Not entirely related, but this needs to be the intro (via MGoVideo):
DON'T LET ANYBODY COME IN YOUR HOUSE, PLAY HARDER THAN YOU PLAY, AND BEAT YOU. When Cazzie Russell says such things in "The House That Cazzie Built" (or is that now "The Center That Cazzie Built"?) you listen. Michigan listened.
The Wolverines narrowly defeated Northwestern at home last night in an ugly, ugly game, but on Sunday they put on perhaps their finest performance of the season in crushing Wisconsin, 59-41, to end a 10-game losing skid against the Badgers. I'm still not sure how often I can do these while still providing the proper amount of recruiting coverage, but I did UFR the game, and not only that, but this time I actually covered both offense and defense.
So, today is the debut of the basketball defensive UFR. It it likely fraught with errors and oversights, so as always I encourage the basketball coaches/junkies to please tell me what I'm doing wrong in the comments. The setup is much the same as the offensive UFR in that it tracks shot creation, but this time it's all about preventing good looks instead of creating them. Rebounding is mostly tracked in more traditional stats, so that is mostly ignored unless a player makes a particularly strong effort to haul in a rebound and prevent what would otherwise be an easy putback opportunity.
I made little effort to try and figure out what Wisconsin was trying to run on each offensive set, as doing so would've put the ETA on this post at sometime around the 32nd of Neverary. Instead, possessions are broken down as either half-court (HC) or fast break (FB). Defensive set is charted as usual, noting whether Michigan is in man, 1-3-1, or defending the fast break (the Wolverines did not break out any 2-3 this game, something they rarely do anyway). Without further ado, here's chart the first, broken into sections whenever Michigan makes a lineup change:
|Lineup: Burke, Novak, Hardaway, Smotrycz, Morgan|
|After running the shot clock down to 10 seconds (this is Wisconsin, remember), point guard Jordan Taylor runs a high screen with center Jared Berggren. Burke (+0.5) and Morgan both hedge hard, forcing Taylor to pass off to Berggren in the corner. Berggren gives back to Taylor, who tries to hit Mike Bruesewitz under the basket, but Morgan has fallen back into the lane—at first he's not looking for the entry pass, but recovers in time to deflect the pass (+1.5), and Novak collects the loose ball, but...|
|...Novak can't hold onto the ball cleanly, and it's stolen. Ryan Evans gets a pass with an open lane to the hoop, goes up for the dunk, and is fouled from behind by Morgan, preventing the basket (+0.5, dunk/layup, late contest, foul). Evans misses both free throws.|
|Wisconsin dumps the ball into Berggren, guarded by Morgan, on the left block. Berggren fakes to the middle of the key and spins to the baseline, beating Morgan (-1), who can only put his hands up and force him further baseline. Smotrycz (+2) slides over from the other side of the key for a well-timed double-team, then gets a great contest when Berggren tries a Dream Shake—he can't connect on a short, but tricky, hook shot (2-pt, heavy contest, miss).|
|Ryan Evans ends up with the ball on the right wing, and he's clearly looking to get the ball to Berggren on the block. Morgan (+1) does a great job of fronting him and denying any chance at an entry pass. Evans doesn't even try, instead doing a quick ball fake that creates some space against Smotrycz (-0.5). Evans misses a long two as Smotrycz recovers to get a late contest (2-pt, late contest, miss).|
|Fantastic defense from Burke here. Taylor spends the entire possession trying to post him up, but Burke holds strong, eventually forcing Taylor to receive the pass near the baseline 15 feet away from the basket. Taylor backs him down, but Burke forces Taylor to try a fadeaway from just inside the FT line and gets a hand right in his face—the shot doesn't even draw iron (Burke +2, 2-pt, heavy contest, miss).|
|Bruesewitz, whose name really sucks to have to spell out multiple times, gets matched up with Novak and posts him up. Novak (+1) does a great job forcing him away from the basket, and he catches the pass just a couple feet inside the 3-pt arc. Bruesewitz starts to back towards the basket, and Hardaway (+0.5) comes over for solid double-team. Bruesewitz travels trying to get a pass off.|
|Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Hardaway, Novak, Smotrycz|
