Five takeaways from Michigan's 77-70 loss to Michigan State

MSU played a great game and Winston was unstoppable. It wasn’t a bad loss, just very disappointing because of the rivalry. There is still a lot of basketball to be played and we will do well in the tournament.

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I would tend to say the defense was a let down more-so than the other way around. I’ve come to expect stretches where we literally cannot score. It’s been the case this season and much of last season. We still win the majority of those games. If you go loss by loss dating back to the middle of last season, Michigan basically only loses when the other team scores in the mid-to-high 70s+

What was wrong with the defense? Other than Cassius Winston is really good, I was most frustrated by the hedge/help defense timing. In the first half there was a layup where neither wing helped off their man. Livers was guarding Henry and stayed home which is unacceptable. Other times the help left just slightly too early for Teske to make it back. I blame a lot of this on Mcquiad, you really can’t stick to the roll man too long if Mcquaid is your assignment.

I think in the next MSU game Simpson needs to be more handsy as Winston goes to make his pass to the roll man. Often, his active hands prevent those clean passes. If that isn’t the answer, I almost think you have to move Matthews onto Winston and use length to defend those passes.
In any case, Winston presents a huge problem.


How could Michigan have been better in the ball screen defense. I saw Jordan Morgan say the bigs were over-hedging. Felt like we could have given the mid-range pull up more, rather than forcing Winston into floaters and drop-offs, with the hard hedge. What if you had Matthews guard Goins, to negate the 1-4 ball screen? Seems like we wasted Matthews D in this game. Have him on Goins or McQuaid and you save 8-10 points.

Charles is one of the keys to the next meeting, he only had 4pts and zero rebounds. He is usually is a good rebounder even if he isn’t scoring. I would put him on McQuaid to shutdown his 3pt shooting.

I thought the Morgan comment was interesting, as he was one of the hardest hedgers ever at Michigan. An alternative is to drop the big, like Wisconsin, but then we’d have spent the day watching Winston hit floaters and mid-range jumpers. I’m not sure we’d have been any better off in that scenario.

UNC ranked above us, even though we crushed them heads up, and they have one more loss?

Can’t say I agree with that. Z is pretty legit on the p n r. Unreal passing , solid finisher and hits the open man on the wing if you Cheat. Plus Winston is a below avg defender.


I don’t like it but visually they look better right now.

What have you done lately comes into play in the polls.

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The polls mean less than zero.


I know…I can’t help it…

I’m not understanding MSU defensive change bothering M. Seems like offense was rolling until it wasn’t. What am I missing?

Couldn’t have said it better.

Great post . Totally agree.

His ankle may have affected the lack of rebounding.

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The offense was what it was. The defense was… not.

The concern, to me, is that the defense wasn’t making obvious errors, and it still got beat by Winston. I suppose you can dial back the hedging, but it’s not clear to me that Winston won’t adapt and crush whatever Michigan unveils next time.

Matthews basically had no first half, though, and perhaps he wasn’t 100% in the second half. So maybe things will improve on one or both ends if he can have a full game. But we’ll see.

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I thought MSU played a great, great game, and they deserve credit for the defensive adjustments they made, but M scored more than typical in the first half anyways. in the end Michigan was in its usual situation early in the second – with a little bit of a lead, which they could build on by hitting threes or preserve by defending well. They finally ran into a team that was to good for that, so IMO the story here is that Michigan just stopped making shots on a day when the defense wasn’t quite up to par.

Beilein isn’t going to change the offense, and it seems he’s right to say the answer is to keep shooting until they go down. But maybe he might call for a few more plays a game designed to get 2s rather than open 3s. Not a wholesale change to the offense, but emphasize something else 5-6 times a game when the 3s don’t fall.


Excellent post Elizabeth I quite agree; especially with the end about Winston being a problem.

I’m with you on sticking Mathews on Winston. With Z virtually in McQuaids shorts; dude is not going to get many if any good looks.

My other proposal would be to fully face guard/deny Winston virtually the full court. Make someone else bring the ball up the floor and initiate offense. Winston demonstrated quite clearly that HE is the cog that makes it all go. You can’t completely shut him off but face-guarding can be a real headache to play against.

Last ditch proposal; sprinkle in some 1-3-1 a la the old days just throw a wrench in the fact that most every possession included a ball screen last game…how would MSU deal with that look? Could be worth a shot.

I’m confident Yak will have a plan in place and I really don’t see how MSU plays another game with only 6 turnovers…that’s like less than half their average.

Go Blue

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I seem to remember Michigan throwing multiple defenders at Winston out of the ball screen. It got the ball out of Winston’s hands. Unfortunately the ball then went to Tillman for a layup or to Goins for a three. I’d rather Winston beat my team doing superhuman things than Goins hitting open threes or Sparty bigs feasting on open looks right at the basket.

It’s pick your poison. I want to see the team employ whatever they need to do to wear Winston out. Make him score 60 and lock everyone else down. No open threes for Goins and McQuaid. No unopposed layins for Goins or Tillman.