Same shit, different day [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Michigan State 75, Michigan 63 Comment Count

Alex Cook March 9th, 2019 at 11:24 PM

For the second time this season, Michigan State overpowered Michigan in the second half, and Cassius Winston led the Spartans to a victory. Even though Michigan got off to a hot start, State hung around during a weird first half, then went on a huge run to lock up a share of the Big Ten championship. Over a eight minute span in the second half, the Spartans didn’t miss a shot: during that stretch, State made ten shots in a row and went on a 28-7 run. As Michigan’s offense bogged down again against the State defense, the Spartans scored 1.39 points per possession after the break.

Winston was the engine for State, as he’s been all season. The likely Big Ten Player of the Year had a rough first half by his standards — 1-5 shooting (but seven points, mostly due to free throws) and sat for much of the half after committing his second foul on Zavier Simpson with 7:34 left. State survived in their minutes without him; they trailed by eight when he went out and trailed by six at halftime. Michigan’s two starting wings each picked up two fouls of their own in that first half, necessitating substantial minutes from Eli Brooks and Brandon Johns, as well as Colin Castleton, who stepped in after an early Jon Teske foul.

Michigan played well in that first half. Jordan Poole and Ignas Brazdeikis were active early — they each knocked down a three and each got out in transition for a bucket — and State was sloppy with the ball after not turning it over much in the first matchup. With an Eli Brooks three late in the shot clock to push the lead to 25-16, Michigan had made five of their first eight three-point attempts. Over the rest of the game, the Wolverines shot just 3-14 from behind the arc. The second foul on Iggy, who had scored a quick 12 points without missing a shot, was a particularly consequential one — Winston drew contact on the shot and Iggy was banished to the bench.

Without Winston, State finds it very difficult to generate offense, and Michigan had an opportunity to extend what had grown to a 33-23 lead with a little over six minutes left in the half, but only scored two more points before halftime. Xavier Tillman was an essential presence defensively for State: he emphatically rejected several Simpson layups and held up in their switching defensive scheme against smaller and quicker players. Tillman would go on to finish with 17 points, 6 rebound, and 5 blocks, and he outplayed Teske for the second consecutive game. In a preview of what was to come in the second half, Michigan’s unusual lineups couldn’t generate many easy looks, settling for (and missing) tough shots.

State’s second half run didn’t come right away. Teske had tip-ins on each of Michigan’s first two possessions, but State countered with a Kenny Goins three (after losing Iggy) and an old-fashioned three by Matt McQuaid (after Poole fell asleep on the defensive glass). Those breakdowns — normally few and far between for the Wolverines — came with increasing frequency over the course of the game, and eventually the Spartans were able to score at will. Iggy knocked down a three off the dribble over a sinking Goins to extend Michigan’s lead to 48-40, but State was just beginning its big run.

Winston looked uncomfortable for much of the game to that point, but he started things off with an and-one layup over Colin Castleton. A defensive scramble led to a McQuaid three; Kyle Ahrens made a nice cut and scored off a Tillman post up; Michigan’s defense was unsettled to start a possession and Winston set up Goins for a wide open three; Simpson had to give a foul to prevent a Winston dunk. Tillman made both free throws to tie the game. By that point, Michigan was imploding: they surely had prepped for State’s defense, but looked indecisive against the mismatches, rarely fed Teske in the post, and their offensive sets looked far more simple and stale than usual.

After Tillman tied the game with those free throws, Teske airballed a decent look from three, and Winston banked one in late in the shot clock on the next possession. He then beat Simpson off the dribble for a floater off glass. Aaron Henry hit a floater after a broken-up alley-oop pass fell to him; Winston charged over Poole in transition; Winston rejected a screen and snuck past Teske for a layup to put State up 7. On Michigan’s next trip, Michigan was able to get Teske the ball in the post on Winston and scored through contact — but was called for a phantom travel. It was one of a handful of questionable calls, and an important one. Winston threw an alley-oop to Tillman for a dunk on the next possession; Tillman was fouled and made both free throws after a defensive rebound; Winston made a tough shot over Simpson to cap the run.

