The No. 7 Michigan Wolverines (22-2) looked for revenge against a No. 19 Wisconsin Badgers team (17-7) that seems to always have their number. Michigan is now 1-1 against the Badgers and the teams are not scheduled to play again. Here are some takeaways from Michigan’s 61-52 victory over the Badgers Saturday.
Ethan Happ dominated Michigan in the first meeting between these two teams and he picked up right where he left off. In the first half, Happ had fourteen points and seven rebounds while completely dominating the first half.
Charles Matthews absolutely took over the game in the second half, scoring 16 of Michigan’s thirty-four second half points. Matthews and Teske’s clutch jumpers and layups made up for Michigan’s yet again horrendous shooting.
Matthews was able to impose his will on the game to close it out, just what Ethan Happ was able to do in the first half. More important was Jon Teske’s lock down defense on Happ in the second half limiting him to only four points. Teske used his 7-1 height to get three blocks to add to his ridiculous stat line of seventeen points and twelve rebounds.
John Beilein in Big Games
Unlike another coach in Ann Arbor, Beilein loves the big game and always can get his team up to the task. Currently this season, Michigan is 5-0 against ranked opponents with this 61-52 win being the smallest margin of victory.
Michigan already lost to Wisconsin in brutal fashion with Ethan Happ dominating the Wolverines with seemingly every possession resulting in an Ethan Happ layup or dunk. That win left a bad taste in the Wolverine faithful’s mouths as at Wisconsin might as well be vs. the NBA’s Golden State Warriors due to the difficulty of nearly every game at the Kohl Center. Everybody was looking forward for today’s matchup.
Today’s game felt like the Big Ten championship and the boys in blue came to play. Charles Matthews and Jon Teske carried the wolverines to victory despite the horrendous three-point shooting with Michigan going 4-17 or 23.5% from behind the arc. If you still don’t believe me that Michigan really wanted this one, ask Jordan Poole. Poole could have dribbled out the clock but instead he chose to throw up a lob to a flying Isaiah Livers to set off the sold-out Crisler Center and rip the hearts out of those that bet Wisconsin +7.
Michigan was able to play very clean defense is a classic Big Ten game. This was a classic low scoring Big Ten game. It could be argued this was due to the abysmal shooting on both sides, but I’d say it was due to Michigan’s good, clean defense.
So many games in the Big Ten and in the overall NCAA, end with both teams in the double bonus. However, Wisconsin had thirteen fouls overall and Michigan only nine. Only two players that played had over two fouls, Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ and Brad Davidson. While foul trouble shouldn’t be a factor in this case, Happ had his third foul early in the second half, resulting in his benching, and limited minutes.
The clean defense and lack of fouling enabled Michigan to play only six players. Even though Brandon Johns Jr., and Eli Brooks checked in, they only played two minutes a piece. Ignas Brazdeikis played thirty-two minutes, Teske thirty-four, Charles Matthews thirty-six, Jordan Poole thirty-eight, and Zavier Simpson not leaving the floor playing all forty minutes. Livers was in his usual sixth-man role adding a quality sixteen minutes and scoring on all three field goals he attempted.
On February 12, Michigan will travel to Happy Valley to take on Penn State (8-15), and Wisconsin will host the slumping Spartans of Michigan State (19-5) on February 12.
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