[Patrick Barron]

Iowa 74, Michigan 59 Comment Count

Alex Cook February 1st, 2019 at 10:50 PM

In the middle of a first half fraught with foul trouble, Iowa went on a huge run, and after Michigan managed to cut the lead to five in the second, the Hawkeyes’ 2-3 zone defense shut down the Wolverines and put the game away. Iowa forward Tyler Cook drew six fouls on his own in the early going and Michigan’s tight rotation was forced to expand. Michigan’s first two options at the five (Jon Teske and Isaiah Livers) picked up two first half fouls each and played a combined four minutes, and eventually John Beilein briefly turned to fifth-string center Colin Castleton against Iowa's deep rotation of big men.

Ignas Brazdeikis carried the offense early for Michigan: he opened the scoring with a layup over a flopping Luka Garza, knocked down a couple threes, and had 12 quick points as Michigan built a slight lead. A single Iowa possession featured needless fouls from Teske and Jordan Poole (both exited the game for several minutes each). On the next possession, Cook drew a foul on Livers while establishing early post position; a couple possessions later, Livers fouled him again after an offensive rebound. Both teams accumulated plenty of fouls before halftime (Garza and Connor McCaffery in particular were limited), but Iowa was better able to withstand the attrition.

Iowa’s big run started with an easy Cook bucket on a post iso against Austin Davis, and backup big man Ryan Kriener knocked down a three to tie the game on a miscommunicated Iggy - Davis switch. The Hawkeyes have plenty of scoring options, and Kriener scored 11 first half points, finishing the game with an efficient double-double in just 22 minutes. Consecutive Joe Wieskamp buckets prompted a Beilein timeout with the Iowa lead at six; Wieskamp continued to score (the freshman had 12 points in the first half), while Michigan racked up more fouls and kept on missing jumpers, and the Hawkeyes entered halftime up 42-29. Reserve big men Brandon Johns, Davis, and Castleton combined for 16 minutes and consequently, the Wolverine defense was vulnerable inside.



Iowa’s quality offense scored efficiently in the first half (though they wound up having just an average game), but their normally poor defense had a great performance against Michigan. Other than Iggy’s early scoring, a spurt from Poole late in the first half, and a few nice plays from Teske and Zavier Simpson, Michigan’s offense really struggled. The Wolverines took over half of their shots from behind the arc against a defense that mixed a man defense that switched ball screens and their 2-3 zone. Eventually Iowa’s defense extended to contest threes (even deep threes), but Michigan was unable to unlock the zone, kept shooting, and finished 8-33 (24%) from three. Entering the game, the Hawkeyes had the worst defense in Big Ten play, but they held Michigan to 0.81 points per possession — which was almost exactly the same Wolverine output in their loss to Wisconsin.

Both teams started the second half clumsily, and Iowa extended their lead to 15 with a Jordan Bohannon three by the first TV timeout. Over about six minutes, Michigan went on a 16-6 run to get back into the game. That run started with a Kobe Assist from Charles Matthews (who had a rough game offensively, shooting 2-12 from the field) for a Teske dunk; Iggy hit a baseline jumper, Simpson was fouled and made both free throws, Poole found Teske for two in the pick-and-roll; a Teske tip-in from among multiple Hawkeyes trimmed the Iowa lead to 54-49 with just under ten minutes left in the game. The presence of Teske inside bolstered the Michigan defense, and Iowa — a team that loves to feed the post — struggled to score.

Last week, the Hawkeyes imploded in the second half at home against Michigan State after building a decent lead, but this week, they responded to a Michigan run and held on. On the possession following the Teske tip-in, Garza scored on Teske in the post; the next time down the floor, the big man knocked down a three. Wieskamp scored an and-one layup to give Teske his third foul, then Garza drew his fourth. Within four possessions after Michigan cut Iowa’s lead to five, the Hawkeyes pushed the margin back to 12 and sent Teske back to the bench with foul trouble. Garza was excellent in the second half and finished with a game-high 19 points. Michigan’s offense only scored ten more points over the rest of the game.



