Michigan’s defensive performance at Wisconsin wasn’t earth shattering, but it was certainly an improvement after two poor efforts against Nebraska and Penn State. The Wolverines got stops when it counted, especially to open the second half, and were able to escape Madison with a victory thanks to their proficient offense. The biggest key in the game was the ability of Michigan’s guards – Caris LeVert, Nik Stauskas and Derrick Walton – to negate Wisconsin’s backcourt.
After the jump find some individual thoughts on the defensive effort.
- I thought Caris LeVert played his best defensive game of the season against Wisconsin and the numbers really back that up. He led the team in forced turnovers and he contested shots fairly well.
- All of Michigan’s guards did a good job defending Wisconsin’s guards in the lane. Gasser was 0-of-2 on twos, Jackson was 3-of-9 on twos, and Brust was 3-of-6 on twos. That’s a big step forward for Nik Stauskas – who blocked two shots and had a steal – and Derrick Walton. Stauskas had really struggled defensively against Penn State, but was able to use his size and physicality against Wisconsin. The Wolverines appear to be better suited to defend rugged physical guards than the quicker guards at Penn State or Nebraska.
- Jordan Morgan was extremely active along the backline, providing help defense and trapping occasionally when the Badgers would pass the ball into the post. Morgan doesn’t grade out with the highest defensive rating, but he was the most involved Wolverine. His help defense didn’t always force misses, but he contested as many shots as anyone on the Michigan roster.
- Jon Horford blocked a pair of shots but he also got caught out of position a couple times, including when he helped off Kaminsky (who hit an open three) during the final Wisconsin run.
- Zak Irvin really struggled. He got caught out of position a number of times and Wisconsin scored 33 points in the 14 minutes that Irvin was on the floor (Michigan was outscored by 11 points in those 14 minutes.
- Glenn Robinson III doesn’t grade out all that well, mostly because of a pair of early breakdowns against Sam Dekker, but more importantly he didn’t grab a single defensive rebound. Michigan handled the defensive glass fairly well, but needs more from its best athlete 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.