Bart Torvik's site allows you to slice data into whatever chunk you want; I've been slicing.
One rank to rule them all. Michigan is the #1 team in the country if you consider just games against top 50*, top 100, top 150, and top 200 opponents. It's only when the dregs get added in that Michigan slips back to third.
The reason for this is pretty obvious: zones. Torvik's algorithm thinks more highly of Michigan's offense than Kenpom and the teams that get added back in when you consider every game are Norfolk State, George Washington, Chattanooga, Air Force, and Binghamton. That selection of opponents contain the large majority of Michigan possessions against zones.
Michigan's offensive issue-type substances almost entirely go away when you consider just top 100 opponents; they're 9th per Torvik. The defense is third. That's a seven-game sample, so it's relatively robust.
1/3/2019 – Michigan 68, Penn State 55 – 14-0, 3-0 Big Ten
The most concerning portion of the long December lull was the sudden permeability of the defense. Some weird guys hit some weird shots, sure, but the overall aura was ominous. It didn't feel like the same unit that caused a Yosemite Sam version of Roy Williams to resort to a hockey line change in the second half. It wasn't exactly bad, but the comedown from HELLO WE ARE MONGOLS AND THIS IS OUR HORDE was real.
Genghis and friends roared back with a 0.76 points per possession performance featuring 18 TOs and zero three pointers that didn't bank in. The tense, ugly first half gave way to the opening five minutes of the second when Michigan swarmed PSU for a number of turnovers and the ensuing transition buckets, opening up the 13 point cushion they'd finish with.
Michigan isn't a high pressure team that gets a ton of steals but they're pretty decent (100th) despite having a rock bottom foul rate; in this game everyone who played 10 minutes had at least one. They were locked in a slog of their own until their defense opened it up for them.
Michigan basketball: good. Also weird.
hello i must destroy you [Campredon]
Shorts: in them. Rasir Bolton's been a bit of a revelation for Penn State this year; with a quick release and some ability to drive he's been their most efficient player. Here: 0/3 from three and seven turnovers for an ORTG of 44. Zavier Simpson ate his lunch.
Michigan also drove Lamar Stevens to another high-usage, poor efficiency game: 17 points on 19 shot equivalents and three turnovers. Michigan doubled Stevens a lot early, which was weird to me and led to an easy look at the rim for their backup C. They must of thought he was the kind of black hole you can double with impunity. They weren't quite right about that but they weren't too far off: Stevens had just one other assist.
[After THE JUMP: some yelling, Jordan Poole doing Things]