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How Michigan invaded East Lansing and defeated Michigan State

michigan basketball john beilein
Isaiah Hole/247Sports

Michigan basketball knocked off in-state rival Michigan State by 10 points on the road. 

U-M arrived in East Lansing 9.5-point underdogs. The Wolverines walked out with a double-digit victory over the Spartans.

How?

Defense

Michigan State is a team that averages 13.9 turnovers per game. In the loss, they turned the ball over 18 times.

Here is freshman forward Isaiah Livers proving that he was worth the start by staying strong against 6-foot-7, 225 pound Miles Bridges when he goes baseline:

While MSU didn’t have significantly more turnovers, the Michigan defense still impressed.

The matchup that many pointed to as being the most problematic was Wolverines junior F Moe Wagner vs. Spartans sophomore F Nick Ward.

Ward is averaging almost 14 points a game, shooting at a staggering 69.7 percent.

In this game, Ward was held to 4 points (2-5) with 3 turnovers. Michigan accomplished this by doubling when he had the ball.

Watch here as Livers doubles when Ward gets the ball, forcing a turnover:

Rebounding

I touched on this a bit in the post game recap, but Michigan was not supposed to win the rebounding battle.

Despite preconceived notion, Michigan had 11 offensive rebounds to the Spartans’ 8.

The 8 offensive boards for the Spartans is almost 4 below their season average of 11.84 offensive rebounds per game.

The Spartans under-performed in this category, but the Wolverines were better than usual. They had nearly 2 more than their season average of 9.16 per game.

Turnovers

This is where the game was lost by the Spartans, and won by the Wolverines.

Michigan ranks 7th in the nation at 9.9 turnovers per game.

In the win at Breslin, the Wolverines only turned the ball over 7 times.

What is most impressive is point guard Zavier Simpson had 0 turnovers in his 30 minutes of game time. On top of that, freshman PG Eli Brooks didn’t have a turnover in his 10 minutes of spelling Simpson.

Moritz Wagner

What a weapon this guy is.

Michigan’s big man had 27 points on an efficient 61.5 percent, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks, and a steal.

Wagner is a complete scorer. Stretching out the floor helps the entire offense, and he creates a mismatch with almost anyone on opposing teams.

Big guys aren’t quick enough to guard him on the perimeter. Ward got embarrassed twice trying to hold Wagner on the perimeter:

With the Spartans being a top-5 team, and a conference opponent, it’s Michigan’s biggest win of the season. All of that, in addition to performing well against Purdue, is the reason it’s ranked for the first time. On Monday, the AP ballot ranked Michigan basketball No. 23.

About the author

Landon Dillion
Basketball Reporter at The Wolverine Lounge | | + posts

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