Defensive Score Sheet: Michigan State at Michigan

Dylan Burkhardt

Michigan completed the sweep of Michigan State on Sunday thanks to an incredible second half effort. The Wolverines certainly won the game with their offense, not their defense, but there were still some highlights on the defensive score sheet.

The first thing that stands out is every Michigan player other than Zak Irvin was involved in forcing at least one Michigan State turnover. (Irvin was actually credited with a steal, but it was the result of Robinson and LeVert’s defense). The forced turnovers were a critical sign that the defensive effort was working, help was arriving on time, and a big reason that things started to click in the second half for the Wolverines. Michigan State hit some contested shots and some wide open shots, but the turnovers equalized the game.

  • When Caris LeVert plays a good defensive game, Michigan is usually in good shape. LeVert was solid while chasing around one of the best players in the conference, Gary Harris. While most of the talk about tired legs came from the green and white press conference, LeVert managed to play 39 minutes, guard Gary Harris and score 23 points. LeVert has played 37 minutes or more in Michigan’s last four games and in seven of the last ten.
  • I singled out Jordan Morgan and Glenn Robinson III for battling down low on Sunday, and the defensive score sheet backs that up pretty well. Both Morgan and Robinson graded out more effectively than they have in recent weeks and made things difficult down low for the Spartans.
  • Spike Albrecht played his best game in a while and he did it on both ends. He had a great heads up play to pick Valentines’ pocket. He had another 50-50 play that looked like it could have been whistled a charge.
  • Nik Stauskas surrendered a team high six made field goals and didn’t play his best defensive game. He was in trouble after Valentine knocked down a couple of early shots because he was forced to close out harder and then was beaten off the bounce. Stauskas gave up four made 3-pointers in the first half, but didn’t allow one in the second.
  • Jon Horford was dinged for giving up 4.5 free throw attempts, but Adreian Payne didn’t make him pay for the fouling (4-of-10 at the line). Horford and LeVert combined for some of Michigan’s best hedging defense of the year when they trapped Harris late in the first half and he threw the ball 10 feet out of bounds.
  • Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin both had freshman performances against the Spartans. Walton got caught several times in Michigan State’s off ball screens, but I thought he did a good job of staying in front of Appling off the dribble.
  • If you are interested in another take (and the Michigan State side of the score sheet), check out Chris Mackinder’s defensive score sheet.


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

    I was very impressed with the way UM played defense in the second half. We need that kind of effort every night.