[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Michigan 65, Ohio State 49 Comment Count

Alex Cook January 29th, 2019 at 11:10 PM

Zavier Simpson dominated Michigan’s rival — his home-state program — and recorded a triple double, as the Wolverines defeated Ohio State. The Buckeyes turned it over 19 times and recorded a season-low 0.79 points per possession (their worst output since a loss to Illinois in January 2013). Michigan hoisted plenty of shots from behind the arc and had a decent shooting night (37% from three) against a defense that featured plenty of zone; that was more than enough with how well the Wolverines played defensively.

Simpson was by far the best player on the floor: 11 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists, 2 steals, and a ridiculous chase-down block on Ohio State’s center, Kaleb Wesson. He had several more assist opportunities that weren’t converted and forced more turnovers than the two steals in the box score. Ohio State showed Michigan a variety of defensive looks, and Simpson dissected them all. Whether it was taking advantage of a switch in the Buckeyes’ man-to-man defense, driving into the middle of their 2-3 zone to set up a shooter, or distributing the ball in the open floor, Simpson was magnificent. There were plenty of stretches of sloppy basketball throughout the game, but in the middle of it all was Simpson, who never faltered and didn’t turn it over once. His presence was essential for Michigan, as always.

Early in the game, Ohio State was able to score effectively because of Wesson: he popped for a three on the first possession, scored again after an offensive rebound, set up a cutting CJ Jackson for an easy two after a post double, and beat Jon Teske on a post iso for two more. By the first TV timeout, Wesson had seven points — but he only finished with 12 (on 12 shot equivalents). Wesson committed three fouls while chasing missed shots and received a technical after a little bit of shit talk between the rivals. Ohio State was forced to play a wing, his brother Andre, at the five for many of the minutes Kaleb was off the floor as part of a tiny lineup due to depth issues.



Ohio State led 17-12 with about 11 minutes left in the first half when the Wolverines were finally able to connect from three. Against the 2-3 zone, Michigan likes to get Jordan Poole spot-up opportunities on the wing; on one possession, he missed a three from the left wing, got it back and missed from the right wing, and eventually was set up by Simpson after another offensive rebound and hit one from the right wing on his third try. Poole never really found his shot, going 3-10 from behind the arc. That first three keyed a quick 10-2 run to propel Michigan into the lead.

Jackson would singlehandedly push Ohio State ahead after attacking a couple of Wolverine switches on screens, but Michigan finished the first half on a 7-0 run — Simpson beat Luther Muhammad off the dribble for a layup and found Ignas Brazdeikis in the corner for three, and Matthews tipped in his own miss in transition. Keyshawn Woods had two critical turnovers during that sequence, and Ohio State continued to turn it over after halftime — but Michigan started to as well. Neither team scored for the first two and a half minutes of the second half until Kaleb Wesson knocked down a three to cut Michigan’s lead to 32-29.

Simpson scored or assisted on Michigan’s next seven baskets, and the Wolverines opened up a 12-point lead during that span. He found Iggy on a cut from a nice set for an open layup; after snagging a rebound, he found a streaking Poole for a transition layup; he set up Isaiah Livers for a pick and pop three; he rebounded his own missed three and later made a reverse layup; he passed to Poole for a three against the 2-3; he drove and kicked to Iggy for a corner three; and he knocked down a rather audacious step-back three. That masterful stretch from Simpson was part of a larger 24-9 run over a good portion of the second half. Ohio State had no hope of stringing together enough quality offensive possessions to mount a comeback effort.



The Buckeyes played well at the beginning of the game, but couldn’t overcome a poor shooting night (5-21 from three) or the rash of turnovers (their turnover rate of 31% was their worst of the season). While Kaleb Wesson and Jackson each briefly got hot, neither was able to sustain their scoring against the Michigan defense. Luther Muhammad was quiet after a career game against Nebraska, Woods had a rough game, Duane Washington was bold but inefficient, and every Buckeye that played before garbage time turned the ball over at least once. While their defense was solid, they couldn’t stop Simpson from orchestrating what became a blowout win.