|Michigan breaks out the 1-3-1 for the first time, and initially all Wisconsin can do is swing the ball around the perimeter. They flood the middle of the zone with two players, however, and Smotrycz (-1) strays too far from the middle. Bruesewitz finds Evans open with space in the middle of the lane, and he takes it over Novak—who has the backside and is caught between Evans in the key and Taylor up top—for a short runner (2-pt, late contest, make).|
|Great team defense here as Wisconsin simply can't find an opening. Eventually, Taylor gets a screen up top with 8 seconds on the clock, Burke fights past it as Hardaway (+0.5) also shows before falling back to his man. Taylor drives left and pulls up just inside the arc, missing the long two as Burke gets a hand right in his face (Burke +1.5, 2-pt, heavy contest, miss).|
|Wisconsin again works the ball around the arc for about 20 seconds, then Josh Gasser drives into the lane against Hardaway (-0.5), who's initally beaten, but Novak (+1) steps up and stops the penetration. Douglass (-1), guarding Ben Brust at the top of the key, takes a peek into the lane, and Brust cuts behind him into the lane, drawing three defenders and passing off to an open Berggren. Smotrycz recovers to get a late contest, but Berggren should've hit the relatively open look from 12 feet (2-pt, late contest, miss).|
|Taylor takes a pick on the elbow that draws both Burke and Novak. He dishes off to Rob Wilson in the corner as Hardaway (+0.5) rotates over nicely—Novak (+0.5) falls back and picks up Hardaway's man in the opposite corner. Wilson drops it off to Berggren on the block. He tries backing down Smotrycz (+2), can't get any closer, and bricks a baby hook with Smotrycz right in his face (2-pt, heavy contest, miss). Great on-ball defense from Smotrycz there, and M doing a fantastic job of showing on picks and not giving Taylor any room to maneuver.|
|Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Vogrich, Smotrycz, Morgan|
|Lots of confusion here. Wisconsin runs a high pick and roll and Smotrycz hedges hard, as he's clearly been coached to do on Taylor in this game. Smotrycz (-1) then slides back into the post, but Morgan is already there. Morgan is now confused about who to guard and is way late getting out to Josh Gasser, who is all alone behind the arc. Wisconsin swings it to Gasser, who fakes baseline, gets Morgan to bite, and takes it strong to the hoop, finishing with the left before help can arrive (Morgan -1, dunk/layup, late contest, make). I could be wrong, but I think Smotrycz wasn't supposed to drop back into the post since he's now the 4, but Morgan also has to do a better job staying between his man and the basket.|
|Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Vogrich, Smotrycz, McLimans|
|Wisconsin again runs the high P&R, but McLimans (+1) does a solid job of getting out on Taylor and then recovering to his man. Wisconsin ends up dumping it down to Ryan Evans, who's posting up McLimans on the right block. McLimans stymies Evans, who pivots around looking for somewhere to dump the ball to. Smotrycz (-2) comes over to double, but he's way late and has to scramble back out when Evans gives to his man, Gasser, who fakes the shot and easily gets the lane. The defense has to collapse down, and Gasser finds Bruesewitz in the corner for an open three (3-pt, late contest, make).|
|11:45||10-7||HC||Man||McLimans||3-pt Miss/OReb/Layup Miss/OReb/3-pt Make|
|Bruesewitz gets the ball on the block against McLimans (-1) in great position—McLimans lets him establish his spot way too deep in the lane. Vogrich collapses down to help and Douglass swings over to Vogrich's man, who gets the pass from Bruesewitz and swings it around the perimeter. Michigan is scrambling, Burke (-2) rotates down low to Evans, who McLimans has covered, and Taylor ends up with an open look from three, but he misses (3-pt, late contest, miss). Smotrycz (-1) doesn't block out Bruesewitz, who grabs the board, misses a very tough putback (dunk/layup, heavy contest, miss), gets his own rebound, and passes out to Ben Brust, who is all alone up top for a three (3-pt, no contest, make). Douglass gets a -1 for being the fifth(!) M defender in the lane on the second putback attempt, leaving the perimeter entirely unguarded.|
