[Patrick Barron]

Hoops Preview: 2018-19 Wisconsin Part Two Comment Count

Brian February 8th, 2019 at 12:13 PM


WHAT #6 Michigan (21-2) vs
#11 Wisconsin (17-6)
WHERE Crisler Arena
Ann Arbor, MI
WHEN Noon Saturday
LINE Michigan –5, 68% to win (Kenpom)
Michigan –6.8, 79% to win (Torvik)


Michigan was able to hold a Rutgers team that's officially "pesky" at arm's length in their last outing. At virtually the same time Michigan State provided a welcome batch of perspective by losing to Illinois. Also a welcome opening of the conference race, which Kenpom now projects as a three-way tie between the two Michigan schools and resurgent Purdue.

The Boilers have cleared the brutal part of its schedule and now settle in for a home stretch with just one top-20 game, that at Maryland. Michigan, on the other hand, has five top-20 opponents in their final eight games. A return date against Wisconsin is first up, and probably mandatory if Michigan wants to keep pace.


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Click for big.

Projected starters are in bold. Hover over headers for stat explanations. The "Should I Be Mad If He Hits A Three" methodology: we're mad if a guy who's not good at shooting somehow hits one. Yes, you're still allowed to be unhappy if a proven shooter is left open. It's a free country.

Pos. # Name Yr. Ht./Wt. %Min %Poss ORtg SIBMIHHAT
G 0 D'Mitrik Trice So. 6'0, 187 81 22 110 No
Still just a shooter who never gets to the rim. 42/45 shooting splits.
G 34 Brad Davison So. 6'3, 206 78 18 113 No
Grayson Allen if he looked like the illicit son of R Lee Emery and Matt Damon.
F 21 Khalil Iverson Sr. 6'5, 217 53 14 101 God yes
Burlywing played only 9 minutes in first game. Dunks on others assists for most of points.
F 35 Nate Reuvers So. 6'11 240 53 20 114 No
Heir apparent at C spends most of his time as stretch 4. Top 50 block rate, 60/39% splits, rock bottom TO rate.
C 22 Ethan Happ Sr. 6'10, 237 79 35 109 Yes
Unique point-center has top 50 assist rate, giant usage, good efficiency, and a major achilles heel: 47% on FTs. Not super athletic and can get eaten up by bigger, jumpier Cs.
G 23 Kobe King Fr.* 6'4 203 49 11 116 No
31 mins in first game, hit 2/2 from three and 0/2 from two. Will get to rack a little but usage is rock bottom.
G 1 Brevin Pritzl Jr. 6'3, 198 48 11 129 No
Just A Shooter, hitting 40%, 50% in Big Ten play but on just 26 attempts.
F 2 Aleem Ford So. 6'8, 220 32 15 89 Sorta
Just A Shooter, horrible (21%) from three in Big Ten play. Naturally hit 2/3 in first game.
F 15 Charles Thomas Sr. 6'8, 250 12 26 104 Maybe
Bit player gets a few minutes here and there.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]




As with previous rematch editions of these posts, this is the same team Michigan played earlier this year: Ethan Happ is #2 in the KPOY race with giant usage and a similarly giant assist rate. Wisconsin surrounds him with guys who do little other than shoot on offense and play that uniquely frustrating brand of flop-tastic Wisconsin defense with various people who should be shot into the sun. The previous post's The Them section is still on point.

The usual errata:

  • Happ's FT% has dropped another couple points to 47%.
  • D'Mitrik Trice is 12/29 from three over his last six, a bounce-back from a meh stretch leading up to the Michigan game. He's now 29/86 (34%) since cooling off from his torrid start. Scouting report is out.
  • Khalil Iverson has added one more consecutive missed three to his current streak, which now sits at 28.
  • Brad Davison added another embed to the growing pile of evidence he's garbage.

