Michigan 74, Iowa 59 Comment Count

Alex Cook February 14th, 2018 at 9:38 PM


ANGRY DUNCAN [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

After a few early hiccups, Michigan coasted to a win over Iowa in what was its easiest game left on the regular season schedule. The Wolverines won with defense yet again, holding Iowa to 0.89 points per possession; Iowa’s profile is unique, as the Hawkeyes play very fast, crash the glass, and run their offense through a deep rotation of big men. Freshman center Luka Garza scored 22 points for Iowa, but the rest of the Hawkeyes struggled to varying degrees. Michigan’s two centers, Moritz Wagner and Jon Teske, had a combined seven steals.

Michigan’s two seniors led the team, with each scoring 18 points: Duncan Robinson made six three-pointers - including three in a row from the same spot of the floor in quick succession; Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman contributed seven assists without turning the ball over in addition to his scoring. Michigan initially struggled to get good looks against Iowa’s flimsy 2-3 zone - their first three possessions resulted a bad miss on a long two, a shot clock violation, and a live ball turnover - but eventually the Wolverines were able to create plenty of open shots.

After Iowa’s 9-2 run to open the game, Michigan outscored them 35-15 over the rest of the first half. Zavier Simpson was quiet and held scoreless on the night (though he had some terrific passes in the second half), so Jaaron Simmons provided a nice spark off the bench and finished with 5 points and 4 assists in his 12 minutes of playing time, the most he’s had since mid-December. That box score undersells his impact somewhat, as Simmons was a key part in turning the game into a track meet.

Michigan pushed the ball in transition frequently in the first half, and aside from some Charles Matthews misadventures (he finished with 10 points on 18 shot equivalents), the Wolverines were able to fly by the Iowa defense, even off of defensive rebounds. On one play, Teske grabbed the ball, and in one motion, turned and heaved the ball three quarters of the court to Jordan Poole, who hit both free throws after being fouled. Michigan’s teams tend to play at a slow pace, but John Beilein surely noticed how awful the Hawkeyes were at getting back after an empty possession. Abdur-Rahkman benefitted the most, getting layups and facilitating in the open floor.

After halftime, the Wolverine defense faltered a bit. They’d held Iowa to 0.66 points per possession in the first half; Robinson was able to stifle Tyler Cook, a powerful forward, and Iowa turned the ball over 12 times. After halftime, they scored efficiently - Garza hit several short corner jump shots from both sides of the floor - but Michigan was able to keep pace and Robinson’s three point barrage gave Michigan a comfortable lead that was sustained through the rest of the game. He was Michigan’s best player, and finished at a team-high +19.

Iowa eventually tried throwing a 1-3-1 and man-to-man looks at Michigan, but they didn’t really work either. Aside from Matthews, Michigan had an eFG% of 59% and they finished with 1.11 points per possession on the game. The Wolverines had more than twice as many offensive rebounds as Iowa did - even though the Hawkeyes entered the game as the top offensive rebounding team in the conference. Despite a poor game from Matthews, quiet performances from Isaiah Livers (who returned from injury), Simpson, and Poole, Michigan won comfortably. Robinson, Rahkman, and Wagner - who had some nice takes against Garza and finished with 14 points - scored nine fewer than Iowa’s entire team. Simmons and Teske played well.

Michigan’s now 21-7 (10-5) and probably one win away from locking up an NCAA Tournament game. The remaining three regular season contests are “Quadrant 1” or “Quadrant 2” games, meaning that their resume wouldn’t be negatively impacted much by losses. To the contrary, a home game against Ohio State and trips to Penn State and Maryland provide opportunities to inch up the seed line. The next game against the Buckeyes - perhaps the biggest surprise in all of college basketball - is a perfect opportunity to unseat them from their perch alone in first place in the Big Ten.



Box Score After the JUMP

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The Man Down T…

February 14th, 2018 at 9:52 PM ^

with pink shoes, they threw me at first.  Usually it's MAAR that wears them so when I see the pink shoes on the floor it's "Yay!!  MAAR is in!"  and when the guy with pink shoes has the ball I happily know that the man that we want to have the ball has it.  I pull up the game today and see that the dude with pink shoes has the ball but he's a tall white german looking dude..  Ummm.   Huh?  Then I realized they all had them.


As for the game, sloppy as heck start by both teams but the good guys came around and put it away handily like they should have.  On to OSU!!  Let's tear them a new one!


February 15th, 2018 at 8:44 AM ^

In a perfect world we beat Ohio State, but I still would rather be on their side of the bracket instead of MSU or Purdue.  I cringe saying this, but I hope they maintain the 1 seed.  Ohio State holds the tiebreaker over both of them, so it's looking like they'll get the 1, MSU and Purdue 2/3, Nebraska 4, and Michigan 5.


