Defensive Score Sheet: Michigan at Iowa

Dylan Burkhardt

Michigan played its worst defensive game since November 21st, 2007. That was John Beilein’s fourth game as Michigan’s coach against Butler in the Alaska Shootout.

Michigan’s defensive issues on Saturday were plentiful. Iowa shredded the Wolverines in transition, on the glass, in the paint, everywhere. Michigan’s defense routinely got caught in screens, got caught ball watching or didn’t find its man in transition defense. With such a disappointing performance across the board, it should come as no surprise that the defensive score sheet is ugly. Glenn Robinson III and Jon Horford graded out better than Michigan’s other rotation players, but that’s not saying much.

  • Caris LeVert fell asleep on several of Marble’s made threes. The mistakes he made in Iowa City were the sort that we saw often early in the year, but he had seemed to eradicate in recent weeks. Michigan as a team, just seemed to lack focus on the defensive end from the opening tip. LeVert led Michigan in both field goals allowed and field goals defended.

  • Jordan Morgan had also been one of Michigan’s better performers defensively in conference play. Against Iowa, he was Michigan’s worst defender. Morgan played just 15 minutes and didn’t record a rebound while being credited for 3.5 made field goals. Early in the first half, Morgan missed a layup on one end of the floor and allowed Adam Woodbury to beat him down to the other end for a layup — that’s a play we’re used to seeing Morgan make, not the other way around.
  • Nik Stauskas forced six misses and did a decent job of using his size to defend shots around the rim, but he also lost focus several times and had the ugly tendency to watch the ball from the wing.
  • Glenn Robinson III graded out more favorably than most, mostly because he spent time guarding the Iowa players that don’t play a large role in the offense.
  • Zak Irvin gave up back-to-back baskets when he checked into the game midway through the first half, but his defensive effort improved as the game wore on.
  • Jon Horford was at least able to grab a few rebounds, but he also struggled against Iowa’s size, strength and length inside and gave up some second chances. Iowa controlled the offensive glass regardless of what Michigan big man was 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.

  • Wayman Britt

    Wow that was a bad defensive game. I have confidence the coaching staff will find ways to get the offensive going again, but I worry about the defense. Defense does win championships and playing poor defense has been a staple this year for UM and they don’t seem to be getting better at it.

  • Dr_ZC

    Time for JB to kill 2 birds with 1 stone. As much as I am a proponent to have the best 5 on the court, I would go for having both Horford and Morgan at the same time on the floor. We give a bunch of offensive boards with our starting 5, and we do not even box out. I have seen both spike and Derrick on the floor at the same time, and even the 66 lineup. And yet, the result is the same defensively. Why not try something different for a change? On paper this is the best remedy for our ailment.

    • guestavo

      We did the 2 big lineup early in the year and still got out rebounded and it made our offense significantly worse.

    • kam

      i personally liked the 66 lineup. It works for the small stretches its out there. Should use that more often IMO. i dont like the spike and walton lineup though

      • guestavo

        I thought it looked great, too. It was the reason we made a run at the end of the first half…

        • kam

          hopefully we try it some more

        • Dr_ZC

          The reason we made the run was because of zak and caris. Glenn and Nik were AWOL.

          • guestavo

            Which was in the 66 lineup…..

    • rlcBlue

      In military terms this is called “preparing for the last war” – Iowa is second in the conference in offensive rebounding, just a tick behind Purdue. But we aren’t playing Iowa now, we’re playing Ohio State – their best offensive rebounder, Mere Williams, trails three different Hawkeyes in OR%. Changing the lineup that will face Ohio State on Tuesday won’t change the fact that Iowa beat us up on the boards Saturday. What it would do, though, is cripple our offense and probably allow LaQuinton Ross to go wild on the perimeter as Horford or Morgan tried to chase him around. This is not a good idea.

      • Dr_ZC

        Our chronic problem is boxing-out and allowing offensive rebounds. In addition, we are always a step behind the hot shooter. We allowed yogi and Roy go nuts on us. I am not suggesting that we will have 2 bigs down low for the duration of the game. JB needs to give it a shot, much like the 66 and spike&whalton, to relay a message. Missed a box-out? Warm the pine for a few.

        It would be an irony if Ross goes wild on us. He was on fire in the mustard and ketchup game last year. It would be up to Glenn to check him.

  • Mattski

    I’d like to see more of Irvin. I’d also like to see Beilein defy the critics and hang tough with Glenn and wean him out of his funk. It’s all too easy to assume that what you see in any given moment is all that’s possible for a guy. He was off and on last year, but had some magnificent games; let’s not forget what he’s capable of.