In Michigan's win over Rutgers the other night, Ignas Brazdeikis had one of his best games as a Wolverine. Even though he had to defend the physical (and much bigger) Eugene Omoruyi all game, Iggy scored efficiently, putting up 23 points against Omorouyi, Rutgers's top defender. He knocked down five threes, a season-high. Rutgers clearly wanted to isolate Iggy in the post and did so frequently. Over a quarter of Rutgers's possessions ended with an Omoruyi shot, free throw, or turnover, and many of those were post-ups on Iggy.
Michigan was a little more creative in trying to attack the matchup at the four. Iggy, more of a miscast wing, and Omoruyi, a traditional power forward, each had strengths and weaknesses relative to each other. Iggy got a variety of looks: spotting up and either shooting or driving against the closeout, a couple of ball screens with him as the ball-handler, and the 1-4 pick-and-pop. Michigan likes to have Isaiah Livers set a screen and then pop to the wing when he's playing the 4 or the 5, and they got Iggy some similar looks in this game against Omoruyi.
On this play, Michigan looks like they're going to run a Zavier Simpson - Jon Teske pick-and-roll.
Iggy comes to set another screen — a good one — after Teske settles towards the baseline.
Omoruyi has to contain Simpson and try to recover, but Iggy is open for three.
...and he airballs it.
[After THE JUMP: Iggy gets wide open threes, makes them.]
Rutgers went on an 8-0 run to cut into a huge Michigan lead late in the first half, and John Beilein called a timeout. He drew up a play that started differently, but had a similar action: Teske pick-and-roll into an Iggy pick-and-pop. He's open again.
... and misses again.
Undeterred, Michigan went with the same action again in the second half. Omoruyi and Geo Baker blow a switch, giving Iggy a wide open shot.
Iggy hits it.
This is a clever play that starts like one of Michigan's common looks, a little bit of motion into a wide pindown screen for Livers on the left side of the floor.
The Wolverines quickly pivot into a 1-4 pick-and-pop.
Omoruyi tries to contain the Simpson drive as Baker recovers, and Iggy's wide open again.
He hits another.
It looks like Michigan wants to run something similar, but Iggy doesn't seem to get the play call. Teske helps him in the right direction, and the play eventually winds up in a 1-4 pick-and-pop. Iggy gets a good screen on Baker; Omoruyi — who knows what's coming this time — defends the pop well; Baker, who's expecting Simpson to pass it back to Iggy again, hesitates even though he had already been beaten by a step. Simpson has a path to the basket with the big rotating over to help.
Simpson could dish it to Teske for an easy dunk as Teske's defender commits to helping, but decides to go with his badass hook instead.
It's so beautiful.
Rutgers is a decent defensive team, but Michigan was able to create terrific looks with the Simpson - Iggy pick-and-pop. It might not work as well when Iggy's guarded by a quicker defender, better teams probably won't blow those switches, and defenses will prepare for it if Michigan runs it successfully often enough. We haven't seen it a ton this year, though it looks like Beilein already has some wrinkles — the Simpson - Teske pick-and-roll and the wide pindown — to disguise the action. Situations where Iggy can catch and shoot or attack a recovering defender in space from the top of the key are pretty ideal, given his skill set. Iggy has thrived this season without needing plays called for him, but this is an that we could see more of down the stretch — it was great against Rutgers.