[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Michigan 77, Rutgers 65 Comment Count

Alex Cook February 5th, 2019 at 11:54 PM

Michigan got off to a great start, maintained a comfortable lead throughout, and moved into sole possession of first place in the Big Ten with a win over Rutgers. Michigan’s offense got back on track with 1.17 points per possession, and the Wolverines shot 11-23 from behind the arc. Ignas Brazdeikis was matched up head-to-head against Rutgers’s best player, Eugene Omoruyi, and scored an efficient, game-high 23 points. Rutgers didn’t quit after falling down big in the first half, but they seemed to be a possession or two away from getting back in the game at a handful of points in the second half.

On the first possession of the game, Rutgers posted up Omoruyi on Iggy — and Iggy forced an airball on a hook (one of several airballed hooks from the Scarlet Knights); on Michigan’s first possession, Rutgers blew a switch on an Iggy ball screen and he got the three to roll in. Iggy scored on three of Michigan’s first four trips down the floor, then the Wolverines went on a 19-4 run over about seven minutes to build a huge lead midway through the half with dominant play on both ends of the floor. While there were some bright moments for Omoruyi and Myles Johnson in the first half for Rutgers, the Scarlet Knights often forced tough shots — particularly as they fell behind.

The decisive run started with an and-one bucket from Jon Teske off a pick and roll with Zavier Simpson, and Simpson found Jordan Poole with a beautiful outlet pass for a transition dunk. Poole knocked down a three. Charles Matthews had a fantastic stretch: he hit both free throws after getting fouled on a baseline out of bounds play, and then he drilled a wing three, had an impressive help side block on Geo Baker, and made one of his baseline fades out of a post-up on consecutive plays, prompting a Rutgers timeout. Shortly after that, Simpson got one of his running sky hooks to fall from a difficult angle over a decent contest late in the shot clock.

Another Simpson layup with 4:17 left in the first half pushed Michigan’s lead back to 17, but Rutgers responded: a quick 8-0 run with a Peter Kiss three, a Montez Mathis layup off a Simpson turnover, and a step-back Geo Baker three over Jon Teske — his only made shot of the game — kept Rutgers from getting run out of the building. Baker, Rutgers’s leading scorer and main source of their offense, had a rough night with Simpson as his primary defender; Simpson posted a 14-7-7 stat line and controlled the game as the maestro of the Michigan offense.

The outcome of the head-to-head matchup between Iggy and Omoruyi was less decisive, though Michigan’s star freshman outplayed his former prep school teammate (and got the victory). Rutgers fed Omoruyi when he was isolated on the block, and while Iggy often defended the burly forward well — denying the ball, forcing catches far from the hoop, and walling up to alter several shots — Omoruyi still finished with 21 points (though it took him 20 shot equivalents to get there). On the other end, Iggy’s three-point shooting was excellent (5-9), and Michigan looked to him on effective pick-and-pop action with Simpson as the ball-handler. Iggy’s 23 points came on just 15 shot equivalents.

Both teams missed plenty of shots to open the second half, but a nice sequence from Rutgers’s freshman wing Montez Mathis — who assisted on an Omoruyi layup, made a three, and found Shaquille Doorson for a dunk off a slipped screen on consecutive trips down the floor — cut Michigan’s lead to seven with 15 minutes left to go. Teske missed a three, but Rutgers turned it over on a clumsy post possession, Simpson made both free throws after getting fouled in transition, and Iggy hit an open three to push the lead back to 12. The margin oscillated between about 8 and 12 for the rest of the game. Rutgers had the ball down eight a few times down the stretch, but those trips ended with bad plays from Baker.

After its worst performance of the season, Michigan played well and won on the road against a tough — if not particularly skilled — opponent. Iggy was an essential player on both ends: he shot the ball well, attacked when given opportunities without forcing shots, and gave a strong defensive effort against Omoruyi. While it wasn’t a great defensive performance overall against a mediocre offense, the Wolverines shot well from three-point range for the first time in about a month and that was more than enough. Michigan seeks to avenge its first loss against Wisconsin on Saturday.