By that point, State had built a comfortable lead and Michigan’s offense had grown dysfunctional enough to make the prospects of a comeback bleak. That foul on Tillman was a needless one — Iggy’s fourth — and Iggy got his fifth a short while later after a Tillman offensive rebound, one of many for State. Winston’s big second half got him to an impressive 23 points and 7 assists on the game, and State’s role players — particularly Tillman — played well enough. In many ways, this was a repeat of the first matchup: Michigan played well up until a few minutes into the second half when they fell apart on both ends of the floor, State went on a huge run, and Winston was the best player on the floor.

Michigan finishes an excellent regular season with a 26-5 record, but will be the third seed in the Big Ten Tournament after losing out on a share of the conference title with the defeat tonight. The Wolverines will play in the late Friday night game of the Big Ten Tournament. Hopefully Charles Matthews (who was sorely missed as Michigan’s lack of wing depth was exposed) will be healthy by then. A strong postseason would certainly mitigate much of the disappointment from the result in this huge game.

[Box score after the JUMP]



March 10th, 2019 at 1:10 AM ^

Michigan will be perpetually handicapped if Zavier Simpson doesn’t learn how to shoot on a consistent basis. Bottom line. 

Walton and Burke bailed us out how many times? MAAR did the same. 

Get well soon Matthews bc we actually have a pretty decent draw for the big ten tourney 


March 10th, 2019 at 4:23 PM ^

The irony of this reality is that Simpson's biggest problem last night was that he can shoot FTs now but he still plays like he can't.  Instead of trying to initiate contact with bigs when he drives, he does everything he can to stay away from them.  And if they take away the hook from the right side, he's in trouble.

Contrast that to Winston whose sole purpose on a lot of drives is to draw a foul.  He just goes into a guy and then falls down.  The refs gave him a few really bad ones, but at least he tried it.

When the hook isn't there, I'd like to see Simpson try to initiate contact.  Jump into the guy or pump fake and get them in the air or just keep dribbling to occupy the big while cutter go to hoop.

I don't think his below average three point shooting was a big problem last night, and while it is the difference between Michigan being literally the BEST offense in basketball (like they were in Trey's sophomore season and Walton's senior season), they're still a top 25 offense and shouldn't go through two separate droughts like they did last night if they just made better decisions.


March 11th, 2019 at 1:33 AM ^

Z needs to work on his left hand this offseason.  It's an even bigger handicap than 3 point shooting.  He never dribbles left.  The times hes on the left wing and dribbles it in...he tries to lay it in with his right (wrong) hand, and usually gets blocked.

Great leader.  Amazing defender.  But he has some serious flaws.  Pretty much sums up the whole team:

-Poole has amazing talent but makes mental mistakes and is trigger happy.

-Iggy just puts his head down and bull rushes.

-Teske needs to improve his 3s or reduce his volume.

-Livers fouls too much

-Matthews is streaky, lacks a handle, and still has FT problems.



Still love this team, but so many flaws...


March 11th, 2019 at 2:05 AM ^

You have your games confused. Attached is the box score from the game last year at Breslin. Played on January 13, 2018.

Says that Michigan committed 25 fouls and MSU committed 26 fouls.

Michigan was 28-35 from the FT line. MSU was 27-32 from the FT line. Basically even. And Michigan won 82-72 at Breslin.

NOW, in the Big 10 tournament, the game you are referring to, played on a neutral court, Michigan was whistled 13 times to MSU's 23. MSU committed 10 fouls in the final 3:49 of the game because they were trailing. With the score 62-54, and 2:32 to play, they began hacking -- picking up 9 of those 10 fouls -- and Michigan made them pay at the line. In the final 2:32, Michigan hit 14 out of 17 free throws to seal the game as MSU was forced to foul and hope Michigan missed.

And like you referenced above, yes, the difference in FT attempts was 33 to 10 for the total game. But 17 of Michigan's attempts came on deliberate fouls by MSU after the game was decided. The entire 10 foul differential can be explained by MSU's hack-a-thon at the end of the game.

You can look for yourself:

The game was basically evenly called until MSU went into desperation mode. Again, important to reference the least fouls per game metric, where this year Michigan is #5 in least number of fouls, and MSU is #118. In 2017-2018, the foul differential between the two teams was even greater with Michigan at #26 (least number of fouls per game) and MSU at #188. Statistically speaking, MSU should be incurring more fouls than Michigan.

