It is impossible to beat Wisconsin without playing Wisconsin basketball. Michigan did just that on Saturday afternoon as it scrapped and clawed its way through 40 ugly minutes of Badger ball for a 61-52 win.
There were no surprises or notable adjustments. Just two teams playing exactly how they expected each other to play for 60 grueling possessions.
“It’s really just exactly what happened in Madison,” John Beilein said after the victory. “Two good teams trying to play the right way that both guard each other. I think you (saw) two of the better defenses in the country. The score there was 27-25 at the half, this time it was 27-all. Got to be six minutes to go there and they got away from us. Six minutes, four minutes to go and we got away from them.”
The Wolverines shot 35% on twos in the first half and didn’t make a three in the second, but a barrage of mid-range jumpers and ball screen drives by Charles Matthews carried them to the finish line.
Matthews finished with 18 points — 16 in the second half — on 9-of-15 shooting while Jon Teske added a 17-point, 12-rebound double-double in a career night.