|Nothing Burke can do here as Taylor is out in front after stealing a Smotrycz pass near halfcourt. Taylor breezes in for a layup, and Burke smartly doesn't try to contest—he's too far back to do anything but give up an and-1 (dunk/layup, no contest, make).|
|Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Vogrich, Novak, McLimans|
|Let's follow Novak here. First he hedges nicely on a P&R up top, then drops back to Bruesewitz, his original man. Wisconsin swings it to Gasser on the elbow as Bruesewitz tries to establish post position on Novak, but Novak drives him nearly out to the 3-pt line. He bails on posting up, takes a handoff, and passes back out to the top of the key. Bruesewitz, with Novak still on him, ends up with the ball at the opposite elbow, gives to Taylor in the corner, then sets a pick with 8 seconds on the play clock. Novak (+3) hedges hard on Taylor as Burke fights through the screen, and Taylor's pass goes through Bruesewitz's hands and out of bounds. GRIT.|
|Taylor runs another high P&R that Burke initially is caught up in, but McLimans (+1) does a great job of getting out on Taylor and forcing him into the corner, where Burke gets over to recover as McLimans settles back into the post. Wisconsin works it around the arc while putting Burke (+2) through a series of off-ball screens, which he does a great job of fighting through and staying with Taylor. Taylor ends up with the ball up top and the clock winding down, drives left with Burke right in his pocket, and hits a tough pull-up jumper with Burke's hand nearly on the ball (2-pt, heavy contest, make). Unless he's two inches taller, there's no way Burke can play this any better.|
|Burke (-1) is way late getting back after missing an ill-advised layup attempt on the other end. Taylor takes advantage of having an extra man by driving hard into the middle at McLimans, which draws Vogrich and also, unnecessarily, Douglass (-1), who leaves Gasser open for three. He misses (3-pt, late contest, miss). Novak (+0.5), being Novak, gets a good blockout and then dives for the loose rebound, but he's tied up on the floor and Wisconsin maintains possession.|
|Lineup: Brundidge, Douglass, Hardaway, Novak, Smotrycz|
|Brundidge with an early cameo, and he acquits himself well, fighting through several off-ball screens and sticking right with his man. Evans ends up taking on Hardaway one-on-one, and Hardaway trips over Evans's foot (no minus for that unlucky break). Evans can't hit the now-wide-open long two (2-pt, no contest, miss), and Brundidge (+1.5) hauls down a really tough board between three guys. One point for the rebound and a half-point for strong off-ball defense.|
|Evans posts up Douglass on the left block and backs him into the middle of the lane, but Douglass (+1) doesn't give up any ground to the bigger player. Evans tries to put up a turnaround jumper anyway, and it rims out (2-pt, heavy contest, miss).|
|Taylor pushes the pace (no, seriously) after a Michigan miss and attempts to drive on Douglass, but Stu (+1) stays right in front of him and Taylor has to back out. Taylor passes to Berggren on the block, who tries to back down Novak (+1), but Novak holds strong and Berggren misses a contested turnaround fadeaway (2-pt, heavy contest, miss). Smotrycz (+0.5) gets up for a tough rebound in a crowd.|
|Brundidge (-0.5) gets called for a reach-in foul, and we go to a timeout.|
|Lineup: Burke, Akunne, Hardaway, Novak, Smotrycz|
|Evans gets the ball on the block and is closely guarded by Novak. Brust cuts to his side of the court, losing Smotrycz (-1), gets the ball, and drives to the paint, where it looks like he has space as Smotrycz overcommits at the arc. Novak (+1) smartly steps up and cuts off the drive, however, and Brust tosses a pass out of bounds. Nice play by Novak, but Akunne (-1) left Gasser wide open 10 feet from the basket—if the pass is on target, this is probably an easy bucket.|
|5:56||19-14||HC||Man||Smotrycz||3-pt Miss/OReb/2-pt Make|
|Wisconsin sets a double screen for Taylor at the top of the key, and though Burke (+0.5) stays right with Taylor, Smotrycz (-2.5) drops back into the lane despite the fact that his man, Berggren, has popped out to the 3-pt line. Akunne (+0.5) hauls ass to close out but can't get there to really contest, but Berggren misses (3-pt, late contest, miss). Smotrycz can't even haul in the rebound as Gasser beats him to the spot. Wisconsin resets, Gasser cuts to the top of the key and loses Akunne (-1), then drives to the free throw line and hits a runner (2-pt, late contest, make).|
