Michigan 77, Iowa 71 (OT) Comment Count

Ace March 1st, 2018 at 6:16 PM

Moe Wagner "played" M's most critical minutes from the bench. [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

"I have no idea how we won the game," John Beilein said to BTN's Mike Hall.

Michigan didn't make a shot outside the paint until under ten minutes remained in the game. Their two best players, Moe Wagner and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, fouled out after playing 16 and 22 minutes, respectively. The Wolverines went 18-for-32 from the free-throw line. Players not named Duncan Robinson made zero of their ten three-point attempts while Iowa made four more shots from beyond the arc. Zavier Simpson took a late five-second call with the team clinging to a three-point lead. Jordan Bohannon sunk a dagger to send it to overtime not long thereafter.

With all that going against them, Michigan somehow found a way to pull out a 77-71 win over the pesky Hawkeyes to advance to the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals. It was about as un-Beilein a game that the Wolverines have won in recent memory. The vast majority of their offense came from attacking the basket, going 25-for-43 (58.1%) on two-pointers. Michigan's resulting shot chart is unlike any I remember from the Beilein era (via ESPN):

Layups and, uh, more layups.

Meanwhile, the defense bounced back from an uncharacteristically bad first half to shut down Iowa's offense for the duration, highlighted by an overtime session in which the Hawkeyes didn't hit a field goal after their opening possession. That allowed Michigan to ultimately pull away despite an unnerving number of missed free throws in the deciding period.

Part of what made this game so frustrating is that Wagner and MAAR were both excellent when they were on the floor. MAAR stuffed the stat sheet with nine points on nine shot equivalents, five rebounds, three assists, and two steals; Wagner had 11 points, made four of his six two-pointers, and had a gorgeous no-look assist to Charles Matthews. An enragingly tight whistle—the two teams combined for 46 fouls—prevented either player, and Michigan, from getting into a consistent rhythm, however. 

Matthews and Teske both came up big down the stretch. [Campredon]

Coming at just the right time, it was a get-right game for Charles Matthews. He led the team with 16 points, going 5-for-10 from the field and 6-for-10 from the line, and pulled down eight rebounds.

The supporting cast also picked up the slack. Robinson made three critical three-pointers, pulled down five boards, and came up with two steals while playing sturdy post defense. His counterpart at the four, Isaiah Livers, converted a few tough shots around the hoop to tally his most points (nine) since early January. Simpson converted five-of-nine two-pointers, frequently beating Bohannon off the dribble, grabbed a Waltonesque five defensive rebounds, and played his usual suffocating defense—Bohannon finished only 3-for-14 from the field. Jordan Poole had an up-and-down afternoon but did get a crucial steal and dunk in the second half. Like almost all of his teammates, he could finish at the hoop but didn't have his outside shot going.

Jon Teske's contributions were quite difficult to overlook. Iowa had a hard time converting at the rim with him patrolling the paint for 28 minutes; his two blocks and steal undersell his impact on defense. He did a lot more than come up with stops at the basket, including snatching a couple huge rebounds late and tapping another to Robinson while simultaneously sealing off Tyler Cook to effectively seal the game in overtime. While Teske struggled to actually put them back, he also grabbed a team-high four offensive rebounds. With Wagner unable to avoid whistles, Teske came up huge.

Michigan will hopefully get a few more threes to fall tomorrow afternoon in a tougher test against four-seed Nebraska. Even if they don't, though, they've found ways to win games anyway—plus, their two stars are impressively well-rested going into their second game in two days.

[Hit THE JUMP for the box score.]




March 1st, 2018 at 6:20 PM ^

Love the last caption. :)

Survive and advance.  Michigan's getting Nebraska's best shot tomorrow.  3/19 from 3 isn't likely to cut it.  Here's hoping the officials don't decide to inject themselves into the outcome and Michigan can find a little rhythm.

Go Blue!

