Rushed Reactions: Wisconsin 68, Michigan 59

Posted by Chris Johnson on March 15th, 2013


Chris Johnson is a Big Ten Correspondent and an RTC Columnist. He filed this report Friday from the United Center. He can be reached @ChrisDJohnsonn

For the first 20 minutes, the best prospective quarterfinal match-up of the Big Ten Tournament was a complete eyesore. Then the game opened up. Wisconsin’s efficient offense churned, Michigan never went away and the Badgers held on for a nine-point win.

Composed offense and disciplined defense from Wisconsin was too much for Michigan to handle (Getty).

Composed offense and disciplined defense from Wisconsin was too much for Michigan to handle (Getty).

  1. The First Half Was Bad. Really Bad. Call it good defense, bad shooting or an ugly mixture of the two. Whatever it was, Michigan and Wisconsin came out and laid a cringe-worthy offensive dud in the first half, 37 points of discordant offense, unsightly play actions and wasted possessions. Neither team broke the 0.60 points-per-possession barrier and the Badgers and Wolverines together made just seven three-point shots. This wasn’t totally unexpected; Wisconsin’s fourth-ranked efficiency defense has forced more than a few of the nation’s top offenses into utter dysfunction this season (see a mid-January road win at Indiana), but the miscues were not relegated to one end of the court. Michigan denied easy post feeds to Ryan Evans and Jared Bergrren and locked down the Badgers’ perimeter threats – Traevon Jackson and Ben Brust chief among them. The Wolverines went into the locker room with a three-point lead, and untold amounts of offensive frustration. By its own lights, Wisconsin couldn’t have felt much better. The second half presented the prospect of another soporific offensive slog.
  2. Wisconsin’s Shooting Really Picked up. Somewhere between that 5-of-29 first half and the opening possession of the second half, Wisconsin had a long-range epiphany. That’s the only way to explain how the Badgers knocked down six threes in a second half just minutes after one of the worst shooting halves of its season to date. Brust knocked down three bombs from distance, all of them coming at seemingly opportune moments – whenever Michigan clawed back, whenever Trey Burke or Mitch McGary would energize the pro-Wolverines crowd with a nifty layup or a strong post move, Brust closed the door. But Wisconsin’s second-half offensive uptick can’t be spun in such simple terms. The Badgers poked and prodded on the inside, with Bergrren, Evans and Mike Bruesewitz physically manhandling Michigan’s big men on the offensive end. Traevon Jackson directed a precise and efficient offensive attack, and Michigan’s defense, so strong for much of the first half, couldn’t hold firm for the second 20 minutes. Once Wisconsin found itself on the offensive end, and kept up its almost mechanically predictable stingy defense, Michigan couldn’t keep up. Read the rest of this entry »
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What Is Wrong With Tim Hardaway, Jr?

Posted by Ryan Terpstra on February 6th, 2012

It was a year ago today that Michigan basketball fans knew they had something special in Tim Hardaway Jr. The Wolverines were on the ropes at Penn State, trailing by 10 with 8:15 to go in the second half, and staring a crippling NCAA Tournament-hopes loss right in the face. Then Hardaway erupted, scoring all 13 of his points in the second half, hitting several big three-pointers down the stretch, and establishing himself as a player who was not afraid of the moment — a true freshman who had as much natural talent and potential as anyone else on the team, and a bright future once he improved his consistency.

Tim Hardaway Jr has had significant ups and downs so far this year

Fast forward 365 days and you see the same talented player with the same knack for scoring the basketball, but this season of Big Ten play has been rollercoaster for Hardaway Jr. He started off the 2011-12 season by announcing himself in a big way at the Maui Invitational, scoring 21 points in a win against Memphis, 19 in a loss to Duke, and 20 in a victory over UCLA. He was also a topic of conversation in all three of those games by ESPN’s broadcasting crew, and his performance seemed to validate that he was about to embark on a highly successful sophomore season and possibly become an early-entry candidate for the NBA Draft. Then, in Michigan’s next game at Virginia, Hardaway was held to five points, and the perplexing disappearance of his shot became a theme for Michigan fans to follow throughout the course of the season thus far.

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