Besides Simpson, no Wolverine played exceptionally well: Poole led the team in scoring but took a ton of shots, Iggy had relatively pedestrian numbers by his standards, and Teske had a tough outing against Wesson (though his defense improved as the game went on). Livers’s three made three-pointers were a nice sign, since he’s struggled a bit following his injury-related absence. Michigan attempted half of its shots from behind the arc — a decent idea against an OSU zone that hasn’t been repped a ton and routinely conceded open looks — but Poole was off and there aren’t many other sharpshooters on the roster. Still, mostly through the efforts of Simpson, they finished just above a point per possession.

Michigan’s suffocated two opponents in a row, and their defense is back up to #1 nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency per Kenpom. With Michigan State’s loss on Sunday, UM and MSU are tied for the lead in the Big Ten. The Wolverines’ next contest is on Friday in Iowa City against the Hawkeyes, a tournament-quality team that plays a high tempo, scores efficiently, and can’t really stop anyone.

[Box Score After the JUMP]

Screen Shot 2019-01-30 at 12.51.47 AM.png



January 30th, 2019 at 1:17 AM ^

The Buckeyes turned it over 19 times and recorded a season-low 0.79 points per possession (their worst output since a loss to Illinois in January 2013). 


BTW, the top photo is fantastic.  Great view.


January 30th, 2019 at 1:19 AM ^

While Iowa City isn't anything like Bloomington, Michigan hasn't exactly enjoyed a ton of success there; they're 3-5 under Beilein, for example.  It'll be interesting to see how Michigan's defense holds up against Iowa's attack.  If Michigan hits their shots, they should win comfortably, but if not, it could get dicey; I don't expect a third straight game holding the opposition under 50.

That said, what a second half tonight.  It was so much fun watching OSU get visibly frustrated by Michigan's defense.  I think I remember about three open looks in the entire second half -- and they missed all three.

I daresay X has a bit of a chip on his shoulder regarding OSU, as a Lima kid.

Finally, a tip of the cap to the Crisler Center crowd, not only for braving the cold, but for realizing when X got the triple double about as fast as the announcers did.


January 30th, 2019 at 1:23 AM ^

Kinda the usual story on offense--a guy or two played poorly, a guy or two was oddly invisible, and one or two guys really played well.

Today Mr. Invisible was Teske, perhaps understandably, while Matthews and Poole weren't great (though 7 of Poole's 9 misses were from 3, which makes for a meh percentage but is pretty good from a shot selection standpoint). Iggy didn't put up huge numbers, but he was efficient after the one hero-drive early.

So, I was pleased with the output of Livers. Took 3s rather than bugging out, and made a good share. He may just be a once-every-four-games type of contributor, but I feel like he could be on the edge of really producing regularly. Which would be huge.

If we could go from 3 of 6 guys contributing on offense every game to 4 of 6, that'd be a big deal.

Z, obviously, was terrific. 


January 30th, 2019 at 1:49 AM ^

Not quite as rare as a perfect game, but pretty darned rare.

In the sports-reference.com play index era (since 2010-11), X is the tenth player to do it (link), and the first to do so against a high major opponent.  He's the first this year; the most recent was Hayden Koval for Central Arkansas at Houston Baptist (the only road game, incidentally), Feb 7th, 2018.  Two of the previous nine, including Koval, got their triple doubles with blocks instead of assists, which is borderline nuts. :)

Gulo Gulo Luscus

January 30th, 2019 at 2:30 AM ^

There are 350 D1 basketball teams. That number has grown recently and seasons may have gotten longer but if I'm doing math correctly at 1:30am that should be close to 40,000 games played since 2010-2011.

So for our recent NCAA D1 sample it's 10/~40,000 games (0.025%) for turnover-free triple doubles. For all-time MLB it's 23/~210,000 games (0.109%) for perfect games (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Major_League_Baseball_perfect_games). About 2.5 times more common achievement on a per game basis but probably happens about once per year so won't garner that kind of attention.


January 30th, 2019 at 3:05 AM ^

The sports-reference.com matchup finder lists 50,869 games, excluding the handful where D-I teams lost to lower-division teams.  (search for all games where a team won).  So, I'd put it in between your two estimates.  (Not every game has two teams out of the ~350. :). So, yeah, I'd say half as rare on a per-game basis.  That's still pretty rare.

