Found March 14, 2013 on
The Detroit Sports Site:
Tim Hardaway Jr
Glenn Robinson III
Penn State Nittany Lions
Thanks to Mitch McGary’s spark-plug effort, the Michigan Wolverines dodged another Penn State landmine in Round 1 of the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday. Their reward for winning: a matchup with the always-tough Wisconsin Badgers.
Michigan lost a heartbreaker in Madison on Feb. 9, as Ben Brust drained a half-court shot to force overtime. That setback was the third of six that the Wolverines suffered in Big Ten play — had Brust’s shot not fallen, Michigan would have (at the very least) had a first-round bye in this Big Ten Tournament.
Can the Wolverines gain revenge on Friday and move on to the conference tournament semifinals?
How Michigan Can Win: Get Nik Stauskas involved early.
In that earlier loss to Wisconsin, only two Wolverines — Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr., as you might expect — made it to double digits on the scoresheet (Mitch McGary had a dozen off the bench). Stauskas, smack-dab in the middle of his Big Ten cold streak, wound up with just seven points and hit only one of five 3-point attempts.
The Wolverines badly need a third scoring option Friday to get through Wisconsin’s defense, and it does not look like Glenn Robinson III will provide it. So that leaves the sharp-shooting Stauskas as the tertiary option behind the Burke-Hardaway duo.
How Wisconsin Can Win It: Crash the boards.
Even with Jordan Morgan out of the lineup, the Wolverines held their own on the glass in Madison, finishing with just two less rebounds than the Badgers (39-37). Michigan also won the rebounding battle against Penn State Thursday.
But the Wolverines were hammered on the boards in their regular season-ending loss to Indiana — the Hoosiers grabbed 19 offensive rebounds and finished with a 47-26 overall edge. If Wisconsin can exploit that rather weak aspect of Michigan’s game, it will make the Maize and Blue’s job substantially tougher on Friday.
Wisconsin is not a sensational rebounding team, but it did finish in the top 75 in the country this season.
The X-Factor: Morgan.
McGary was just coming into his own when he scored 12 points and grabbed eight boards in that game at Wisconsin. He starred in the Wolverines’ win over Penn State on Thursday, coming off the bench to lift his team from an early malaise.
It’s Morgan, though, who will start Friday — and who was out of the lineup for that earlier loss to the Badgers. Morgan continues to have substantial trouble finishing, as evidenced by the three baskets he gave away early Thursday (and one after halftime) and his defense has struggled at times since his ankle injury.
When he’s right, however, he gives Michigan a solid option off their pick-and-rolls up top and he can clean the boards on defense. Michigan needs both of those attributes to come to the forefront in the quarterfinals.
Prediction: For the first 25 minutes of their game Thursday, the Wolverines appeared as if they might sleepwalk their way to another loss to Penn State. Given how they fell to Indiana last Sunday, it was a little hard to blame them.
However, Michigan turned it on late and pulled away for an easy victory. Even more importantly, they recovered to put on display their all-around talent and a great deal of fight.
If Michigan comes out of the block with confidence Friday, Wisconsin will have its hands full. That’s not to say the Badgers are slouches — they did go 2-0 combined against Michigan and Indiana this year — but the Wolverines have more talent, on paper.
This is game No. 2 of Michigan’s Big Ten Tournament Revenge Tour and, if anyone shows up to help Burke and Hardaway, the Wolverines will put up another victory.
Michigan 66, Wisconsin 61
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
With 14:12 left to play in the first half of its first-round match-up against Penn State in the Big Ten tournament, Michigan found itself down 14-3. The Wolverines were letting the Nittany Lions score at will in the paint, and they were unable to convert layups of their own. They needed a boost, desperately.
Enter: Mitch McGary.
Michigan’s freshman spark plug went to work immediately...
Michigan’s locker room was open after the Wolverines’ 83-66 victory over Penn State in the first round of the Big Ten tournament. We caught up with a bunch of players as well as Michigan assistant coach Lavall Jordan to talk about the defensive adjustments made in the second half, the contribution of Michigan’s back-up big men, and much more. You can watch using the embedded...
Michigan big men Jordan Morgan and Mitch McGary discuss the loss to Wisconsin, the poor performance defensively, and how Morgan can help lead the team past defeat.
GoBlueWolverine's Andre Barthwell and Kyle Bogenschutz recap Michigan's Big Ten Tournament opening round win over Penn State, the play of Mitch McGary, closing the door on the Nittany Lions, and look ahead to a tough Wisconsin team that beat the Wolverines on heart breaking fashion earlier in the year.
Michigan assistant Bacari Alexander on the progression of Mitch McGary and Jon Horford, Jordan Morgan’s struggles, the philosophy on playing two bigs at the same time, preparing for NCAA tournament, and more.
Michigan’s big men, along with Nik Stauskas, were also available to speak with media following Michigan’s second-round Big Ten tournament exit. You can watch all four interviews using the embedded media players below.
Stauskas, Morgan and Horford after the jump.
Michigan assitant Bacari Alexander reflects upon Michigan's 83-66 victory over Penn State in the opening round of the Big 10 tournament. In his postgame chat with GoBlueWolverine he discussed the strong pkay of Mitch McGary and Jon Horford, the defensive improvement from the first half to the second half, and the keys to today's match-up with Wisconsin.
John Beilein, Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Mitch McGary took the podium at the United Center after Michigan’s Thursday afternoon win over the Nittany Lions. Read the post-game press conference in the following transcript.
JOHN BEILEIN: Really proud of this team. From the way they — we had a really disappointing loss on Saturday. Bouncing back is always a difficult...
The Michigan Wolverines let a chance to share the Big Ten regular-season title slip through their fingers in heartbreaking fashion last Sunday, as they blew a five-point lead late and lost to Indiana.
Starting Thursday afternoon, Michigan gets a shot at redemption.
The Wolverines are the No. 5 seed for what promises to be a sensational Big Ten Tournament, with an opening-round matchup...
College Spun/Antonio Venegas
People in Chicago call the United Center the Madhouse on Madison. On Day 1 of the Big Ten Tournament, it certainly lived up to the billing.
In the first game, Illinois defeated Minnesota 51-49 on a Brandon Paul buzzer beater that sent the orange-clad Illini fans in the United Center into a frenzy. Neither team shot particularly well for the game, but...
1) Penn State scores at will in the post during the first half
While the argument could be made that Michigan’s defense was better than the numbers bear out for this game, no one would argue that the Wolverines played good defense in the game’s first four minutes. Four of Penn State’s six baskets within the first four and a half minutes of game action came in the paint, and...
1) Michigan gets out on the fast break in the first half
Neither Michigan nor Wisconsin could get anything going on offense in the first half, but early on, at least Michigan seemed to have one recourse: its notoriously efficient fast-break attack. With Wisconsin missing pretty much everything, the Wolverines were free to get into run-out situations in which the Badgers only had...