playing us.

          At the moment, disqus is telling me that you aren’t the same person I was originally responding to. Is this a case of multiple personalities, multiple devices, or buggy software?

          • JeremyS

            I’m the same person. I should probably register with disqus instead of typing my name and email every time. I’ll do that, it will probably fix it.

  • Eric Gibson

    Only thing wrong with Michigan is somehow their schedule has eluded Penn State for so long. Whatever metrics you wanna use, they will surely bounce back in the next two weeks.

  • Leonard Schwartz II

    I don’t mean this comment/question to sound as asinine as it might. Not one of those looking for a scapegoat or crying foul. This is just something I have been pondering.

    I have noticed that Michigan works very hard with it’s players on shooting and shot making. I remember hearing comments in games crediting back-to-back step-back jumpers by Douglass and Novak to Coach Jordan. That said, there doesn’t seem to be that same level of focus on ball handling.

    Out side of point guard play, Michigan players seem susceptible to turning the rock over when they put it on the floor. I thought Hardaway to be much improved, but it now appears if the drive isn’t a straight line, he still struggles. GRIII seems terrified to dribble the ball. Nik isn’t bad with the ball, he does need work though. Caris can handle the ball a bit, and his issues are probably more strength than handles. Is it the system, spread the floor and let it rain that has decreased driving opportunities and in turn confidence? Or is it, perhaps a coaching shortfall?

    • http://www.umhoops.com/ Dylan Burkhardt

      Only Wisconsin turns the ball over less than Michigan — in the country — so I think it is tough to criticize ball handling to that extent.

      Tim is an interesting case. I think he’s definitely improved.. He’s taken a lower proportion of threes each year and has been more aggressive. Has he been flawless? No but misses and turnovers come with the territory trying to drive the lane.

      With Nik, Glenn and Caris, they all have a long ways to go. Nik tries to do a bit too much, Glenn plays too straight up, Caris lacks strength.

      • Leonard Schwartz II

        I will cede my argument to your stat regarding turnovers, though it is possible those low turnover numbers are more a factor of the spread the floor and shot system than anything else.

        • http://www.umhoops.com/ Dylan Burkhardt

          That’s a factor.. yes. But I don’t think it is the only factor.

  • Matzio

    What bothers me most is I think we squandered a very good chance to win the B1G title this year. Two games behind Indiana is going to be very hard to come back from.

    • geoffclarke

      Very little room for error. It might be hard, but anything really worth having isn’t easy. IU has to lose at MSU and to us, and MSU has to lose at OSU and to us.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=528316211 Will Keathley

        we’ve got 6 games left that we SHOULD win, if we handle business and finish the big 10 with only 4 losses, i’m good with 1st/2nd or 3rd. 14-4 in this conference this seasons is outstanding.

    • gobluemd16

      If only that half court shot didn’t go in.. I feel like half of these major plights would go away if we had one that game. 2-2 was expected and is way better than 1-3.

  • AC1997

    Dylan – Given the stats at your disposal and your excellence at presenting them, I’m wondering if you can tackle another aspect of Michigan’s struggles….lack of free throw attempts.

    I always understood why our recent teams struggled to get to the line because we were predominantly an un-athletic jump shooting team. But now this team is full of NBA prospects and has the POTY front runner controlling the ball most of the time. Why is it so difficult to get a free throw attempt?

    I hate blaming the refs for anything, but it seems like Michigan is getting roughed up constantly lately and either the refs ignore it based on reputation or some mis-guided “this is B1G basketball” or something else is going on. Does it correlate to shot quality? Is there a statistical difference from ref-to-ref or non-conference-to-B1G?

    It seems that lately Michigan has to work so hard for every point that the margin for error is reduced against good teams to the point of the recent slide. Indiana is a similar offensive team to Michigan both in style, performance, and athleticism yet they seem to shoot a ton of free throws. Why is that? Is it post touches? Would we be better off feeding the post at the beginning of each half, hoping to draw a couple of fouls, and then getting closer to the bonus?

    • http://www.umhoops.com/ Dylan Burkhardt

      Michigan has attempted a lower percentage of threes this season but has gone to the line less often. Make of that what you will.

  • rlcBlue

    One thing we are seeing is that the opposition has arrived at a consensus on “How to stop Michigan’s offense,” and we ran into four consecutive teams with the ability to implement the strategy.

