Michigan 68, Rutgers 64

Submitted by Ace on February 22nd, 2017 at 8:45 PM

Let's review the keys to the game:

Win the game. A bubble team playing Rutgers has but one goal.

Mission accomplished, at least.

Whether due to the soporific venue, their fourth game in 11 days, the proximity to Rutgers basketball players, or simple bad luck, Michigan couldn't get their shooting going all evening. Only Zak Irvin managed to hit 50% from the field among the starters, and the Wolverines went only 10-for-31 from beyond the arc. Free throw shooting was an issue down the stretch for the second straight game.

Other than Rutgers also shooting poorly, this game didn't follow the script. Michigan outrebounded the Scarlet Knights, which entered the game as the Big Ten's best offensive rebounding team. Rutgers outscored the Wolverines 15-7 off turnovers. Irvin was Michigan's most reliable scorer. Derrick Walton struggled with his shot.

The final Rutgers possession was sufficiently Rutgers—an airballed three, a missed putback, and a Michigan rebound—for the Wolverines to survive. It's a conference road win, so the ugly nature of this game won't hurt Michigan in the eyes of the tournament committee. The Wolverines will get one last chance at a statement win on Saturday in the home finale against Purdue. Let's hope their shots are a little more homed in at the friendly confines of Crisler.

Comments

Blueblood2991

February 22nd, 2017 at 8:49 PM ^

Haha Rutgers you suck at everything! Oh wait...

laughing crying kristen bell

For whatever reason, this team can only do one thing right per game, and the rest falls off. Tonight it was rebounding, but we seemed to forget how to shoot 3's and FTs. Oh well, it's a road win.

Mongo

February 22nd, 2017 at 8:51 PM ^

Looked like Rutgers tightened the rims for UM coming to town. No kidding, they actually change rims for a shooting team like us. Shooter rims are coming back at cozy Crisler ...

B-Nut-GoBlue

February 22nd, 2017 at 8:58 PM ^

Just win the damn game.  That's all I cared about tonight.  Sloppy yes.  But I've mentioned already that's what a Rutgers will do to you.  Their defense is good and they are beyond feisty.  They just don't have the offense to truly make a team pay for the "forced" mishaps on its own offensive end.  I'll take it.  Only a few days off and a huge one. 

I almost wish we were home with NW and @ Purdue as that being the only home game left, it isn't looking good taking that one.  I'm leaning towards saying 1-2 down the stretch is probably okay after securing tonight's must-win.  It won't make us comfortable so, though. Taking next week and weekend's game would all but asure us a spot within the 10 seed line, probably no matter what happens in BTT.  Win a game or 2 in that and 8-9 seed (whoopy-do).

bronxblue

February 22nd, 2017 at 8:59 PM ^

Rutgers is going to be annoying forward, apparently.  They played NW really tough as well on the road, and they've played some good teams really tough (see going to OT against Wisconsin, were within 5 of Minnesota at home with under 2 minutes).  This was an ugly game, but I didn't expect Michigan to run away with it.  And this was the only game (save maybe Nebraska, and even that doesn't seem disastrous on the road) that Michigan could not afford to lose, and they did enough to win.  Plus, if they hit their foul shots at the end, it's a comfortable win.

ijohnb

February 23rd, 2017 at 9:26 AM ^

isn't what he is doing.  He is struggling so badly with his shot that he is attempting to think about it the least amount that he possibly can.  What Irvin is in right now is more than a "funk," he has the basketball equivalent of the yips.  He is probably legitimately surprised that it is possible for him to struggle as bad as he is right now.  He is a naturally gifted scorer whose game is betraying him.  Right now, when you see him shoot a free throw, he has such little confidence that he is going to make that he is trying to physically conquer his apprehension with casual motion, false confidence if you will. 

Truly, the only way for Irvin to get out of this is to keep shooting. Gradually, his shots are starting to look less like prayers by the game.  I think coming back to Crisler for the first time since he broke out a little against Wisconsin will do wonders for him, especially playing against Purdue who he played really well against last year at home.