|Wisconsin again sets that double screen for Taylor, and this time he drives, but Burke (+1) stays right with him and forces a tough pullup J as Smotrycz (+1) also comes over to contest (2-pt, heavy contest, miss). Berggren brings in the rebound after it bounces out of the lane. Berggren eventually gets it in the post, where Smotrycz has him covered, then he throws it out of bounds when Taylor zigs and he expects a zag.|
|Wisconsin works it over to Rob Wilson, who tries to back down Novak (+1) into the lane but can't make any progress. Wilson tries to slip a pass to a cutting Taylor but Burke (+2) is right there and pokes the ball away. Hardaway dives for the loose ball and is called for a questionable foul when he collides with Taylor, who was also diving for it. Let them play, IMO. TV timeout.|
|Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Hardaway, Novak, Smotrycz|
|Taylor drives to the baseline and has a half-step on Burke (-0.5), but Novak (+1) is there to cut off the drive. Evans, Novak's man, pops out towards the arc and gets the pass from Taylor, but Smotrycz (+1) slides over to contest, and he misses a long two (2-pt, heavy contest, miss).|
|Taylor ends up with the ball on the wing, tries to drive into the lane, and is stymied by Burke, forcing Taylor to pass back out top as the shot clock approaches 10. Taylor gets the ball right back and tries to get up a quick three over Burke (+2), but Burke blocks it (not credited in the box score, but Taylor doesn't airball by 3 feet if it isn't) (3-pt, heavy contest, miss). Ball to Michigan, which draws some legitimate protests from the Badgers.|
|2:26||23-16||HC||Man||Smotrycz||2-pt Make + Foul (1/1)|
|After Smotrycz and Burke (+0.5) stymie a high P&R for Taylor, Berggren ends up posting up Smotrycz on the left side of the lane. Smotrycz (-1) lets him get into the middle of the lane just outside the charge circle, and Berggren makes a righty baby hook as Smot fouls him on the other arm (2-pt, heavy contest, make + foul). Novak (-0.5) is late coming over to help, btw.|
|Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Hardaway, Novak, McLimans|
|Wisconsin can't do anything on this possession, thanks to great off-ball D by McLimans (+1) and Douglass (+0.5), who both fight off screens and blow up whatever play the Badgers planned on running. Taylor has to create himself with 10 seconds left on the clock. He gets a screen from Berggren and both Burke and McLimans hedge hard again. Burke (+1.5) stays right with Taylor and McLimans falls back, Taylor drives to the free-throw line and has to settle for a tough pull-up with Burke's hand in his face (2-pt, heavy contest, miss).|
|Taylor and Berggren run that high P&R, and with McLimans (+0.5) hedging on Taylor and stopping the drive as he's supposed to, Novak has to fall back off his man Evans briefly to stop any potential pass into the lane. Douglass (-0.5) rotates over onto Evans but drops back to his man, who's positioned himself for an open corner three, just as Taylor gives to Evans all alone up top. McLimans has recovered to his man, but Novak (-1) is way late getting back out on Evans, who luckily bricks the open two (2-pt, late contest, miss). This could be more on Douglass. Basketball people, let me know in the comments. Also, Burke (+0.5) impressively comes flying in for the rebound after it's tipped off the backboard by a sea of hands.|
|Lineup: Burke, Novak, Hardaway, Smotrycz, Morgan|
|This play looks to be designed to get Evans the ball in the post, but Novak (+1) does a great job of fronting and denying the ball. Taylor instead gives to Gasser, who gets separation from Smotrycz (-0.5) with a simple ball-fake and move to the baseline. Smotrycz recovers to get a late contest of the long two, which misses (2-pt, late contest, miss). Smot is not quick, and this play really exposes his slow feet even though no points come as a result.|
|Nice job by Hardaway here. Evans gets the ball in the post against Smotrycz, and Hardaway comes over to double on the baseline, then gets all the way back up top by the time Wisconsin can swing it around to Gasser, his original man. Gasser tries to drive left, but Hardaway doesn't charge out too hard and is able to stay with him step-for-step, forcing Gasser to pivot and try a fadeaway that Hardaway contests (2-pt, heavy contest, miss). To top it off, Hardaway (+2.5) then jumps over everyone to pull down the rebound.|
