Four minutes into Michigan’s game against Michigan State, Branden Dawson’s elbow made a firm connection with Nik Stauskas’ face. Stauskas went down in the bloody heap and was escorted off the floor with a towel covering his blood soaked face. It was clear that Michigan would be without its best perimeter shooter for the duration of the game.
But while Michigan was down a shooter, in Stauskas’s place stepped a much-improved defender in Caris LeVert. As a defender, Stauskas seems to have regressed as the season has worn on; LeVert, on the other hand, seems to get better on the defensive end with every game.
To illustrate this point: Stauskas was matched up with Gary Harris, and just before Stauskas got hurt, Harris had blown by him for an easy layup. LeVert came in for Stauskas and Harris, with LeVert guarding him, didn’t score again until the 5:50 mark in the first half.
"In that particular game, he really did extremely well for us defensively, given who he was ...