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Another game with Wisconsin and another painful loss. Michigan had everything going for them early and were up by double digits at one point. However, they were unable to stop Wisconsin in the 2nd half and couldn't hit enough shots to hang with the Badgers. This game knocked Michigan out of the Big Ten Tournament and gave Bo Ryan a 11-1 record against John Beilein, not something Michigan fans will enjoy reading. The Wolverines will now await their fate on Selection Sunday to see who they play in the NCAA Tournament as Wisconsin moves on to face Indiana in the Big Ten semifinals.
If there is one thing to highlight in this game, it was the poor defensive play in the post. Berggren and Evans combined for 20 points, which may not seem like a ton, but given the low-scoring nature of Badger games, that's actually pretty significant. The biggest defensive mistake was the decision to help. Typically, Ryans would get the ball inside and would have a defender on him, but for some reason, a Michigan big man would move over to help him, leaving guys like Berggren completely unguarded. This hurt Michigan big and was the major factor that led to a 2nd half run where it seemed like Wisconsin went 5 minutes without missing a shot.
McGary and Horford did alright offensively, but Morgan could not hold onto the ball and came away with 3 turnovers and 0 points. This was the major factor limiting Michigan's offense early in the game. GR3 did not have a good game. He came away with 8 points, but he was beaten consistently on defense. It was obvious that he was overmatched against Evans and frankly, it was a bit surprising that Beilein didn't pull him earlier in the game when Wisconsin went on that run.
Trey Burke didn't start hot, but he came away with his typical 19 points and 7 assists. He is always going to get criticism for some poor shot selection, but when he impacts the game the way he does, it's hard to criticize. Hardaway had his monster alley-oop early in the game and came away with some big shots late in the game. Plus, he really showed his defensive presence. He has become one of the best defenders on the team and the conference and it showed. Nik Stauskas didn't do quite as well as he usually does, especially outside the arch. He got beat a few times on defense and even though Wisconsin didn't convert everytime, the defense really gets hurt when he gets beat like that. Spike and LeVert did about what one would expect. Spike had a foul that made you scratch your head, but it wasn't anything major in the grand scheme of things.
This certainly doesn't deserve the distinction of being a "horrible" loss or a big upset, but it was a game that Michigan was in good position to win, but broke down on defense and gave away. If they had won, they would have gotten revenge, put another good win on the resume, and gotten another shot at Indiana. Instead, Michigan gets to rest, see where they are seeded on Sunday and prepare for the NCAA Tournament where they should meet an opponent that's a little easier.
Basketball Analyst For BTPowerhouse & Wolverine 247 - Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tbeindit
Killing SCUM just to watch it die!!!!....."De Oppresso Libre"
Pretty much sums it up. No excuses from me.
“@slmandel: Something tells me Michigan will be a very popular upset pick next week. Will be a No. 2/3 seed that peaked 5 weeks ago.”
“Those who stay will be champions”
― Bo Schembechler
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