Yeah, but what's so important about context, right? Let's just leave it out. No big whoop. Perhaps as a UM fan, you should know your shit better before calling fellow fans "whiners."


March 10th, 2019 at 1:41 AM ^

quick rewatch and I had:

20 fouls on Michigan

9 were bad calls

3 were wrong but reasonable

8 good calls

I had 6 "drawn"by Winston , 4 bad, 1 50-50.   This is what let him get any kind of rhythm. 

I also have pet peeve about travels.  Probably because JB coaches UM's fundamentals so well, plus the terrible call on Teske (and Livers in the home game) Winston had 5 That should have been called (that  doesn't count his lazy jump stops where he takes 4-5 steps)  , the rest of MSU 3 more.

The last thing I charted were missed calls on Tillman, 5 plus a hook and hold where he pulled Livers to the floor.  I had Winston for 2 missed calls both of which would have been his 4th with 6-8 minutes left     

so, yeah, on second thought, this was a very, very bad game for the refs.    it was more so in the first half.  UM could have been up 20 at the half with a decent whistle.  I also think some of the lack of aggression was directly related to this.  See the play where Teske didn't challenge Winston's drive to the basket right after getting called for a contact-free foul where Goins threw his head back    

L'Carpetron Do…

March 10th, 2019 at 3:09 AM ^

Excellent. I've been wanting to do something like this after each big game. I would love to create a recurring diary post of it the same way Brian & co. might chart the offense or defense after a game (if you want to join forces, let me know). I think it provides a fascinating look back on a game and you might be able to see the different paths it could've taken.


March 11th, 2019 at 5:05 PM ^

I believe that the Big Ten got exactly the result that it wanted.  Without the incompetent officiating, the standings would be:

20-0  Michigan

16-4  Purdue

14-6  Michigan State

13-7  Wisconsin

13-7  Maryland

and Michigan would have clinched two weeks ago.  Instead, the "championship" is "decided" on the final Saturday.  Great TV!!!


March 10th, 2019 at 1:11 PM ^

The officiating in the B1G stinks and it had way too much influence in every one of our big-game losses. It shouldn't be so consistently lopsided in the most important games of the regular season.  

Here are the stats in UM's 5 losses:

  • Opponents shot 192% more foul shots (127 vs 66)
  • Opponents scored 43 more points from the foul line (91 vs 48)
  • Foul shot points represented 86% of the losing point differential (43/50)

That is just the numerical impact of the charity points.  More importantly, foul trouble kills momentum and keeps the best players off the court for too many minutes.  When Iggy sat with foul #2 with 6 minutes to go in the 1st half the game really turned the other way. 

Refs need to be better than this.  Maybe Delany's replacement will finally do something  about it.  A chunk of that $20MM that Jimbo is taking from the league would go a long way to hiring professional officials.


March 10th, 2019 at 1:41 PM ^

Old, old story.  Phantom fouls and travelling calls are the result of Izzo constantly berating the officials.  When you re-watched the game, did you happen to chart the percentage of stoppages where he was not in the officials' ears?  I'm betting on zero.  This constant 'working' of the officials is effective.  It even nullifies our home court.  I'd like to see Ts properly handed out for this excessive arguing of calls (lol).  Questioning during a timeout, sure, but the shit Izzo does is ridiculous and should result in multiple technicals per game.  When you combine this 'berating factor' with the B1G home court-plus advantage they're afforded, you have to outplay them by 10-15 points or you are not winning there.

On our side, you certainly can't have 8 - 10 minute lapses on offense.  And for the second time, this team looked like it gave up when MSU took the lead back.  Made more obvious during the two-minute flurry by Poole at the end.

A theory.  1) the tight defense is going to generate a lot more 'phantom' fouls.  Partly because it can cause offenses to make really bad looking plays; like when Poole did a great job helping to cut off a drive (maybe it was by Loyer or Hoiberg?) and the guy simply fell on his butt.  It looked like it could have been caused by contact, but didn't look like there actually was contact.  Pause-rewind-frame by on the DVR proved it: he just fell backwards and should have been called for a travel.  2) Auto-bench is going to get taken advantage of frequently on guys like Teske.  Especially when a coach has a specific plan to do so that he even tells the media about beforehand.  3) Oddly (or maybe not) the exact same plays while we're on offense do not generate fouls - it just seems like if you play a tougher brand of basketball in general, you tend to get less foul calls when you're on offense.  It's almost like 'well, you wanted it this way, right?'