|Taylor gives it up initially, goes through a screen in the middle of the lane that Burke fights through, and ends up getting the ball in the left corner as Wisconsin clears out for him. Taylor doesn't attempt to drive and instead just shoots a long two, and Burke (+1) has his hand right there to contest (2-pt, heavy contest, miss). Not a great shot from Taylor, but Burke has been all over him all game. Unfortunately, Morgan (-1) grabs the rebound but doesn't keep the ball high and has it slapped off his leg and out of bounds.|
|Evans tries to post up Smotrycz, but Smotrycz (+1.5) pushes him out near the perimeter and slaps the entry pass out of bounds. After the inbounds, Hardaway (+1) does a great job denying on a designed backdoor cut, Wisconsin is forced to reset, and Smotrycz stays right with Evans as he drives, pulls up, and misses from the FT line (2-pt, heavy contest, miss). This time Morgan securely hauls in the rebound.|
|Taylor gets a pick up top and is hounded by both Burke (+1) and Morgan (+1), drives to the baseline and has to stop there and pick up his dribble. Taylor passes inside to Berggren, where Morgan has recovered to pick him up, and Berggren gives back out to Taylor, who jacks up a contested three (3-pt, heavy contest, miss). Novak (-1) loses Evans under the basket and doesn't box out, then Smotrycz (-0.5) picks up a foul pushing Evans in the back to prevent an offensive rebound. Smotrycz was put in a very tough position, but that's also his critical third foul early in the second half. Now he has to come out.|
|Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Hardaway, Novak, Morgan|
|Taylor curl-cuts off a screen on the left elbow, but Burke (+1.5) hangs right with him while going over the top of the pick. Wilson passes to Taylor, and Hardaway, who's guarding Wilson at the top of the key, cheats in to try to steal and then collapses down on Taylor. With Burke in good position, I don't think this is the right move, as Burke has the drive covered and Hardaway (-2) leaves Wilson wide open. Taylor kicks it out and Wilson bricks the uncontested three (3-pt, no contest, miss). Again, great D by Burke, but THJ gets a little greedy.|
|Michigan initially stymies the Wisconsin offense, forcing Taylor to desperately drive with the clock under 10. As he gets near the lane, Burke (+1) completely cuts him off with help from Novak (+0.5), but Morgan (-1.5) is also looking in and loses track of Evans, his man. Douglass (+0.5) has to switch and guard Evans, who's cutting to the basket, and this leaves Brust wide open for three. Brust has nobody near him when he gets the pass from Taylor, but his shot comes up short and draws front iron (3-pt, no contest, miss). Evans pulls in the rebound over Morgan and gets it back out top. Wisconsin eventually gets it in to Berggren in the post, and Novak (+2) sneaks over and rips the ball away from him.|
|Douglass (+1) fights through multiple off-ball screens, seamlessly executes a switch with Novak (+0.5), and gets out to cover Evans on a skip pass, forcing Wisconsin to reset. Taylor comes off a pick and passes to Bruesewitz, who hits a three with Hardaway (+0.5) right in his face (3-pt, heavy contest, make).|
|Novak pulls a seamless switch with Douglass (+0.5) on an off-ball screen, ending up on Traevon Jackson on the wing. Jackson drives baseline and tries to get a shot over Novak, but Novak slaps the ball away on the way up (not credited as a block in the box score, so no shot chart, but Jackson was clearly trying to shoot). The ball goes off the side of the backboard and back to Jackson, who goes back up with it and can't bank in a tough 10-footer over Novak (+2, 2-pt, heavy contest, miss).|
|13:44||32-22||HC||Man||Hardaway||2-pt Miss/OReb/Foul (1/2)|
|Taylor runs a high P&R, Burke (+0.5) and Morgan hedge well again, and Taylor is forced to throw a skip pass to Wilson in the opposite corner. Hardaway (+1), who had come down into the paint to help out on Morgan's man, gets back out and almost gets a hand on the ball as Wilson chucks a long two at the end of the shot clock. It misses (2-pt, heavy contest, miss). Wisconsin's Kaminsky grabs the board as he gets position on Morgan (-0.5, getting a half-point credit for his D on the P&R). Wilson ends up with the ball on the wing, drives against Novak, and picks up a really ticky-tack foul as he shoots while flying out of bounds (2-pt, late contest, foul).|
|Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Hardaway, Novak, McLimans|
|Wilson gets the ball up top as Wisconsin can't do anything with the first 20 seconds of the shot clock. He hesitates, then drives, getting a half-step on Douglass, but Stu recovers and with help from Novak (+0.5) contests Wilson's runner (2-pt, heavy contest, miss). Hardaway (-1) forgets to block out, Bruesewitz grabs the rebound, and Douglass (+2.5) bails him out by stealing the ball clean as Bruesewitz comes down with it.|
|Jackson has the ball up top and gives to Bruesewitz, who drives by McLimans (-1) into the paint as Jackson sets a screen on Hardaway, who switches with Douglass, on the opposite side of the court. Douglass (-1) is caught in no-man's land because of the penetration, but doesn't make a move to Bruesewitz or back outside to Jackson. He pays for his indecision as Jackson gets the ball and drains a three right over him (3-pt, late contest, make).|
|Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Hardaway, Novak, Morgan|
|Jackson gets the ball on the wing and looks to dump it into Bruesewitz in the post, but Novak (+0.5) fronts well and denies. Jackson then drives to the middle against Hardaway (-0.5) and gets a step, but Douglass (+1) rotates over quickly. Jackson panics when he sees Douglass and zips a hurried pass into the Wisconsin bench. Bo Ryan is not amused.|
|Berggren posts up Morgan near the baseline, about five feet outside the lane, and Wisconsin clears out for him. Berggren backs down to the edge of the paint, where Novak (+0.5) comes over to cut him off, but Hardaway (-1) cheats down and loses Bruesewitz, who's all alone for three up top. He misses (3-pt, late contest, miss), but Berggren gets the board over Douglass after Morgan (-1) doesn't block him out. HOWEVA, Douglass (+2) bats the ball away from Berggren and Burke collects the loose ball, starting a break the other way.|
|Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Hardaway, Smotrycz, Morgan|
|Taylor gets the ball up top and unexpectedly pulls up for three, hitting it just over Burke, who contested well (Burke +0.5, 3-pt, heavy contest, make). Nothing you can do about that.|
|Bruesewitz has the ball up top while Taylor sets a screen of sorts (he more just gets in the way) on Morgan away from the ball. Morgan (-1) is very slow to recognize this and has to switch with Burke, who's now stuck on the much-bigger Evans. Evans sees this and goes right at Burke (-1), who flails at the ball instead of getting between Evans and the basket, and Evans hit a layup before help can arrive (dunk/layup, late contest, make).|
|Lineup: Burke, Douglass, Hardaway, Novak, Smotrycz|
|Michigan does a great job sticking with their men and not giving any openings, especially Burke (+0.5) on Brust, who went through a couple off-ball screens. Wisconsin has to run the clock down to 12, not ideal in this situation, when Evans gets the ball on the wing and puts up an 18-footer over Smotrycz. He hits it (2-pt, heavy contest, make), but Michigan will absolutely take that possession in this situation.|
|When people say Stu Douglass is M's best perimeter defender, this is what they're talking about. He starts man-up on Taylor up top, comes over a screen, the smartly rotates over to Bruesewitz as Novak picks up Taylor. Bruesewitz gets the pass as Douglass is running over and tries to cut back the opposite way, but Douglass (+3) knocks the ball away with his left hand. Douglass and Bruesewitz dive for it, so of course Zack Novak (+1) also hits the floor and grabs the loose ball. He'll get more points for this on the offensive UFR, as he then flips the ball to Burke for a breakaway layup.|
|Taylor gets the ball off a sideline inbounds after a bizarre review of the previous play. Wisco is now in desperation mode, so Taylor just runs up the court, pulls up at the FT line, and buries a jumper over Douglass (2-pt, heavy contest, make). That's just a great shot.|
|Taylor dribbles upcourt and launches a three from well beyond the arc as soon as he gets up the floor, missing all but the backboard (3-pt, no contest, miss). Morgan (+1) boxes out Evans perfectly to grab a tough rebound.|
|Douglass (+2) picks Taylor's pocket as he comes across halfcourt, then is fouled by Taylor as he tries to reel the ball in. It's a parade to the free-throw line for Michigan from here on out, so charting ceases.|
Well, that was fairly dominant.