The Wolverines’ lack of depth was exposed by the tight whistle in this game. Teske, Livers, Poole, and Iggy each picked up two first half fouls, and Iowa’s offense feasted inside against the reserve bigs. Teske's absence was particularly significant — the Wolverines were +3 in the 13 minutes he was able to play before fouling out and -18 without him on the floor. The officiating was much less strict with physical play in the second half, but the damage had already been done: Michigan’s deficit at halftime was close to the final margin of defeat. The Hawkeyes can rely on their backups to contribute, and the Wolverines cannot. Iowa’s bench outscored Michigan’s 24-3.

For the second time this season, Michigan went on the road to an upper-half Big Ten team and left with a loss as the students rushed the floor. In both games, the Wolverine offense was woeful, but while Wisconsin has an elite defense, Iowa has a bad one. Between Michigan’s discombobulated rotation and poor shooting over the zone, this loss can probably be chalked up to the vagaries of life on the road in the Big Ten. Iowa’s a good team that played well, Michigan had a bad game offensively, and Michigan drops back to a half-game behind first place in the Big Ten. The Wolverines welcome Rutgers to Crisler [edit: travel to Rutger] on Tuesday.

[Box score after the JUMP]

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February 1st, 2019 at 11:13 PM ^

That was a super shitty game.  I found myself relieved when Poole would shoot a semi-contested 25 footer because it felt like a “good shot” relative to other available options.  



February 2nd, 2019 at 12:58 AM ^

Everyone will vote me down down for this but whatever, Charles is just not cutting it. His defense is awesome but everything else is not good, he has been regressing this entire year. Not many assists and turns the ball over, not to mention 2-12 from the field...the one thing scouts told him to work on (shooting) has been getting worse. This team is limited by Teske playing so few minutes and Charles being inconsistent. We need a back up center badly.


February 2nd, 2019 at 1:13 PM ^

Poole may not be playing at his previous spectacular lottery pick level but he wasn't exactly bad yesterday.  He still tied with Iggy for high scorer with greater efficiency.  In fact, if the entire team played with the same offensive efficiency as Poole, Michigan would have won the game.

Matthews was a big weakness offensively yesterday.  It's been more of a pattern than a slump for him.  He really needs to step it up if he wants to play at the next level and if Michigan is going to make a deep run in the tourney.  He needs to focus on getting to the basket and being very selective with his shots otherwise.



February 2nd, 2019 at 8:23 AM ^

We need shooting.  We have never been particularly deep in the post, and have always basically just had “try hard” guys as depth down low.  The primary problem and the one that will sustain is that Beilein’s system is predicated on perimeter shooting and we can’t shoot.  I think he has two options.  He needs to start playing DD and Nunez, youth be damned, and hope they can make some shots, or he has to incorporate some post ups into the offense to try to get some higher percentage shots for Teske and Matthews.  I am not trying here to proclaim that I know more than the coach, I am just trying to troubleshoot.  Our offense is a giant BPONE right now and it does not look temporary.


February 2nd, 2019 at 8:53 AM ^

I do think we glimpsed some stark limitations of the team last night. Beilein's open admission that he doesn't have a backup big man was surprisingly candid; for the first time I had to accept the fact that Davis is very limited. Even his five fouls to throw at Iowa didn't amount to much; he just swam around out there and everyone swept past him. Even if M is going to lose games, getting the other guys game-time reps starts to look more like the project.  

But I think that Iowa having two more full days rest played a big likely role. Most times I dismiss the single day advantage one or the other team may have as the breaks of the game, but two is a lot. . . for a traveling team that goes six deep.  

Beilein teams have traveled on chutzpah and overachieved. Will need to do that again this year. Rutgers away is probably a right-sized test. They play today, but we're getting home and then have to travel there, may still be tired. We're gonna struggle some more, but let's see what happens. 


February 2nd, 2019 at 9:41 AM ^

I just think Beilein is really frustrated.  All of the different discussion about what needs to happen, and it really boils down to one thing - the ball needs to start going through the hoop, and you can’t really coach that.  My guess is that he would have responded to the press questions a lot differently if he had another hour or two to just compose and consider.


February 2nd, 2019 at 10:03 AM ^

I'd like to see Charles and Isaiah step up with greater confidence. They're both supremely capable young men who are just a little fragile. In a game like that where the refs refuse to let them assert themselves physically from jump they have a harder time working their way into the game.


February 2nd, 2019 at 1:28 PM ^

Michigan is 20-2.  Luckily, unlike the fans, Beilein knows better than to overreact to one game.  I seriously doubt the mood would be better if he had "gambled" and the team were 15-5 instead.

