2020-21 Season

‘That’s what they do’: Michigan’s defense leaves yet another opponent floundering

Steve Pikiell, like 12 coaches who came before him, was exasperated Thursday night.

He had studied film of Minnesota’s win over Michigan — the Wolverines’ only loss in 16 games this season — and conjured up a plan to do the same. Instead, Rutgers left Ann Arbor with a 71-64 defeat, still winless against Michigan in its history.

Afterward, Pikiell cast a familiar figure in the growing catalog of coaches who have had no answer for the Wolverines.

“Against them, you don’t have a lot of margin for error,” Pikiell said. “You gotta take advantage of any opportunity that you can get.”

On Thursday night, the Scarlet Knights couldn’t do that. Or, more accurately, Michigan wouldn’t let them.

For five and a half minutes midway through the second half, the Wolverines’ offensive possession chart read: blocked shot, blocked shot, offensive foul, missed shot, turnover, missed shot, turnover, offensive foul. In another year, for another team, that’s the type of stretch that can derail a game.

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