    Here’s how I understand it:
    1. Get back in transition
    Greatly aided by making shots and not committing turnovers.
    2. Stay tight on all the shooters
    Switch on screens, get up in their chests and challenge them to beat you off the dribble.
    3. Hedge hard on the pick and roll
    Lock the rails if you can get away with it; let Burke shoot from deep but keep him out of the lane without helping off the shooters.

    So the Blue braintrust hasn’t yet found a silver bullet to completely neutralize this strategy. Simply running the ball screen action more effectively was enough to barely outscore tOSU and Wisconsin (absent the divine rain of cheese curds). At IU several of the shooters were able to get past their man but failed to score due to blocks or the threat thereof. At MSU nothing worked.

    I’m not going to guess what the staff is going to add in the next two weeks of practice time, but there will surely be a couple of new wrinkles; those, combined with better execution of the core offense and help defense will probably be enough to force the defenses to adjust.

    • JeremyS

      You have summed it up perfectly. Your 3 points are right on the money and I completely concur. Nice job.

  • mistersuits

    One angle that is a bit underestimated is how difficult it is to beat an elite team on their home floor vs on a neutral site. The KenPom top 13 teams (among which all four of UM’s last games came against) for the entire season are 167-10 (0.943) at home. Those same teams are a much more modest 30-10 (0.750) on neutral sites. (Interestingly, Duke/Michigan/Gonzaga are responsible for a combined 13 of those 30 wins)

    That means that it is 400% more likely to beat these teams at a neutral site (let alone at home) than it is to beat them in their own barn.

    Given a favorable tournament draw it’s possible for Michigan to not face a top-40 defensive outfit until the Elite 8.

    Looking back of the last four game stretch these numbers stand out:

    Number of miles traveled over 9 day stretch: 1500.
    Number of miles traveled over next 15 day stretch: 0.

    Days per game over previous 9 day stretch:2.25.
    Days per game over next 15 day stretch:7.5

    The only, ONLY, risk here is the notion that Michigan does not respond well to adversity and that the team will not rally but instead give up for the rest of the year. If you believe that is likely to be the case then you’re a party pooper. Expect the team to double down on fundamentals, for freshman to grow up before your eyes, and for the team to get fully healthy and a full head of steam heading into March.

    The 1989 version of Illinois would probably beat the ’89 Wolverines 9 times out of 10, but we all know how that turned out.

  • jc

    Duke lost by 25 on the road recently. Nothing wrong with Duke. I mean, it’s till POSSBILE that we beat MSU back down March 3, right. The freshmen play better at home. Relax. That’s all i’m sayin.

  • Bill

    I thought it was obvious what’s wrong. The last 4 games were against some very good teams 3 on the road by physical teams that get away with a lot of grabbing and pushing. That gets to be tiring and against msu they looked tired. That was one of the toughest 4 game stretches your gonna get. I know you like to play with the stats but sometimes you just need to open your eyes and look at people’s faces.

    • Dr_ZC

      The losses that bothered me the most, were against Wisconsin and MSU. We lost a close one to OSU but we fought and came back in a position to win. In Indiana, we made a push, but no cigar. The loss to Wisc hurt because we were in a position to win, and we blew that one away. And the loss to MSU which was an undisputed spanking. MSU handed us our behinds, and we did not fight at all. Novak said it right. MSU will punch you in the mouth, and foul you. If you do not respond, they will keep punching you in the mouth until you give up. We should have punched back, wasted some fouls to give a message to MSU, that we are not afraid. I just do not buy that all our losses were against good teams. Other than Indiana, we were better on paper and in the rankings, but we did not play the way we are capable of playing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=528316211 Will Keathley

    just for the record, Bo Ryan has a .917 home winning percentage at Wisconsin and Tom Izzo sets at .911 for MSU. These are places people just don’t win, no matter where your team has been ranked all season.

    • Johnny C

      MSU won at Wisconsin this year…just sayin

  • CDeSana

    It comes down to interior defense and rebounding on one end of the court and having the ability to have diversified scoring on the other end of the court. We can not count on winning games via up tempo all the time; when it is there great but when it is not we have to have more moving pieces in the set offense.

    Trey Burke handling the ball waiting for pick and roll will not work with well coached teams. Others need to take turns at the point (THjr & Nik); and there is no need to have guys sitting at the 3 pt line for a whole possession anymore as we now have the elite athletes we have been craving for better than a decade.

    Move the ball and put some motion back in the offense.