Defensive Score Sheet: Iowa at Michigan

Dylan Burkhardt


Michigan played its best defensive game in four tries on Wednesday, earning a victory over Iowa’s explosive offense. The Wolverines’ ability to slow down Iowa’s transition game was critical, but Spike Albrecht and Jordan Morgan were Michigan’s stars on the defensive end.

Morgan, always known as a good defender, played a great game on the glass and marshaled the defense effectively. He provided critical plays in the game’s closing minutes and was solid throughout, playing a season-high 32 minutes. Albrecht, a surprise starter, has rarely been known for his defense, but his ability to force timely turnovers bolstered his statistics. Yes, there were times that Albrecht was outmatched when he was switched onto Devyn Marble, but was getting deflections, steals and drawing offensive fouls while keeping Mike Gessell in check.

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

  • Glenn Robinson III was a major reason that Melsahn Basabe scored so many points early on, but he was also a big reason that Basabe was essentially eliminated from the game for the final 25 minutes. Robinson also did a much better job on the glass after the first 10 minutes of play.
  • Nik Stauskas played great defense against Aaron White early on, but White found a groove down the stretch. White started his hot scoring spree with Stauskas on the bench, but he wasn’t able to recover once he got back on the floor.
  • Caris LeVert continues to be Michigan’s high usage guy on the perimeter defensively. At this point, I’m not sure what to make of that. Is he contesting so many shots (many of which are made) because he’s late on rotations, over helping or just that active? Roy Marble did have a poor game, and given that LeVert was tasked with defending him for most of the night he deserves some credit there.
  • Zak Irvin’s numbers are ugly, but the damage was all done in the first half. He gave up baskets on three of four possessions during his first shift, but was much better in the second half.
  • In the three games I’ve tracked these numbers, the leaders have been Jon Horford, Caris LeVert and now Spike Albrecht. Horford struggled against Iowa because he kept picking up shooting fouls while he was on the floor, despite limited playing time.

Previous Defensive Score Sheets:

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.

  • shielste

    I thought overall Stauskas played good defense. In the first half especially, him and LeVert were very active and didn’t let RDM or White get open looks on screens or anyting. Stauskas is an underrated defender, but he did a stellar job against a guy in White who statistically should have been a big mis-match in favor of White.

  • JGiebz

    Why is Horford’s %DPoss so much higher than Morgan’s? Given the split in playing time he would of had to face many more possessions (if I understand this formula correctly). Can you include a column for defensive possessions faced by each player and a team total?

    • Percent of defensive possessions that player faced while on the floor. Meaning Horford had lots of possessions in not that much time.

      • JGiebz

        The Audacity of Hoops article that you posted last week says that the fewer minutes you play the lower your %DPoss will be for a given number of defensive positions.

        “%DPoss – [(Min/40)*DPoss/TeamDefensivePossessions] (for a non-OT game) –
        the percentage of team defensive possessions faced by an individual
        defender. Analogous to %Poss on offense.”

        So if you play half the game and have 5 of the team’s 10 possessions you will be 25% but if you play the whole game with the same numbers you will be 50%.

        • guestavo

          Unless the other team specifically targets you

  • Hoopsfan

    Occam’s razor: the simplest explanation is probably the best. I think the simplest explanation for Levert’s poor defensive numbers is that he’s just not that good of a defender right now. He has all the tools to be a good or even great defender, but he just hasn’t shown the capability to focus and play lockdown D for 30 minutes/game.

    And I think that’s excusable. Let’s not forget how dramatic a leap Levert’s taken from last year. He’s gone from being a 16 USG% player averaging 10 mpg to a 20 USG% player averaging 30 mpg. Taking on such a larger scoring/playmaking burden has to be pretty draining mentally, and it makes sense that his defense has lagged behind his offense, given how much of a leap he’s made on offense. Now that Levert’s more comfortable with his role in the offense, he’ll be able to devote himself more to defense during the coming offseason. For now, we’ll probably just have to live with the fact that he’s a below-average defender and hope the rest of the team makes up for it.

    • guestavo

      Except Levert has the best DRTG of all perimeter players on the year but I get what you’re trying to say. He has a much higher ceiling and is adjusting, getting by on his tools.

      • Please don’t use this DRtg stat in these posts… Very confusing. The stat you are talking about is some sort of calculation at Basketball Ref that I’m honestly not sure how they come up with.

        • guestavo

          Ok got it.

          Is there anyway to differentiate a player who mostly guards an offensive non-threat and a player guarding a primary offensive option?

          • Perhaps after I go through some of the data I can try to run some sort of numbers as to who made field goals/FTs were to. I.e. this percentage of Caris LeVert’s allowed FGAs were against ‘top tier’, ‘second tier’, etc.

          • guestavo

            No need. Sounds tedious. I’m sure this formula will trend in the right direction and confirm my biases sooner rather than later.

  • Jim

    Perhaps I’m not understanding the Stop %, but using Levert as an example, and using .5 for FT to make it easier, wouldn’t it be:


    • Here’s the full one.. I abbreviated to make it easier to read (I thought)

      Stop % is Stops/Total Poss… So 5.5/15.5

      From the original post (Audacity of Hoops)
      Stops – the credit a defensive player gets for actions that contributed to ending an opponent possession. This isn’t as simple as adding FM + FTO + 0.4*FFTA, because the credit for a missed shot has to be shared with the defensive player who rebounds it. The formula is more complex than you might think, and includes a sliding weight for FM vs. DREB, based on how difficult those actions seem to be in each particular game, so I’ll just refer you to Appendix 3 of Basketball On Paper.

      ScPos – Scoring Possessions allowed by a player. This is essentially just DFGM plus a FT-related factor. I’ll again refer you to Basketball On Paper for details.

      I believe Basketblal on Paper is available on Google Books if you want to look it up.

  • jemblue

    I like these defensive box scores overall, but the concept of a “forced” missed FT attempt is a little hard to wrap my mind around.

    • It’s a more complicated calculation, but the ‘forced free throw miss’ is weighted more toward a ‘scoring possession’ than a ‘stop’. The numbers are a bit more complicated and weighted, but if you don’t count those numbers then everything won’t add up.

      Fouling a shooter should be a negative action — whether he makes his FTs or not — and it works out that way.