Team 102

How Michigan built an elite defense: Part II — Defending ball screens

Michigan played defense in 2017-18.

John Beilein has been coaching for four decades, but the Wolverines managed to break seemingly every stereotype that has followed him throughout his career.

Michigan won five NCAA Tournament games despite playing only one great offensive game. The famous NCAA Tournament teams of Beilein’s past are remembered for their offensive shootouts in the NCAA Tournament. His latest team made it to the season’s final day with a collection of rock fights.

Just how good was Michigan defensively in 2017-18? What made the Wolverines so effective? This is part two of our five-part dissection of the Wolverine defense in 2017-18, examining what made it so effective and what could be in store for the future.

Today we look at Michigan’s ball screen defense. Previously: Contest every shot.

Ball screen defense

The ball screen is an integral part of almost every Division I offense at this point and teams are forced to defend pick-and-rolls in dozens of different ways.

No team relies on just one ball screen coverage or defense. If they do, they are falling behind. Adjustments are made game-by-game and player-by-player. Michigan’s offense is no stranger to these adjustments as teams threw dozens of different looks to try to combat Moritz Wagner’s ability to pick-and-pop or slip any screen on the perimeter.

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