Defensive Score Sheet: Michigan at Purdue

Dylan Burkhardt

Michigan allowed 1.10 points per possession against Purdue on Wednesday night. While that was Michigan’s best defensive performance in the last three games, it was still a disappointing effort against a mediocre Boilermaker offense. Purdue scorched the nets in the first 12 minutes of the game, but eventually Michigan started getting stops (and Purdue started missing threes) to enable a 19 point comeback and overtime victory.

Jordan Morgan was Michigan’s defensive star, forcing seven missed field goals and three turnovers, but several other Wolverines made some big plays on the defensive side of the ball as well.

  • Spike Albrecht and Derrick Walton both graded out well, the difference was that Spike made more happen on the offensive end of the floor. Spike’s ability to cause turnovers with heads up plays tends to make up for his physical deficiencies defensively. The fact that he graded out so well against a quick backcourt says something about Michigan’s help defense.

  • Jordan Morgan was terrific. It’s a lot harder for a big man to pick up ‘forced misses’ than a guard because their defensive charge generally isn’t going to fire away a bunch of long jumpers, but Morgan was a critical cog both on the interior and on the glass. Morgan contested and disrupted several straight line drives to the basket and he had some massive defensive rebounds in overtime when it felt like the Wolverines just couldn’t grab a defensive board.
  • Nik Stauskas’ defensive showing could have been a lot worse if Purdue didn’t cool off from long range. The Boilermakers had a number of open threes that just didn’t fall. 10 of Purdue’s 24 three-point attempts were credited to Stauskas. While the Boilers only made two, conventional wisdom is that the result of three-point defense is fairly random. Stauskas was in a tough spot against the Boilers because he doesn’t have the quickest foot speed and so many Purdue players have the ability to drive to the basket.
  • Glenn Robinson III seems to almost always grade out in the middle of the pack defensively. Robinson made several good plays in one-on-one defense and tied with Morgan for a team-high six defensive rebounds. I didn’t log ‘missed box outs’, but Rapheal Davis was Robinson’s defensive assignment for much of the second half and he had a big night on the offensive glass.
  • Caris LeVert got beaten a handful of times during Purdue’s early run, at least partially responsible for nine Purdue points in the first 12 minutes, but he improved as the game wore on. His steal for a Euro-step layup late in the second half was one of the two biggest defensive plays of the game and he was also fairly disruptive at the top of the 1-3-1 zone.
  • Jon Horford struggled to box out and continued to be very foul prone (3 fouls in 11 minutes). The upcoming game against Minnesota could be good for him as the Gophers have more traditional back to the basket bigs.
  • Zak Irvin graded out as Michigan’s worst defender. He gave up two quick baskets in the first three minutes of the game when he replaced Nik Stauskas after his fall. In both cases he had trouble fighting through Purdue’s off-ball screens. He didn’t allow any more Purdue offense until he was subbed into the game late in overtime and fouled Ronnie Johnson, but I’m not sure why he was even guarding the smaller Johnson out of the timeout.

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.

  • Dana

    Irvin must have done something right since he was in as we climbed back in the game. Remember LeVert was put back in when we were down 1. Irvin was in during the climb back process to get to down only 1.

    I find it very odd to constantly read how Irvin grades out so poorly yet the team regularly does so well while he’s on the court. Same for Albrecht. There seems to be a flaw in the statistic when team success contradicts the statistics so drastically.