The University of Michigan (18-7, 10-3) lost at home today to the Wisconsin Badgers (21-5, 8-5) by a score of 75-62. The loss puts Michigan a half game back of Michigan State, and now makes next Sunday’s game against the Spartans that much bigger.
Michigan got off to an extremely slow start, getting outscored by the Badgers 14-4 to start the game. By the 10 minute mark the Badgers led 20-9. Wisconsin built their lead mostly due to poor defense by the Wolverines, as they had several open shots and layups. This trend continued for most of the half, as the Badgers went into the break with a 34-19 lead. At the half, Michigan was just shooting 32% while Wisconsin was shooting 10 percentage points higher.
The second half started similar to how the first half ended, with Michigan hitting only two of their first six shots. After the slow start however, Michigan began to claw their way back into the game. Caris LeVert led the furious charge by the Wolverines, finishing with 25 points on 7-13 shooting. With 6 minutes left in the game, Michigan cut the Wisconsin lead to just 3. Unfortunately
for Michigan, that’s when Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky took over. Kaminsky scored 10 points in the last 4:24 of the game to put the game away for Wisconsin. Kaminsky finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds.
Several Wolverines struggled in today’s game. Nik Stauskas was pretty quiet throughout the game. He finished with 11 points but shot 4-11 from the floor and missed his only two 3-point attempts. Derrick Walton Jr. missed all six of his shots and finished with zero points. The Jordan Morgan-Jon Horford combination produced 8 points and 11 rebounds while Glenn Robinson III finished 5-9 shooting with 10 points.
The Wolverines were out rebounded by the Badgers 34-30 with Wisconsin grabbing 10 offensive boards vs 7 for Michigan. Free throws were not a deciding factor in the game as both teams made 16 free throws. Perhaps the biggest difference in the game was turnovers. Michigan finished with nine, while Wisconsin in typical Bo Ryan fashion only committed two.
Michigan has been getting off to slow starts recently, and at times it has looked like their heads aren’t in the game. Perhaps the Big Ten grind has started to take its toll on the young Wolverines. Whatever it is, they need to regroup and get it together to close out the regular season.
As was previously mentioned, the Wolverines take on Michigan State in a pivotal showdown at the Crisler Center next Sunday. The Wolverines have the entire week off before then to prepare, so we should see a well-rested and rejuvenated squad take the court against the Spartans. This game will go a long way in determining which team wins the Big Ten. With a win, Michigan will have swept the Spartans and put themselves in a great position to win the conference. Stay tuned to isportsweb.com for coverage leading up to Sunday’s game.