In non-errata news, Wisconsin elected to cover Ignas Brazdeikis with Ethan Happ for much of the game in the Trohl Center and this worked better than their wildest dreams: Iggy put up a goose egg and Reuvers, a better defender, was able to help gum up Michigan's pick and roll game, as Alex detailed. Michigan will no doubt have better ways for Iggy to attack whichever 5 Wisconsin decides to put on him.


Since the last matchup Wisconsin's offense has become a slightly more extreme version of itself, moving from 19th to 9th in 3P%, sliding up a slot to third in TO rate, and getting marginally worse at already 300+ offensive rebounding and FTA/FGA rankings. It is now even more of a Typical Beilein/Wisconsin offense, at least by statistical shape, than it was before. (A team that generates most of its shots off post-ups is obviously not a Beilein offense stylistically.)

It remains imperative to limit Wisconsin's attempts from behind the arc, where they hit 40%; inside they're just 145th nationally. Wisconsin doesn't get a lot of shots off from deep—they're 262nd—despite the fact that their two guards will take and hit unassisted threes.

You will be aware of Wisconsin's defensive style: sag off everything inside the line, give you a bunch of midrange two looks, floppity flop flop flop. Reuvers has been a giant difference-maker for them. More or less the same crew of guys was 203rd in defending twos a year ago as Reuvers pupated with just over 10 MPG. Now he's out there most of the time and Wisconsin is 12th.


Defense like you generally do. Michigan's defense was fine against the Badgers, who had 57 points on 63 possessions until the late garbage with the Brazdeikis no-call-and-then-flagrant followed by some goofy meaningless stuff that pushed the final margin from four to ten. Happ was 12/22 from the floor on mostly tough shots; Trice did nothing; there's not a whole lot you can do that will slide your expected PPP much lower against what is a top 30 Kenpom offense.

Doubling off Iverson is nice in theory but he only got nine minutes in the last game; everyone else on the roster except Aleem Ford (28%) is shooting 40%+ from three. Just live with Happ putting up shots against Teske and win by scoring a PPP.

Consider Hack-a-Happ, though. A 47% FT shooter shooting a one-and-one has an expected return of 0.69 PPP, so you should probably do it during the window that's possible. Would take a few minutes of pressure off of Teske.

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Iggy. Obviously. Zero points at the Trohl Center. Will be covered by a 5. Just lit up Rutgers with a bunch of 1-4 pick and roll against a 240-pound paint-bound power forward. Michigan must flip that defensive matchup into an advantage.

In other pick and roll news, the drop coverage Wisconsin runs incessantly is vulnerable to off the dribble threes, so Poole PNR is another option.

Midrange twos. Wisconsin forces a ton into the midrange (26th nationally) and those shots don't go down (25th), which is an ugly ugly matchup for a Michigan team that takes too many midrange shots and converts just 31% of them. Michigan was 5/19 on other twos in the first game, with Poole hitting 3/8 and nobody else approaching acceptable conversion levels.

Michigan is inevitably going to be forced into a fair number of two point jumpers, and then it's just about making some of them.



Dad Bravison calls. The strangest thing about Brad Davison's emergence into the league's Scumbag Steve is the impact it's had on charge calls leaguewide. You can't flip on a Big Ten game these days without seeing an obvious legitimate charge ignored. It's clear that there's been a leaguewide memo about flops… that does not seem to apply to Wisconsin, which didn't commit a foul of any sort in the first half against Minnesota.

At least they did get called for various flops in the second half? I dunno. But neither team can really afford foul trouble. These games almost never feature any; in the current environment it might be more dangerous to try to take a charge than drive the lane.


Michigan by 5.



February 8th, 2019 at 1:18 PM ^

Biggest key for this game that we didn’t take advantage of in the first game, get points and turnovers while Happ is on the bench. Happ with score 10+, he is just a pretty good player that will get his, if the Poole and Matthews that played against Rutgers show up, we win. If hero ball Matthews and jittery Poole show up, not gonna be a fun Saturday. I’m confident that the former occurs and we avenge that loss.

