Rapid Reaction: Michigan upset by Northwestern

Basketball

Michigan (19-7) loses to Northwestern (15-10) by a score of 62-51.?

For Northwestern, their win over the Wolverines was not only a good conference win, but their most impressive win of the season.

Michigan went on the road to play a team coached by a former assistant. The game was manufactured to be close.

Northwestern Defense

This was yet another game where Michigan didn’t well. Shooting 23% from beyond the arc against a match-up zone will rarely get the job done.

Their zone defense was absolutely swarming. The Wolverines could never seem to find a clean look, and they were consistently holding onto the ball late into the shot clock. Every possession was starting to look the same – dribble around and pass the ball to Charles Matthews to make a play, which ultimately lead to bad shots or a shot clock violation:

One of the toughest parts of playing a zone is rebounding. With only 5 offensive rebounds, the Wolverines couldn’t find a way to take advantage and clean up some offensive boards.

Charles Matthews

It seems that Charles Matthews has taken a lot of grief from Michigan fans this year. In my opinion, most of it is unwarranted.

As mentioned above, Matthews is asked to create as the shot clock is ticking down. Despite this, he is still having a statistically good year. Even when he is having a bad shooting night he still brings activity and energy to the glass:

Has he been the force that fans wanted? No, but that shouldn’t take away from the good season that Matthews is having.

Player of the Game – Moritz Wagner

Fans might be used to hearing this by now – Wagner was about the only bright spot for the Wolverines in this game.

The big guy finished with 20 points (7-10), 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, and 1 steal.

He always seems to have a great play to keep the Wolverines in the game. Here Wagner slips a screen and gets an And-1 bring the game within 5:

Wagner couldn’t pull this game together by himself.

Quick Thoughts

  • Between 11:00 and 7:00 in the first half Michigan had 4 turnovers, despite having only 1 turnover in the first 9 minutes of the game.
  • Isaiah Livers leaving in the first half was a huge blow, especially since he didn’t return in the 2nd half.
  • Hopefully Livers’ injury isn’t too severe and he can come back for their next game against Wisconsin.
  • If Michigan can’t find someone to step up next to Wagner, their season may be in dire straits.

 

Here is a link to the full box score.

 

Michigan will face off against Wisconsin in Madison on Sunday the 11th at noon.

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