The Michigan Wolverines (17-7, 7-4) dropped a big rivalry game in lackluster fashion to the Michigan State Spartans (18-5, 7-3) by a final count of 64-54. Draymond Green circled the calendar after losing to Michigan a few weeks ago and delivered with an impressive performance.
Green’s monster double-double of 14 points and 16 rebounds paved the way for the Spartans. Michigan State was able to frustrate the Wolverines into a poor shooting and choppy performance that they simply couldn’t overcome.
The athletically superior squad from East Lansing crushed Michigan on the glass, out-rebounding John Beilein’s team 39-16. Yep, that’s right, Green corralled as many boards as the entire Michigan roster on this day.
In the 1st half, the Spartans manhandled Michigan and the Wolverines were fortunate to walk away down only 8 points. Zack Novak kept UofM in the game and a long three at the buzzer by Trey Burke kept the heartbeat pumping as the team rolled into the locker room to regroup.
Tim Hardaway, Jr. had 0 points in the opening frame on 0-2 shooting and was basically nowhere to be found on the court. For a player of his caliber, the continued extended periods of inactivity are becoming far too common.
Another concern is the ever decreasing production from Michigan’s bench. With Evan Smotrycz struggling and Matt Vogrich adding very little productivity, Michigan has had to work their starting 5 very hard of late. The bench failed to score in the 1st half.
The 2nd half was a lesson in the Spartans keeping Michigan at bay, never letting them get closer than 8 points.
Some of Michigan’s inefficiencies were exposed in this game.
When you combine the concerning slump of Evan Smotrycz with the ineffectiveness of Matt Vogrich, Michigan basically has no bench to speak of. Today, Michigan’s bench contributed just 9 points; all coming well after the outcome was already decided. Vogrich came into Michigan touted as an electric shooter, which has been far from the case this season. He is shooting just 21% from long range on the year and is 1 for 10 since the calendar flipped to 2012.
Tim Hardaway, Jr. was 1 of 10 against Michigan State with 4 points and has become almost invisible on the court for large portions of games. His shooting has been woeful of late, and when he isn’t scoring, his ball-handling and defensive issues really take center stage. For Michigan to be competitive against elite teams, Hardaway has to be a big part of it. Novak, Burke, Stu Douglass, and Jordan Morgan can only do so much. Hardaway must step up and be consistent for 40 minutes.
Trey Burke has now struggled in recent games against two elite defenders in Keith Appling and Aaron Craft. The freshman will have to find ways to run the team with efficiency despite his opponent. Burke was held to 11 points on 4 for 11 shooting and committed 4 turnovers.
Michigan got off to poor starts in both halves. They didn’t score their first points of the game until 5 minutes and 12 seconds had elapsed. It took 4:03 for them to find the net in the 2nd half. Michigan shot 39% for the game while the Spartans connected at a 52% clip.
Appling and Branden Dawson chipped in 10 points for the Spartans. Novak topped Michigan’s scoring list with 14 points. Jordan Morgan added 11.
Michigan’s next game is on the road at Nebraska on Wednesday night at 8:30 eastern. Michigan is just 1-6 in true road games this year and will have to bring precision and focus to the floor in order to pull out a win.