Our Man in Havana

February 9th, 2019 at 10:42 AM ^

I wonder if he’ll pull up on would-be slashes and take more midrange twos in this game. If the Badgers plan to sit back and play for flops when it looks like he’s driving, and their defense offers the two, he’s probably the best hope of making those right now.

With a lot of high-profile freshmen, I’d worry about them pressing, in an attempt to emphatically erase that earlier game goose egg. I worry less about that here.


February 8th, 2019 at 1:35 PM ^

Sorry, Brian, but I expect to be mad if Brad Davison hits a three.  Actually, I expect to be mad if he plays, and then mad if he does anything successfully.

Wisconsin should have suspended him, and since they didn't, the Big Ten should have.


February 8th, 2019 at 2:15 PM ^

Wisc plays the ugliest ball I've seen,,,year after year.

Why would I play at wisc???? To learn to flop. Brutal watch.

But Go Blue, run them into the ground.


February 8th, 2019 at 3:05 PM ^

In 2013 Michigan started off 20-2 before finishing 4-4 over the last 8 regular season games, 1-1 in the BTT before making a run to the National Title vs Vacated. We're looking at a scarily similar situation lining up again here taking into account depth and upcoming schedule. If Michigan wins on Saturday, start up the 1-seed hype train!


February 8th, 2019 at 3:08 PM ^

The Brad Davis thing makes me more Angry after each time a view.  

The dude simply deserves a physical ass kicking not just a full suspension.   That bullshit could end a guy’s season and possibly even a career.   I hope it went to the Big Ten office.

 What a cocksucker. Actually that’s an insult to cocksuckers. 

Reggie Dunlop

February 8th, 2019 at 3:49 PM ^

I'll just throw this in here:

I just stopped by a Wisconsin forum out of curiosity. I was actually surprised to see the number of Badger fans telling it like it is. Most saying that it was probably intentional and he needs to knock that crap off.

Of course, there are always some wearing the team blinders. But overall, this was a good look from the Wisconsin fans. Hopefully, that's the last nonsense we see from Davison.



February 8th, 2019 at 3:17 PM ^

I'm hoping Iggy uses his previous performance against Wisconsin as motivation to go all out and smoke the Badgers tomorrow. And if he does, you can bet he'll get Freshman of the Week for the 5th time with how well he did against Rutgers.

UM Fan from Sydney

February 8th, 2019 at 3:58 PM ^

Oh, fuck. I just saw from that picture of their starting line that Davison is only a sophomore. I have a feeling he will be yet another in a long line of white boy seniors. They seem to never want to leave Wisconsin early...that or they just are not good enough to be in the NBA.


February 8th, 2019 at 5:09 PM ^

Since our Bigs off the bench are, um, kind of useless, I'd have them hack away at Happ if calls are going against us in the paint ala @ Iowa. 

F it, take what the refs are giving you.



February 8th, 2019 at 7:24 PM ^

I did not believe that Iverson has missed 28 straight threes.  That had to be a typo.  Because who misses 15 straight and then keeps on shooting 13 more?!

Well, not only has he missed 28 straight, he missed the two before his last 28 for a total of 30 straight missed threes going back to his Soph year!!!

0-24 last year.  That has to be some kind of record for threes taken in a season without making one. My grandma could be blindfolded and make a three if given 24 chances.  That is blowing my mind right now.

Of course, he's gonna hit one tomorrow.


February 9th, 2019 at 2:20 AM ^

The weird thing is that he was 6/23 before his "recent" "slump."  He's now a cool 11.3% for his career from 3.

Even if you assume his true talent level is a 10% shooter, i's' still pretty impressive to miss 30 in a row.  96 times out of a hundred, you'd hit at least one just by chance. :)


February 9th, 2019 at 8:33 AM ^

Brad Davison can choke on a bag of dicks. I've got no respect for his game. He's trash and the program that supports that kind of play is trash. Fuck Wisconsin. Go Blue.