Indeed it was. Wisconsin couldn't get anything going, mostly thanks to fantastic perimeter defense from Michigan, especially against Jordan Taylor and the high pick-and-roll. The Badgers tried to free up Taylor on most of their plays, and he just never found any space. Take a bow, Trey Burke.
You might want to mention Novak and Douglass as well.
I might go into a GRIT-spasm in doing so, but sure thing. Novak is so incredibly sound on defense that I think his contributions on that end might actually be underrated. He's remarkably good at denying the ball against the post-up despite being all of 6'4". He doesn't get lost on switches, sticks to his man like glue off the ball, and is strong on the ball, as well. He is all of the grit, and that's why we love him.
As for Douglass, he's not the quickest guy out there, but like Novak he's usually in the right spot. He looked just fine when he ended up on Jordan Taylor, and was just as effective when playing against bigger guards. Then he comes up with five steals, and those aren't by accident—he knows just the right time to reach in and poke the ball out, and often does so when he sneaks up for a quick double that the ballhandler doesn't see coming. He picks his spots well. When you wonder why coaches love having seniors on the squad, it's not just because they provide leadership—the on-court benefits of experience are very apparent when watching Novak and Douglass play.
What about the bigs?
The scores for the big men aren't nearly as high as the guards, but I didn't think they were bad, at least not Morgan. Morgan had to hedge hard on a lot of high screens, and he did a very good job with it, as evidenced by Taylor's lack of production and inability to get off a decent pass despite Michigan constantly bringing two players out on him after picks. He did get out of position at times in the post, but for the most part I thought he was solid. The lack of a ton of positive points, I think, comes from him not making a lot of big plays (read: blocks) and me not factoring rebounding in heavily.
Smotrycz, well, is a work-in-progress. He looks lost out there more than any other player, and he's not athletic enough to make up for being out of position. The fouling is also a big issue—he goes for the ball a lot, but doesn't pick his spots well like Douglass, so he gets hit with a lot of reach-ins and the like when they're entirely unnecessary. When he's defending the ball in the post, however, he's actually pretty decent. That extra size he added this year is beneficial.
Enough talk. Let's go to the...
