Final Horn: Wisconsin 68, Michigan 57

Dylan Burkhardt

Michigan gave Wisconsin a fight in Madison as both teams exchanged the lead six times in the opening half, but the game always had the feel of an inevitable Kohl Center collapse. The margin for error playing on the road at Wisconsin is narrow and there were just too many mistakes, fouls and bad breaks that prevented Michigan from ever pulling away when it was playing well.

The Wolverines never led by more than 7 points and eventually Wisconsin’s run came midway through the second half.  Michigan went cold, failing to score for four and a half minutes, while the Badgers heated up and made six straight shots for an 8-0 run and take a commanding lead. The Wolverines were left in comeback mode from that point on and were never able to threaten again in the 68-57 loss.

MVP: Ricky Doyle

Doyle played one of his better games of the season, finishing with 10 points off the bench as Mark Donnal battled foul trouble. He caught and finished more effectively than he has all year and even threw down a big alley-oop midway through the second half.

It Was Over When

Derrick Walton made an incredible play to rip the ball from Ethan Happ while isolated against the Badgers’ big man  on the block and then pushed the ball in transition and missed an uncontested finger roll off the front of the rim. A couple of possessions later on another opportunity setup by a Walton steal, Zak Irvin missed another nearly uncontested transition layup.

The missed opportunities put a stop to the Wolverines’s comeback efforts and eventually Bronson Koenig and Vitto Brown buried back to back threes to stretch the lead to double digits and put the Wolverines away.

Statistic of the Game: Finishing

Michigan forced the ball inside all night, but just couldn’t convert. The Wolverines made just 13 of 25 shots within five feet, a collection of shots that included a number of bunnies that just had to be makes. Doyle was the Wolverines’ only consistent finisher inside as he made all of his interior attempts and his teammates shot just 40 percent at the rim.

Four Factors

wisc factors
  • gobluemd16

    Just an unbelievably frustrating game. This team is just stressful to watch, and many times hard to enjoy. Had a huge opportunity to win this game, but kept shooting itself in the foot. 2/5 FT (till the last 40 sec), three absolutey wide open layups/dunk (Doyle alley oop, Walton, Irvin), and lane violation, just to name a few. Cannot beat a good team on road doing with those. Hayes crushed our bigs in the paint and it felt like they had an open three whenever they wanted it. Should be on the outside looking in tomorrow as a ton of bubble teams had big wins this wkend –Pitt, VCU, Wichita St, Vanderbilt, to name a few. Absolutely have to win against Iowa, who is reeling.

  • JRose5

    Very sad that our two leaders often fail to step up in big moments. I have to think next years incoming freshmen are looking to get quite a bit of play time.

  • Champswest

    I thought that we had good effort tonight and battled all the way. Just one of those nights when our two best players had poor shooting games and no breaks went our way.
    Wisconsin was more poised and polished than we were as we seemed to press a little in the second half.
    Glad to see Ricky Doyle have a good game. He has taken a lot of crap from the fan base so I am happy for him. Definitely the MVP tonight.

  • bobohle

    Xavier Simpson can’t get here soon enough. We need him badly.

    • three_goggles

      Walton is a career 36% shooter from the floor in big ten play. Irvin is at 40.0%. Our two best players are too inefficient to succeed at a high level. If Simpson can score, I pray that JB doesn’t go with his senior experience over offensive ability next year

      • jr_ewing93

        so u saying that Simpson starts over Walton

        • three_goggles

          If he proves capable, I’d love to see them start together. But if Walton plays 35 minutes next year and keeps shooting 36% from the floor while Simpson sits I’ll be very frustrated. Again, that’s if Simpson proves to be the capable scorer I believe he can be

  • scipiodreams80

    You’re not really doing justice to those two misses. I still can’t believe either one of those actually happened.

  • scipiodreams80

    That game was always going to be very hard to win, but it just feels like we didn’t give ourselves a chance to win.

  • Carl

    Iowa is a must win.. You have to beat someone to make the dance.. Expecially down the stretch.

  • scipiodreams80

    Is there any room to question the medical staff attached to this team? It seems self-evident that Irvin has never recovered from his injury. Our long term injuries never, EVER seem to resolve themselves. They completely biffed on estimating Spike’s ability to return, and this team would be in the dance with one functional grad transfer. Is it just bad luck? This just seems to happen again and again and again with this program.

    • Steve2081

      Irvin looks fine to me. This is who he is. He’s just not super athletic and he wears down late in game guarding bigger guys.

      • scipiodreams80

        He had way more bounce as a freshman.

        • GTFOmycourt

          and even more in the beginning of last year.

    • Vince

      IMO this is exactly the question to ask. Between the medical staff or the S&C staff there has to be something very wrong or inadequate to see the collective fail to recover from injuries and/or fatigue of key players our recent teams.

      • scipiodreams80

        And yet there’s not a question I feel less qualified to ask – I’m just finding it hard not to wonder, at this point.

  • GTFOmycourt

    The most frustrating thing for me was that Walton and Irvin were over utilized in the half court at MAAR’s expense. I assume that was a coaching decision because MAAR seemed very much stuck in the corner most plays. I don’t get it, if it is a coaching decision…Irvin and Walton driving the lane is a dream for anyone who likes to block shots. MAAr is not a big three pointing threat so why have him standing out there? Irvin was clearly exhausted by having to guard bigger guys. Why not put less offensive responsibility on Irvin given his very difficult defensive matches?

    • GTFOmycourt

      …And I totally agree with others when they fear that even if Xavier turns out to be capable he will take a backseat to Walton….I have enough evidence to believe that needs to questioned….Walton patches together good games here and there but he just isn’t very good in half court offensively….

      • jr_ewing93

        you are a bandwagon fan

        • GTFOmycourt

          I think, in this case, agreeing with against the grain and controversial statements others make regarding Walton/Xavier is the opposite of “bandwagon” isn’t it? anyway, I don’t mean to give the wrong impression. I like Irvin and Walton very much. I just think Maar is being underutilized, which is more of a knock on the coach. I also think if Xavier has “it” then it would be a mistake to just give the keys to Walton because he is a Senior. The competition at point guard spot next year would be a good thing–good for Walton too. In general I think JB, who I have liked since seeing the WV Pittsnoggle team, overplays his players. I don’t think it is good to run such a short bench because it is hard on the athletes bodies and they become ineffective and it hurts the psychology of the 8th, 9th, and 10th man.

  • jr_ewing93

    Big ups to the Badgers for the win! There the hottest team in the Big10 right now. I get on here an listen to you guys, cry every game when they dont win! You all might be the worst Michigan fans on here. I can name a few.

  • jr_ewing93

    these guys Walton, irvin, maar play roughly on average 38 to 39 minutes a game. Caris and spike hurts this team bcause of Sr leadership.

    • Vince

      The lost of half our guards which also happen to be 100% of our seniors in a two-guards offense really decimated our team. Irvin and Walton both averaged about 36 mins a game in B1G play (both among top 10 in the league). The two other teams have two players in the top 10 – Illinois and Northwestern.

  • Tuff Enough

    Bottomline Walton and Irvin are not that good enough and when they have to be the guys to lead they cannot and finally its clear. They always had alot of good players around them and now they have freaking 2 star that Beilein wanted to bring in. Beilein is nuts to let a 5th yr Sr go and help a team in your Division most likely when a Title. Just screwed is own Team Period!