February 15th, 2018 at 8:44 AM ^

In a perfect world we beat Ohio State, but I still would rather be on their side of the bracket instead of MSU or Purdue.  I cringe saying this, but I hope they maintain the 1 seed.  Ohio State holds the tiebreaker over both of them, so it's looking like they'll get the 1, MSU and Purdue 2/3, Nebraska 4, and Michigan 5.


February 15th, 2018 at 10:50 AM ^

If you look at most of those years they faded hard down the stretch. In most cases around mid January they were looking like they would get a nice seed in the tourney. Come March though they were usually on the bubble just hoping to get into the tourney.

In 12/13 they started 11-2.  Finished the year 21-12 and made the NIT.

In 13/14 they started 15-3 (ranked 10th in the AP poll).  Finished the year 20-13, lost their first game in the BTT and lost in the play-in game of the ncaa tourney.

In 14/15 they started 13-5.  Finished the year 22-12, lost their first game in the BTT and went 1-1 in the NCAAs.

In 15/16 they started 16-3 (7-0 in the Big Ten) and were ranked 3rd in the AP poll.  Finished the year 22-11 (12-6), lost their first game in the BTT , won the play in game for the NCAA and they lost the next game.

Indy Pete - Go Blue

February 14th, 2018 at 11:39 PM ^

Great summary Alex! That may have been his best 2-way game in his career. Not only was he stroking the three with incredible efficiency, but he was very effective defensively. As you noted, his +/- was #1 on the team. He had two steals, and his long arms were creating loose balls left and right. His effort on defense has been good all season, but his execution today was at a new level. Also, when he nailed that third consecutive three, his angry tirade was phenomenal. You can see how much pent up frustration he has had. Watch out for angry Duncan!

Shop Smart Sho…

February 14th, 2018 at 10:11 PM ^

The last couple years the refrain has been that Wagner gets the worst whistle in the B1G. I think at this point it might be time to talk about Matthews not being able to buy a foul when he drives or when he's under the basket.  The sequence that really stands out is when he was stuck almost directly under the basket and got three shots off, but was magically never fouled. I honestly don't know that I've ever seen that without the offensive player getting fouled or at least bailed out by the refs because they just assume contact.



February 15th, 2018 at 1:42 AM ^

by guys, went up with it, it got blocked, he came down with the rebound, and went right back up and tried to shoot again over the same mob that blocked him the first time. 

Announcer was like, uh, maybe he should've tried to kick that out? He didn't have a bad point.  But yeah, would have been tough kicking out while surrounded but maybe try to bounce it off a guys foot.  Again, I wasn't that annoyed, because he did get the OREB in the first place, so it was kind of a free possession, but it was like maybe you try something other than what didn't work the first time?


February 15th, 2018 at 4:01 PM ^

He needs time to process and develop counters to what he is seeing and experiencing.  That'll probably happen over the summer to the degree that it will happen in college.  How big a jump he will make is impossible to know, but he seems like a player who scored based on athleticism and size only in high school and now has to learns necessary skills to score against players who are more his athletic and size equals.  I don't think he is a GRIII type of player because he has different skills and doesn't shoot the 3 very well.  If he hangs out in a corner, he'll just be ignored completely.  


February 14th, 2018 at 10:17 PM ^

Nice to see Michigan put together a pretty complete performance and easily handle an admittedly inferior team.

Feels like we're rounding into shape heading toward tournament time. 

Let's finish out a fantastic home season by beating the bucks!

Go Blue!


February 14th, 2018 at 10:23 PM ^

It was nice to see them in control for the last three or so quarters of the game. It was great to see Robinson shoot like that, of course, but I’m really happy to see Simmons play well too. It would be huge to have a solid option behind Simpson.


February 15th, 2018 at 10:37 AM ^

He must hit that 12-17 foot jumper at a high rate in practice because I'm shocked the coaches still let him shoot it.  It's probably time to shut it down.  They need to turn him into more of a GR3 in that he should be a secondary guy that gets OREBs and cuts to the hoop from the corners, and gets out on the break, but he shouldn't be a high usage guy.

Iowa is such a good matchup for us.  That they went with three bigs and played zone meant we could play good chunks of minutes with Duncan at the three and Livers at the four and sit Matthews.


February 15th, 2018 at 12:44 AM ^

I live in VA and cannot for the life of me stand the term Wahoo. If UVA loves it so much change the damn team names to Wahoos. So fucking irritating when a team called Cavaliers calls themselves Wahoos and a team called Tigers shouts war eagle.. Are you eagles or tigers? Cavs or Hoos? Freaking pick already.