(Not as rare as the unassisted triple play, though -- 15 in MLB history. ;)

Gulo Gulo Luscus

January 30th, 2019 at 3:13 AM ^

Edited my post like 25 times so your reply no longer matches... but thanks for pulling the actual numbers! One of 10 such performances out of 50,000+ games is a hell of an achievement! Deserves a spot on a list of toughest things to do in sports, especially if you exclude players who did it with blocks.

Only 15 unassisted triple plays! But more of an "occurrence" than an individual achievement. I'll take what Z did tonight :)


January 30th, 2019 at 10:36 AM ^

Wow just wow. X had a night for the ages. I hope some smart sportswriter documents this game from end to end. Makes me want to watch it again.

And an aside: Teske is an Ohio kid, too. Seeing him step up fearlessly during that fracas, how that guy has evolved. . .

Prince Lover

January 30th, 2019 at 1:35 AM ^

My nine yr old daughter, at her first ever game, half way through the second half, and knowing nothing about stats, said, “Simpson is the best player for us.” 

Yes, sweets, yes he is.

That’s....my girl! (And yes pun intended for those of us at the game.)


January 30th, 2019 at 7:42 AM ^

Yeah this team is really really good, it's great seeing it confirmed every game. To be honest I didn't see Z as becoming this good of a pg because of his offensive limitations but he is damn good at controlling the game. Charles seems a bit broken, hopefully Beilein can help him become more inconsistent and that takes this team from really really good to really really really good.

Mike Damone

January 30th, 2019 at 10:39 AM ^

Know this is just an observation - and a correct one, as far as the 1st half goes - but sometimes we forget as fans that 1) It is January during a grind BIG schedule, 2) these are student athletes with a lot of responsibilities, and 3) these are college kids, with the same life ups and downs we all had/have, and 4) It is 30 below out, and I am sure players can catch colds/bugs, just like the rest of us.  These kids are not machines/robots.

Truly not a knock on you, because you just made an observation.  But I find it truly idiotic when a fan on this blog points out that "this player didn't bring his energy, what the hell was wrong with him in this game".  It is going to happen to all of our guys at points during this BIG season, like it happened to Sparty at Purdue on Sunday.  You just hope their teammates can carry them for that one rough game.  Part of the challenge of playing in the BIG through Jan/Feb...

L'Carpetron Do…

January 30th, 2019 at 12:07 PM ^

True, I've been worried about Teske's cumulative amount of minutes so far this season. I'm afraid he's going to get overworked or hurt. Beilein needs to send in some reinforcements for him. Throw Johns or Davis in there for a few minutes in the first half. Use the small lineup with Livers more often.  If the lead hits 18 or 20 with 10 minutes or less in the 2nd half, put in Davis or Johns. I know Beilein might think they're not ready but he's got to trust them a little bit more to help out Teske who is the most important guy on the floor for Michigan most nights.

The last few games Michigan has missed opportunities to turn big leads into blowouts. They need to start doing that so Teske and Simpson don't die before the tournament. 


January 30th, 2019 at 8:47 AM ^

Jack it Poole!  He has to be a volume shooter.  Michigan needs a guy who will shoot the ball with impunity.  I liked how aggressive he was getting his shots up last night, even though they were not falling at first.  Tentative Poole is bad Poole.  Good to see some of that swag back.

UM in NC

January 30th, 2019 at 9:26 AM ^

 Disagree about Poole. He is too undisciplined with the ball. He has 2-3 bad passes per game and often dribbles/drives without purpose. I’m fine with him taking a lot of shots, but they should be purposeful and within the offense. He’s also the best late shot clock option and that’s when he should be creative and less disciplined


January 30th, 2019 at 10:53 AM ^

Disagree about Poole. While Iggy can be aggravating when he drops his head on those fantastically aggressive drives to the basket and misses open guys, he is our best option on late shot clocks to do just that. JP is sometimes, but not always, in rhythm and feeling it on the jab step drive/step back move, but Iggy gets to the rack nearly every time he tries. Rather see him with the ball with less than 5 on the shot clock.


January 30th, 2019 at 11:16 AM ^

I think for Poole to be as impactful as he can you just need to put up with a little bit of that stuff.  In my opinion, the less of a conscious he plays with the more effective he is.  He is a very instinctive player.  I don’t think it is a good idea to try to tame him too much.  The Poole party is a fun place, a beer is going to get spilled every once in a while and the music is a little loud at times, but I would rather be there than not.