|Defensive Shot Prevention|
|Burke||20||4.5||15.5||Did a fantastic job on Taylor, holding him to a stat line of 12 points on 5-15 shooting and just one assist to three turnovers. His quickness makes up for a lot of his freshman mistakes on the defensive end, and he's surprisingly strong for his size, though he's still caught out of position at times.|
|Hardaway||6.5||5||1.5||Not an outstanding game from Hardaway defensively. Guards can take advantage of his lack of a quick first step, and THJ often gets burned when he tries to make a big play on defense instead of staying positionally sound.|
|Novak||18.5||2.5||16||Almost never in the wrong place, and at this point in his career he's entirely comfortable playing against bigger guys in the post. Simply GRIT-tastic.|
|Smotrycz||8||11||-3||To be blunt, Smotrycz's lack of athleticism really hurts him on this end of the floor, and it doesn't help that he seems to get confused fairly often about where he's supposed to be. I was actually impressed by his ability to hold up in the post, but his off-ball defense needs work.|
|Morgan||5||7||-2||I didn't really think Morgan had a bad game, but Wisconsin mostly stayed away from posting him up, instead choosing to go at Novak and Smotrycz. Spent most of his day hedging on picks, which he did pretty well.|
|Douglass||15||4.5||10.5||I see Douglass catching a lot of flak, but the talk of him being a very good perimeter defender isn't BS. Like Novak, he's rarely out of position, and he's learned to use his length to stay in front of quicker guards. Also has quick hands and knows when to go for the steal, and, just as importantly, when not to.|
|Akunne||.5||2||-1.5||Is Eso Akunne.|
|Christian||-||-||-||Got in for one minute after charting ceased.|
|Vogrich||-||-||-||Played very little during the meat of the game and didn't have a major impact either way.|
|McLimans||3.5||2||1.5||Not too shabby for being the third-string center. Did quite well defending the pick-and-roll, but still isn't strong enough to hold up well in the post.|
|Team||-||-||-||The team metric has been eliminated, since it was pretty much a cop-out for when I couldn't figure out where to give individual credit. This will be gone next time.|
|TOTAL||77||38.5||38.5||The exact 2:1 ratio was not intentional, but pretty cool, right? A strong positive number makes sense given that Michigan held the Badgers to just .76 points per possession and a 38.2 eFg% while forcing turnovers on 22.2% of their possessions.|
As you can see, the big standouts were Burke, Novak, and Douglass. Novak's tiny negative total came on a handful of -0.5s, while Douglass was a little more prone to making bigger mistakes that lead to baskets (same deal for Burke). Smotrycz obviously needs to improve on the defensive end, but it's really hard to criticize much about the defense after you look at the...
Jeez, I hear you, self. Shot chart.
|Man||-||2/2||0/1||0/1||1/5 (1F)||4/19 (1F)||1/4||2/5||2/4||1/5||5/12 (1F)||6/24 (1F)||12/41 (2F)|
|Fast Break||1/1||(1F)||-||-||-||-||-||0/1||-||1/1||0/1 (1F)||1/2 (1F)|
|TOTAL||1/1||2/2 (1F)||0/1||0/1||2/6 (1F)||4/19 (1F)||1/4||2/6||2/4||2/6||6/14 (2F)||6/24 (1F)||14/44 (3F)|
More like SHOT CHART OF DOOM.
Seriously, this is ridiculous. Well over half of Wisconsin's shots were heavily contested, and most of those came inside the arc but not close enough for a layup. The Badgers shot just four layups—plus a foul—all game (at least out of what was charted, which was the whole part that actually mattered). Yes, Wisconsin plays a brutally slow pace, but they still managed to chuck up 19 heavily contested two-pointers. I just... wow. I really didn't fudge this. That's just a fantastic defensive performance. The official box score shows Wisconsin—who shot a lot after charting stopped—finishing 16-51 from the field, a paltry 31.4%. They attempted all of five three throws. There was just nothing open.
NOTHING, I TELL YOU!
Nothing. Let's post some videos.
Trey Burke, yo:
Wisconsin tried everything with Jordan Taylor, and that included posting him up early against the smaller Burke. As you can see, that didn't work so well. Burke held up and Taylor couldn't get good position, then when Taylor finally got the ball, Burke was all up in his grill. If Burke was two inches taller, I think he ends up with three or four blocks.
Then there was Novak. Watch him through the entirety of this play, and you'll begin to understand what he brings to the defense:
That's tireless work against a much bigger player, fighting through screens and keeping up the pressure all while having an acute awareness of where he is relative to the ball. With the shot clock winding down, he executes a hard hedge on Taylor perfectly, and the other senior, Douglass, is in great position with his rotation in case the pass doesn't go out of bounds.
Just show that really awesome play already.
Really awesome play:
It speaks volumes that I'm a big fan Uncle Verne Lundquist despite the fact that he contributes to CBS's shameless shilling of the SEC (go away, Gary Danielson), and it's because he loses his mind at just the right moments. That was one of them. Also, check out Douglass's effort throughout the play. Just fantastic.
Burke, Novak, and Douglass, in case you just skipped to the very end and haven't read a word I wrote above.
Smotrycz? I guess? When your team chokes the life out of Wisconsin and six players get the vast majority of the minutes, there really are no goats.