One basketball game can only tell you so much. The final score, box score, film, or advanced stats never tells the whole story. It can’t tell you what will happen the next time out, as much as it feels like it should.
Michigan picked up one of its best wins of the season two weeks ago in Iowa City thanks to a career night by Moussa Diabate, who scored 28 points on 12-of-15 shooting. The Wolverines held an explosive Iowa offense in check by mixing up defenses, forcing misses around the rim, and finding opportunities to push the tempo for easy baskets. Future lottery pick Keegan Murray missed 14 shots and 5 free throws, and the Hawkeyes shot 4-of-18 from 3-point range.
Fast forward to the rematch in Ann Arbor on Thursday night, and those shots went the other way. It was the Hawkeyes that forced misses around the rim early in the game, pushed the ball for open threes, and blew the Wolverines out before they realized what was happening. Defensive mistakes that led to missed jumpers in Iowa City turned into made 3-pointers in Ann Arbor. Iowa scored 1.52 points per possession in the first half, and shot 11-of-19 from 3-point range for the game. Diabate scored just 4 points on 2-of-9 shooting with three turnovers and could not hang with Murray defensively.
Michigan battled back from a 17-point halftime deficit and held the Hawkeyes to 1.02 points per possession in the second half, but it was far too little too late in the most important spot of the season.