[Box score after the JUMP]

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February 6th, 2019 at 12:14 AM ^

But I thought we had forgotten how to shoot.

My only problem with this game is that last three the guy hit at the buzzer put Michigan behind UVA in kenpom AdjDefEff by one tenth of a point.

Beat the Badgers.


February 6th, 2019 at 12:16 AM ^

Michigan's defense is now #2 in the country, dropping back behind Virginia after allowing nearly a point per possession against Rutgers -- thanks in large part to the otherwise-meaningless three with half a second left after it looked like Rutgers was going to dribble out the loss. :)

OTOH, their offense is back up to #35, which should help with some of the "can they win the national championship with this offense?" chatter.

This Rutgers team is more talented than they've been in a while, and it's no surprise that they kept it close in the second half.  It's always nice to get a road win in the Big Ten.  Just ask Staee....


February 6th, 2019 at 8:28 AM ^

It was great to see the offense wake up but it needs some consistency. If Michigan is a legitimate national title contender they need to get the offense back up in the the top 20 and preferably top 15. Most of the top 5 on kenpom is top 10 in both 


February 6th, 2019 at 11:34 AM ^

Hate to break it to you, but Michigan is a legitimate national title contender.

On February 7, 2017, Michigan was 19-7, had a 112.9 AdjO (#56), 95.7 AdjD (#21), and a +17.16 AdjEM (#31).

Today, they are 21-2, have a 112.3 AdjO (#36), 84.5 AdjD (#2), and a +27.76 AdjEM (#6).

Now, to be fair, nobody was calling Michigan a national title contender this time last year.  Villanova was 22-2, 129.9 AdjO (#1), 98.5 AdjD (#54), +31.36 AdjEM (#2).  Kansas was 19-5, 118.8 AdjO (#13), 96.0 AdjD (#25), +22.71 (#11).

There is more than one way to win.  This team is winning with defense.


February 6th, 2019 at 12:59 PM ^

Sure -- they played the worst game of their season at the worst possible time.  It can happen to anyone.  Michigan was a better team than the '85 Villanova national champions, and they did the same thing.

Every national champion got lucky along the way.  You need some luck to win 6 games in a row against good competition.  Even if you're an 80/20 favorite against every team in the field, and a 99/1 favorite in your first round game, the odds are that you won't win the title.

Also, I'll take tournament John Beilein over tournament Tony Bennett (or Bill Frieder, for that matter).


February 6th, 2019 at 12:21 AM ^

really hope this shooting continues and we get an emphatic payback win on Sat.

it's time to own 1st place in the B1G as we get the machine wound up for March.

A Lot of Milk

February 6th, 2019 at 12:50 AM ^

Huge game on Saturday. We always seem to drop just one home game every year, and it seems like it's either gonna be this one, Maryland, or Sparty. But I just don't see this Michigan team losing twice to any team, especially one as reliant on the whistles at Wisconsin is. Unless we get another ref show I think we win relatively comfortably 


February 6th, 2019 at 7:37 AM ^

Matthews contributed some key points, but not a huge volume. 

I think that’s a good sign. Both he and Iggy seem to be getting more reliable at taking the shots available to them within the offense instead of forcing things.

Both took challenging shots, of course, but for each it was one or two instead of a half dozen. 

Kinda wish our defense had been a hair stronger. But it’s a road win. We’ve had a better week than State has. 

True Blue Grit

February 6th, 2019 at 8:13 AM ^

Rutgers was living off the low post short shots for most of the first half and part of the 2nd.  Michigan will see more of that the rest of the season.  Although Teske can contest it to some degree, when he's on the bench we get exploited even more.  I think Teske is being careful too not to get whistled on some of the plays.  This makes it all the more critical for Michigan to hit its outside shots consistently.