Players earn minutes during practice.  One of the worst things you can do to team chemistry is to give playing time before it's earned -- the whole team notices.


February 2nd, 2019 at 1:45 PM ^

This is a bullshit contrarian take.  Nobody here is claiming to know more than Beilein.  He went with Dejulius for a spell in the first half last night so chances are we are not that far off base.  We are 20-2 but have not played good ball for a month.  You are creating a straw man “sky is falling” adversary to rail against.  It is a tired act.


February 2nd, 2019 at 2:40 PM ^

In the last month, Michigan is 7-2, with the largest road win at Assembly Hall in Michigan history (and one of the largest Indiana's ever allowed), and with a victory over OSU in which they held them to fewer points than they have since 1949.  On January 1, Michigan was 4th in KenPom with a +25.27 rating (112.7 ORtg / 87.4 DRtg).  Today, Michigan is 6th in KenPom with a +27.48 rating (111.2 ORtg / 83.7 DRtg).

Another month of "not good" ball like this will likely sew up at least a share of the Big Ten regular season title, a double bye in the Big Ten tournament, and pretty much guarantee a 1 or 2 seed in the NCAAs.

I'm not creating a straw man.  I replied to a post from a guy who implied he knew better than Beilein ("he may have to gamble").  You don't recognize the "sky is falling" takes because you're an eternal pessimist.  They simply look realistic to you.

There is one theme I've definitely noticed, though.  Most fans really, really seem to underrate defense.  If Michigan isn't scoring like the Burke / THJ / Stauskas / etc. teams, they're not "playing good ball."  But I've got news for you: this year's team is basically as good as the 2013 team was at the end of the season (2013 final KenPom rating: +27.86).  They're simply doing it differently.  That's all.


February 2nd, 2019 at 8:22 PM ^

Saying that Beilein might have to gamble hardly suggests that I know better; I'm referencing an ongoing convo here in which lots of fans insist the bench players need PT, where I've often taken just your stance. I'm not talking about rearranging the past but what happens next. And most of us are aware how good practices translate to game play with Beilein, as many coaches; you seem to consider yourself the sole possessor of this insight, but. . . no; I guarantee you he's thinking constantly about how to get better for March.

If you watched the presser after last night he talked about putting Castleton out there and hoping it would light a fire under the other bigs in practice; ijohnb makes the same point about Nunez. . . There's a holier-than-thou tone to your posts that doesn't match the pedestrian quality of these observations. 


February 1st, 2019 at 11:21 PM ^

I understand they were excited to beat a top 5 team, but they showed zero class by not shaking hands after the game. I wish we got to play them again in Ann Arbor. Punks.


February 1st, 2019 at 11:30 PM ^

Shaking hands?  Who cares.  They won.  And they won with class,  nothing dirty about the way they played, didn't flop didn't set dirty screens.  They didn't cheat the game.

Sound like a whiner.  Did we shake Houston's hands when Poole hit that shot? 

Yes, I know Wagner went over to say something to Bun Head .  But c'mon


February 2nd, 2019 at 2:07 AM ^

Ummm what?!  I was there and watched the game end and Iowa players were out on the court as the fans rushed said court. Michigan players walked down the aisle made by volunteer security, may have shaken some coaches hands, and went to the tunnel right underneath me.  What am I missing that they "didn't do"?!


February 1st, 2019 at 11:27 PM ^

JB was asked something near end of his presser regarding the depth of the 5 position and conclusions. 

He asked the reporter “What would be your conclusion?” and reporter said, “I’m not a coach”. 

JB then said something we all know but it was somewhat startling to hear him say, “The conclusion would be we don’t have a backup 5”. 



February 1st, 2019 at 11:47 PM ^

Z was 4-4 at the line.... Just way too many at the rim 2s that didn't drop by nearly everyone along with some bad Poole passes when it got close. I feel like we hit this point of near despair about this time every season, so hoping the late season Bielien effect kicks in soon


February 2nd, 2019 at 12:30 AM ^

Yeah, I was going to say, on the bright side, Simpson was 4-4 on FTs!

I got nothing else.  This did kind of feel like the Nebraska game last year in which Michigan went into the cornfields and faced a weird defense and just curled up. I didn't actually watch most of the game, but I think Michigan has two structural problems with how they play zones:

1) Too many long two by guys that aren't good enough at them.  They are not good shots for Charles Matthews and he takes way too many of them.  And those shots are even worse when..

