Defensive Score Sheet: Michigan at Wisconsin

Dylan Burkhardt
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Michigan’s defensive performance at Wisconsin wasn’t earth shattering, but it was certainly an improvement after two poor efforts against Nebraska and Penn State. The Wolverines got stops when it counted, especially to open the second half, and were able to escape Madison with a victory thanks to their proficient offense. The biggest key in the game was the ability of Michigan’s guards – Caris LeVert, Nik Stauskas and Derrick Walton – to negate Wisconsin’s backcourt.

After the jump find some individual thoughts on the defensive effort.

  • I thought Caris LeVert played his best defensive game of the season against Wisconsin and the numbers really back that up. He led the team in forced turnovers and he contested shots fairly well.
  • All of Michigan’s guards did a good job defending Wisconsin’s guards in the lane. Gasser was 0-of-2 on twos, Jackson was 3-of-9 on twos, and Brust was 3-of-6 on twos. That’s a big step forward for Nik Stauskas – who blocked two shots and had a steal – and Derrick Walton. Stauskas had really struggled defensively against Penn State, but was able to use his size and physicality against Wisconsin. The Wolverines appear to be better suited to defend rugged physical guards than the quicker guards at Penn State or Nebraska.
  • Jordan Morgan was extremely active along the backline, providing help defense and trapping occasionally when the Badgers would pass the ball into the post. Morgan doesn’t grade out with the highest defensive rating, but he was the most involved Wolverine. His help defense didn’t always force misses, but he contested as many shots as anyone on the Michigan roster.
  • Jon Horford blocked a pair of shots but he also got caught out of position a couple times, including when he helped off Kaminsky (who hit an open three) during the final Wisconsin run.
  • Zak Irvin really struggled. He got caught out of position a number of times and Wisconsin scored 33 points in the 14 minutes that Irvin was on the floor (Michigan was outscored by 11 points in those 14 minutes.
  • Glenn Robinson III doesn’t grade out all that well, mostly because of a pair of early breakdowns against Sam Dekker, but more importantly he didn’t grab a single defensive rebound. Michigan handled the defensive glass fairly well, but needs more from its best athlete on the floor.

Find the full calculations regarding the defensive score sheet here. The primary stats that may be unfamiliar are:

  • FM – Forced field goal miss (includes blocks)
  • FTO – Forced Turnover (steals, charges taken)
  • FFTA – Forced missed Free Throw Attempt
  • DFGM – Allowed Defensive Field Goal Made
  • DFTM – Allowed Free Throw Made

Defensive Rating (DRtg) is calculated based on the stops and scoring possessions assigned to the player, it’s an estimated measure of points per 100 possessions.

  • Dr_ZC

    It would be interesting to see the national rankings this afternoon. Judging that we are on a 5-0 streak in big 10 conference games with 3 away wins, and 1 away win on the #3 team, I would not be surprised if we find ourselves ranked #15. I have to admit this is kind of high, but we are #4 on offensive efficiency at KenPoms, so with the defense coming around, I’d say that #18 is a lock.

    • Lynette Gascoigne

      No way we jump that high, I wish. I expect us to be in the 20s. Our schedule gets very rough now, so we need to sustain!

    • Michigan4

      I agree with you, Dr. ZC. I certainly believe we are a top 15 team but right now we will probably be somewhere between 17-19.

  • Dr_ZC

    I think a major improvement in Stauskas’ play is that his reaction after he scores and especially after dagger 3’s, is not as awkward any more. That is a reflection of his attitude and confidence. Show everybody that it is not a big deal. He has been there before.

    • kam

      If he makes a big shot against MSU or OSU it will get “awkward” he will show it off haha which he should.. I like his little edge of cockiness… Its what makes him such a killer offensively IMO.

  • Michigan4

    While these numbers might not show it, I thought Robinson played a great game on Dekker. Yes, his rebounding numbers need to improve but Dekker was a total non-factor in this game. As I mentioned in one of the pregame threads, Robinson just seems to match-up much better with “stretch” 4’s like Dekker than he does with the more traditional 4’s like Ryan Evans from a year ago.

    • I agree with you. I think that Robinson did a very good job of limiting him (he had 10 pts on 5-of-13 shooting).

      • And I will add… I’m not really sure what these numbers show just yet after tracking them for only two games… Interested to see what trends develop.

      • Michigan4

        I’m very impressed with the improvement he seems to have shown defensively this year compared to last. You obviously have looked at this a lot more than I have, but he seems to be growing into one of our better, if not best, wing defenders. I thought he guarded Newbill pretty well to close out the PSU game and then did a great job on Dekker.

    • Dr_ZC

      I agree 100%. The numbers reflect what happens after an action. GRIII was so good defensively, he limited his man taking actions that otherwise would have taken, had he not be defended so effectively.

      • mikey_mac

        Like I mentioned after the first defensive ratings post, without a comparison to the opponent’s average offensive ratings, the defensive ratings don’t tell us a whole lot.
        Dekker averages an ORtg of about 115, so GR3 actually held him considerably below that, which would indicate a very good defensive performance from Glenn.

        • The problem with that is that they don’t necessarily correlate. Dekker didn’t score all his points on GR3, GR3 didn’t defend all of Dekker’s shots, etc.

          • mikey_mac

            Right, that’s why it would require identifying the matchup in each possession to cull an aggregate opponent offensive rating to compare against. I was definitely just going off what I saw for much of the game.

  • Champswest

    Forget the rankings, just keep winning.