Not saying we should ditch this style.  Not at all.  I think it's a brilliant example of coaching to the strength of the team that has Michigan in the top ten with a top 50-something (maybe worse) offense.  And we saw what it did last year with a competent group of scorers; M's just a little unbalanced this season.

matty blue

March 11th, 2019 at 9:00 AM ^

completely agree.  izzo won that game, not by actual coaching but by working the officials every single fucking time the clock stopped, and because of his rep none of the refs ever have the guts to tell him to shut the fuck up or he's going to get a tech.  meanwhile, our guy waves two fingers as he goes into the locker room and gets the hook.  it's such bullshit.

the other thing that you touch on is...well, i wouldn't say "give up," but this team seems to be less likely to come from behind, and i don't think it's just an offensive skill or scheme issue.  the last two teams almost never lost touch of the lead if we were down eight with six minutes to could be pretty certain that we'd have the ball with a chance to tie or cut it to three late.

this team just hasn't done that, not yet or at least not as consistently.  if we got down eight or ten midway through the second half i was pretty sure we were done in literally all five of our losses, and i never think that when it comes to michigan sports. not sure what that is - simpson is as mentally tough as anyone we've ever had, and iggy and poole are both nigh unstoppable when they get hot.  it's weird.

SD Larry

March 10th, 2019 at 2:20 PM ^

Thank you for posting this.  To my untrained eye the officials had a terrible first half and you confirmed my thoughts about the early foul trouble.  When Winston touched Teske on a drive, a foul was called on Teske, and the early foul calls on Iggy were brutal.  Michigan does not have enough depth to withstand that unless they shoot really well like they did first half.  That said, MSU is a very good team,  has good players coming off the bench, and played hard the whole game. 


March 9th, 2019 at 11:46 PM ^

 It seems like we had all the pieces but just didn’t put it together. I don’t think state is that good of a team but for some reason Xavier was just not able to stop Cassius and the refs didn’t help at all though you can’t blame it on that.  Things seemed pretty even at half time but then Izzo made some good adjustments and we didn’t really do anything in the second half. Can’t wait for the tournament,  I think this team will go far because other teams will have trouble playing them.


March 9th, 2019 at 11:52 PM ^

MSU played well and deserved to win.  The offensive rebounding numbers alone told the story of this game.  Winston played great and UM simply doesn't have an answer.

At the same time, good lord was that officiating tough to watch.  UM did themselves no favors in that second half, but when a team finishes with a 23 FTA difference, that tells you something about something.  And even if you assume some of those are due to late-game clock management, it's still a double-digit disparity for a team that doesn't foul a ton.  

Ah well, on to the conference tourney.  Despite MSU winning handily in both games, this still feels like UM and MSU are the likely contenders.  So who knows.

Also, watching Chris Vannini live-tweet these games reminds me that when people claim to be "above" a rivalry they are usually lying.  His "the floor slap changed the game" tweet was clearly meant to be serious until people pointed out it was a bad take and then he tried to play it off as a joke.


March 10th, 2019 at 8:09 AM ^

Yeah.  Even with a generous view of clock stoppage time, it was a reach to say the disparity was due to intentional fouling.

It was still just a tough game to watch.  UM played poorly and let the rebounding disparity simply get out of control, but when one team gets called for contact and the other doesn't, at some point that affects the flow for them.


March 10th, 2019 at 2:56 PM ^

To be clear, there's a difference between fouls and FTAs.  Michigan was called for 20 fouls, resulting in 30 FTAs.  MSU was called for 12 fouls, resulting in 7 FTAs.

A couple of MSUs fouls were offensive fouls, whereas I don't think Michigan got a single offensive foul called against them all game.  Michigan did pick up several loose ball fouls, though, which, when in the bonus, do result in free throws rather than a turnover.  Michigan was never in the bonus -- MSU was called for six fouls in each half.


March 10th, 2019 at 4:34 PM ^

Winston didn't play great though.  He was 1-6 from three and the only make was a bank.  He had 5 TOs.  His Ortg was 110.  Take away a couple of the VERY bad fouls that were called on his drives and he would have been under 100 Ortg.