2) Michigan does not crash the offensive boards enough against zones.  I get that they are super averse to going for offensive rebounds against man teams because the chances of getting an oreb aren't high enough to make it worth the risk of giving up transition.  But against zones the math changes.  Zones are highly vulnerable to orebs so Michigan needs to take advantage of that.  I saw that at one point they had just 1 OREB on 19 Iowa misses.  That is crazy low under normal circumstances but the fact Iowa was running a lot of zone makes it unfathomable. Need to crash the boards harder against zones.

And they have two personnel problems against zones: 

1) Along with OREBs, the vulnerability of a zones is that they give up a lot of open three pointers.  Michigan plays three guys that aren't good 3pt shooters.  That's a lot in modern basketball.  Those three guys are in the convo for best defenders at their position in basketball so they have to be on the floor, but their poor outside shooting limits the offense against zones.

2) Iggy and Poole are the guys that are both shoot and drive threats but they're both not good distrubutors yet.  The way to attack a zone is to drive seams, make two guys collapse on you and then kick for open shots or find guys flashing to the basket.  Iggy and Poole don't have the vision to do this well enough yet.


February 2nd, 2019 at 2:15 AM ^

1. Simpson was 2 rebounds and 3 missed bunnies away from another triple double.

2. The team showed several telltale signs of fatigue: they were late on closeouts, missed a ton of shots short, and went for strips rather than post D.

3. I wish Brooks looked for his shot more. Iowa jumped his passing lanes on at least three occasions because he was not likely to shoot or drive. In his defense, he did make several crisp passes that should have been assists if not for missed layups.


4. I disagree about Poole. He has excellent vision - he has made many whoa-how-did-he-even-see-that plays. But he can be undisciplined and a questionable decision maker.



February 2nd, 2019 at 12:25 AM ^

I disagree you can just say vagaries of the road. The offense is a problem 

Edit to add problem is relative, they are obviously still a good team but it’s about what it takes to win a championship. I just don’t know how this team scores enough to beat a Virginia or a duke, or even a Gonzaga or Tennessee. Even as an elite defensive team you are going to need to score more than 65 to win it all


February 2nd, 2019 at 12:35 AM ^

If Michigan scores 65 and holds their opponent to 64, I predict they'll win.  65 points against Virginia?  I'll take it in a heartbeat.

There are hundreds of reasons that this take is wrong; the most obvious is that you're not adjusting for pace.


February 2nd, 2019 at 2:30 AM ^

I don't think they'd have to.  Virginia plays so slowly, a Michigan-Virginia game would be a 53-50 final.

That was actually my point, though.  Saying things like "you need to be able to score more than 65 points to win" is silly.  (And that, of course, is ignoring the fact that Michigan has scored more than 65 points in 15 of 22 games this year).


February 2nd, 2019 at 6:48 PM ^

Of course you do, because you're damned near as much of a pessimist as everybody else seems to be. :)

As of this moment, at a neutral site, KenPom would have Virginia favored by about... 5 points.  (8.4 point AdjEM difference and about a 61-possession pace).  Given the offensive and defensive numbers, I'd expect it a projection around 63-58 or 61-56.

Virginia barely held on Tuesday to beat the very same Wolfpack team that just scored 24 against Virginia Tech.

ETA: Virginia scored 56 points in 59 possessions today against Miami (YTM).  Miami is now 9-12 (1-8), was ranked 70 spots lower than Iowa was prior to the game, lost to Rutgers early this year, and gave up more than a point per possession to Houston Baptist.


February 2nd, 2019 at 12:40 AM ^

Not sure why I tortured myself by refreshing kenpom but Michigan unsurprisingly took a huge nosedive in offensive efficiency.  Guess that's what happens when you score 0.81 points per possession against the 124th or whatever defense.  It was one thing to score 0.82 against Wisconsin which is a top 5 defense but yikes this was bad.  They're down to 45th after climbing to top 20 (I think?) before the Wisconsin game.

But Michigan remained at a record pace 83.8 and #1 on defense, which was surprising.  I guess giving up 1.01 ppp to a top 10 offense is still elite.  Didn't feel like good defense tonight.