Robbie Moore

March 1st, 2018 at 10:05 PM ^

I have no idea how we win that game. But Beilein beat me to it.

And is it just me or has quality of refereeing in all sports, college and pro, just gone to shit the past the past 10-15 years? As for basketball, can anyone explain to me what a foul is?


March 1st, 2018 at 7:44 PM ^

Ok, this ref conspiracy stuff always seems to go way over the ledge. "Gross incompetence" is both a more accurate and a more likely description of ref performance. It has several advantages, such as not requiring a massive felony conspiracy to execute, and fitting the facts on the ground.

The idea that the B1G is deliberately ordering referees to influence games so that one team wins and one team loses is absurd on the face, but we're going off-the-charts bananas if we assert that the reason for them to do so is to elevate another team into the NCAA tournament. Iowa is not going to the NCAA tournament without a win in the B1G tournament, full stop. This win would mean nothing for that. The B1G does, on the other hand, have Nebraska on the bubble--and it's in Nebraska's interest to beat Michigan in order to pad their resume. So if the B1G's intent were to increase the number of teams in the tournament, causing Michigan to lose would be exactly the wrong thing to do. 

Good old fashioned logical thinking suggests that the problem here is a roster of incompetent refs. Fits the facts just fine.

Stringer Bell

March 1st, 2018 at 8:23 PM ^

Those refs were more than merely incompetent.  Incompetence balances itself out.  Iowa was in the bonus before the god damn first TV timeout!  MAAR, who averages less than 2 fouls per 40 minutes, suddenly got called for touching a player and for about as clean of a tie up as you'll ever see.  These refs were corrupt and should be removed from the sport.


March 1st, 2018 at 8:54 PM ^

The foul totals did even out. The refs were terrible for both teams. Beilein and Fran were looking at each other like, "What the fuck is with these guys." They were a light contact crew on both ends. But fantastic conspiracy theories are more fun. I get it. 


March 2nd, 2018 at 7:28 AM ^

foul calls evened out, the impact on the game didn’t. Every, and I do mean every, 50-50 call went Iowa’s way. Some of the fouls that were called on Michigan were bizarre, and had a direct impact on the game remaining tight. I do not usually assume some kind of nefarious motivation to refs, but I do note that Iowa covered the spread in this game and that several calls at key times prevented this game from turning into a blowout-ish affair. It did seem like those guys were Iowa fans yesterday.


March 2nd, 2018 at 8:04 AM ^

Refs were bad but to those impyling there's some conspiracy theory, we had 14 more free throw attempts than Iowa despite the Hawkeyes being in the bonus for half the game. That being said, it doesn't make it any less frustrating to watch. 


March 2nd, 2018 at 9:31 AM ^

we had a lead at both the end of regulation and overtime.  Of course we had more free throws because Iowa was fouling intentionally for extended periods on two occassions.  Granted, we need to make more of those free throws, but the only reason we had a free throw advantage was because the refs kept the game close by calling fouls on our two best players everytime they touched an opposing player.  If that game is called straight up, there is no free throw disparity because the game is not close enough for Iowa to keep fouling and expect to make any sort of come back.  We played like shit, and we were still 15 points better than Iowa yesterday if the refs don't hack us.


March 2nd, 2018 at 2:39 PM ^

That's because every foul pre bonus on us was some garbage non shooting foul. Add in their missed front ends of 1 and 1s and their and 1s and how they only called fouls on iowa when they were hacking us while shooting and some end of game catch up fouling and its no wonder we had more free throws.


March 1st, 2018 at 10:43 PM ^

They were as bad as I can remember since a football game some time ago. It’s not the number of fouls it’s really the number of bullshit calls.

I try to adjust for my bias but it’s hard not to see this at the very least as incompetence. I don’t believe this is a directive from the top but somebody on that crew must fucking despise Michigan.

I keep waiting for the “we should reward John Beilein for being such a great guy” ref bias. I guess I will keep waiting.