Michigan did exactly what they wanted against Winston. 

The difference in the game was MSU dominating the boards and the paint (8 blocks to hold Michigan to a terrible 17-40 from two) which had nothing to do with Winston.

After the bizarro first meeting in which MSU won the TO battle and lost the rebounding battle, this game seemed like a vintage Michigan game (pre-Yaklich) game in which Michigan just got crushed on the boards.  MSU crashed hard and Michigan's wings continued to not be prepared for Henry and McQuaid to go after OREBs.

The other thing that didn't help rebounding is my only complaint about Michigan's defense under Yaklich: they go flying past three point shooters extremely aggressively instead of recovering short. It leaves them susceptible to pump fakes and then it makes the defender completely unable to box out the shooter and it's not like they're blocking threes.

Maybe the idea is that the hard contest makes guys less willing to shoot since they know defenders will be flinging themselves at the shooter trying to block it?  Dunno.  Not sure that effect outweighs the bad though.


March 10th, 2019 at 12:11 AM ^

Not if they lost one additional game.  I mean, OK, I suppose there's a scenario where they go 19-1 in the Big Ten and 6-5 in the non-conference, and that's probably preferably.  But I think the point I was trying to make was clear.

MSU fans judge their team by its performance against Michigan.  Michigan fans have higher goals.

SC Wolverine

March 10th, 2019 at 12:52 AM ^

Despite the great record, this doesn't seem like Beilein's best team.  Not enough shooters.  But still a good team that can make some noise.  I think we will prosper more when we are done with B1G play.  Less physical teams from other conferences will really struggle against our D.


March 10th, 2019 at 1:40 AM ^

Looks can be deceiving, though.

This year's team is at +28.13 in KenPom, #6 overall.

Prior to the 2018 Big Ten tournament, they were +20.92, #15 overall.
2014, where they were the #1 seed: +22.3, #10 overall
2013: +27.5, #10 overall
2012: +20.6, #20 overall

There's a real case to be made that this is Beilein's best team at Michigan.  You're underestimating the effect of the defense.  Yes, the offense isn't nearly as good as the 2013 or 2014 teams, but the defense is worlds better -- no matter what the second half of tonight's game might tell you.

Michigan Arrogance

March 10th, 2019 at 10:17 AM ^

The problem is, these numbers in 2019 are relying on the boyancy of the 1st 10 games whereas past teams they got better as the year wore on.


I get the sense that the team peaked way early relative to other teams (esp Purdue) b/c of a lack of scouting, the immediate emergence of Iggy and the Europe trip. We're not the saem team and niether are the res of the other teams. We can't look at this team thru the lense of Nov and Dec - have to look thru the lense of Feb & March. Which isn't to say they are bad of course, just not one seed worthy. I hope M can at least get to the BTT game next sunday and lock in a mid-high 2 seed.


March 10th, 2019 at 12:56 PM ^

They're not relying on the buoyancy of the first ten games, though. has Michigan #4 overall for the entire season.

If you drop November and December, they plummet to... #5.  (Ahead, incidentally, of MSU).  If you stack the deck completely against Michigan and start with the Wisconsin game on 1/19, they're.. #8.  (And still ahead of MSU).

The "this team peaked in December" thing is a lazy narrative created without actually looking at the facts.  The team feels worse because they've lost a few games.  They've still lost fewer games than any other John Beilein Michigan team.  Yes, they won't be going into the tournament on a long winning streak like last year, but they've still played better down the stretch than the 2013 team.

Look, I don't know that this will necessarily translate into tournament success.  Last year's team was one Jordan Poole shot away from a second-round exit and a lot of grumbling; single-elimination tournaments are like that.  What I do know is that it's entirely possible that this really is the best team that Michigan has had at Beilein.  Not the flashiest; not the highest-scoring.  But possibly the best, because the defense is so much better than it's ever been.


March 10th, 2019 at 12:56 PM ^

Spare me the defense garbage. 

Do you stats fanatics ever actually watch the game? 

This years team is B side UVA. No thanks. 

Give me 2017 and 2018, hell 2013 or 2014 Michigan over this team. The lack of offensive consistency is mind boggling and without Matthews the defense and rebounding isn’t nearly as good as the stats would indicate.