February 6th, 2019 at 8:30 AM ^

Liked to see beilein working to build depth with that early first half lead. He realized he needs a guy like johns to give 10 good minutes in some games. Would like to see a similar approach with dejulius and Nunez given the slump brooks is in


February 6th, 2019 at 9:01 AM ^

I’m not sure you can call what Brooks is offering a “slump.” He’s not a great offensive contributor and hasn’t really shown signs that it will change. Maybe he starts hitting the occasional jump shot, bumping his ppg average to 5 times something? 

He is decidedly unlike Livers, who seems to flirt with being quite good from time to time. Haven’t seen any of that from Brooks on offense this year. 

He gets minutes because he is solid defensively. He appears to be, by far, the best defensive option off the bench. So even with the reduced offensive punch, Michigan can maintain its shape and general game state with him out there. So it seems. 


February 6th, 2019 at 11:24 AM ^

I think this comparison is just hopeful and without looking at the stats or style of play. 

MAAR always had the ability to get to the rim and score.  He was never hesitant to go into the crowd.  He did not shoot the running underhanded lay-up.  He had continuous but not spectacular scoring, shooting, assisting improvement throughout his career. 

PPG= 4.5, 8.6, 9.1, 12.9.


February 6th, 2019 at 11:59 AM ^

I don't know about that comparison.  As a sophomore, MAAR averaged 8.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 1.7 apg, shot 50.6% on twos, 36.5% on threes, and 70.4% on FTs.

Brooks is currently averaging 2.8 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 1.5 apg, and is shooting 40.7% on twos, 28.6% on threes and 66.7% on FTs.   Yes, he plays about half the minutes that MAAR did, so his assist average is better per minute.  But he's shooting much worse. 

That's not to say that Brooks can't eventually improve to become a solid player though.


February 6th, 2019 at 9:22 AM ^

Excellent win.  Really dialed in offensively.  Movement leads to space, space leads to makes.  Getting good shots is hard work, they really put in the work in this one.  I think Simpson needs to clean up his pick and roll give backs to Teske.  That play is there but he needs to make the right pass instead of the “cool” pass.  Aside from that (and Livers please make a bunny), no complaints.  Good look for Michigan last night.


February 6th, 2019 at 9:31 AM ^

Iggy is the man. He will, increasingly get schemed against. He will usually stay ahead of the curve. Here, his teammates need to take up the slack they will be afforded...if they do so this team will roll on quite smoothly. 

Steve in PA

February 6th, 2019 at 10:31 AM ^

Michigan looked good. Rutgers looked like a team with a pulse.  Good win for JB & team.

I watched the coach interviews afterward.  Rutgers coach was decidedly un-Rutgers.  They had a very good plan, got beat by a better team, and was respectful/gracious in defeat.  I believe they may move out of the basement and become a mid pack team or bubble team in a few years.



L'Carpetron Do…

February 6th, 2019 at 10:32 AM ^

Good W! They shot the lights out and really needed a positive offensive performance after that nightmare against Iowa. 

Hopefully they'll be ready for whatever tricks Wisconsin throws at them and Michigan just blows them out from the tip.  GO BLUE! BEAT WISCONSIN!


February 6th, 2019 at 11:35 AM ^

Rutgers doesn’t have a bad little team. The PF that played with iggy in HS (no idea how to spell his name, starts with an O) is a nice player. Michigan played very well on both ends of the floor I thought, I had a buddy tell me “Michigan’s d is inflated because Rutgers missed so many layups and open threes”. I went on to call him an idiot, but Michigan rushes you and sets the tone early so no shot is truly easy. Every layup is slightly contested so it’s a little awkward, an open three seems open until you have a guy running out on you seemingly out of nowhere. And Zavier Simpson....give me him on any team ever. Nobody will take away Trey as my favorite Michigan basketball player of all time, but Zavier is closing the gap on him.