March 1st, 2018 at 8:25 PM ^

Iowa had 2 less fouls called on them going into overtime and 6 less free throws.  They called a bunch of ticky tack shit, weren't all that consistent but they just sucked. Iowa shot 40 free throws the night before. Unless the Big ten decided that somehow Iowa winning the big ten conference was a good thing it makes no sense to think conspiracy and just makes the fanbase look dumb.  The refs sucked, they weren't throwing the game. 

Mi Sooner

March 1st, 2018 at 8:31 PM ^

That Iowa finished with 24 fouls to our 22. I bet if you tracked when the fouls were called, it wou;d correlate Iowa getting called very late in the game and OT.

No, I’m not going to look it up; the bottle o vino I’m consuming because of the game precludes that.

Stringer Bell

March 1st, 2018 at 8:53 PM ^

With how much we were attacking the rim we should've had a much greater foul advantage.  It's a very bizarre coincidence that our 2 best players happen to foul out in the same game, especially when one of them is notoriously foul averse.  Yeah, I'm calling bullshit.  Even worse was hearing the BTN shills agreeing with every call.  Who do they think they're fooling?


March 2nd, 2018 at 9:28 AM ^

with you Stringer.  That did not look like ordinary incompetence to me.  I don't know what their motivation was, maybe one of them just did not like Michigan or does not get along with Beilein, but the refs called that game for Iowa in every way possible.   People throwing out the foul totals to suggest otherwise don't understand that not all fouls are created equal.  Iowa got so many bail-out calls as well.  At least two flat out travels were called as fouls specifically for the refs to avoid having to call a travel.  We were lucky to get out of that monkey business with a win.  (And my good, do we ever need to start making free throws when, god forbid, we are the beneficiary of a foul call).


March 1st, 2018 at 6:32 PM ^

MAAR caught the ball after it went through, stepped out of bounds, and handed it off to Z out of bounds. The ref started counting when MAAR had the ball and went out, which is the correct call. You are allowed to pass to another player behind the baseline after a made basket, and the inbounds clock keeps running. I was always coached to pass the ball to the ref before looking up, which gaurantees the inbounds clock resetting. I have a feeling Beilein won't let that happen again.


March 2nd, 2018 at 9:39 AM ^

Come on man, I have seen countless times where michigan has ended up with a great look off an inbound play. I believe yesterday there were 5 seconds on the shot clock and Belien designed a play that got Duncan a wide open look for 3. The issue on this play was that MAAR picked it up, and (now I'm making an assumption here) probably forgot that Belein told them to make sure Z passes the ball in late in games so he doesn't have to shoot the free throws. Once MAAR realized what he had done and gave the ball to Z, Z didn't remember the rule, because it is so rare.


March 1st, 2018 at 7:16 PM ^

This is what I was looking at too. MAAR touched the ball to stop it from rolling into the crowd, and I don't have a problem starting the count at the touch, but that fifth second was SHORT.

Overall, if you start an actual timer at the time of MAAR's touch, it's well over the 5 seconds, but the ref's count is what matters, so the last one being about twice as fast as the first 4 is quite annoying.


March 1st, 2018 at 8:34 PM ^

If teams known for playing a "tough brand" of basketball (MSU comes to mind) had officiating like we/Iowa had today then those teams would lose a lot more than 3 games (MSU for example).  It is too bad that officials mostly adjust to the brand of basketball they expect instead of calling the rules as written and intended consistently so that all teams know what to expect every day.  Obvioulsy mistakes would still occur but at least teams/fans could not complain as much about officiating as seems the norm now-a-days across all sports (but especially NCAA).  Seems like refs would want fouls/penalities consistently called too so they do not look like fools a lot of times.  With today's day and age of technology it is pathetic that many game's outcomes come down to the refs who should have a mission to be consistent, unbiased, and basically invisible to how games are decided.