Game 9: Michigan at Northwestern Recap

We managed to keep NW under 1 PPP and under 67 points. Both those defensive streaks are still alive.

You mentioned Livers’ minutes being mostly at the 3 today, but did he have any time as the center? I was interested in a potential him vs. Pardons matchup.

Very few. Teske played 32 minutes and Davis played 7.

It’s incredible to me that a guy Teske’s size can play more than 30 minutes in 3 straight games, all kenpom tier A games, and look damn good doing it.

Regarding Simpson… He doesn’t miss shots like he’s a sub 20% shooter. They’re acceptable misses accuracy wise, he’s not bricking them off the backboard. I guess if Beilein really wants him to keep going it’s a “he knows way more than us” situation.


That’s exactly what Beilein said. They weren’t right or left, he thought they were going in.

A lot more teams are going to ignore Simpson at the 3 point line. I’m surprised it hasn’t been done much to date. As a career 27% 3 point shooter he’s below the cut off line and so its a worthy gamble for the defense until he proves he can make it consistently. Letting him take open 3’s is a desirable outcome for opposing D’s unless he somehow improves his shot.

I think JB has to sound positive in press conferences, but I’ll be curious how he adjusts to that going forward. I wonder how long Teske’s leash is for his 3 point shots too. A career 58% FT shooter typically doesn’t suggest one will have 3 point range. If Simpson, Teske and Matthews all limited their outside shots I wonder what effect that would have on the offense.

This was an odd game. It felt like 3 or 4 games rolled into one. Matthews worries me at times. He regresses into some bad habits from last year making mental errors. He traveled late in the game at the 1:20 mark which was unacceptable. His demeanor in the post game interview was flat. I kind of think he doesn’t like being a second fiddle player to a freshman in Iggy.

I’m not worried about Simpson and Teske’s misses from three yet. If even one of those shots from either player goes in, this is a different game and we’re (probably) not so concerned about it. There will be a game where teams sag off Simpson and he makes them pay. This one just went the other direction.

Strange game, as they got away from a lot of things that seemed to work previously. Was it Northwestern taking away such things as any post game by Teske or Matthews? Or we just got away from them? Both seemed to have physical advantages in the post over the defender.

As for Simpson and his 3 straight attempts behind the arc, if they were late in the shot clock I say hey someone has to shoot but they were not. Have to imagine a better shot would have been available by him or someone else if they would have run the offense.

On the defensive side of the ball Teske did not have his best game as Pardon went off getting 20 on 9 of 10 from the floor.

Big shoutout to Iggy. I don’t think we win that game without his 3 to tie it after they went on their huge run.

Also, we’ve known his offense has been for real for a while, but I was seriously impressed with his defense last night. He chased through screens all game long and even helped when we doubled Pardon and found his guy when Pardon passed the ball out. Seriously impressive display for a freshman.


Maybe it’s just projecting confidence in his guy, but I just disagree with the idea that we want Zavier Simpson to take those shots if he’s completely unguarded. He’s a 22% shooter from three this year. 27% on his career. That’s a turnover 3 out of 4 times he takes that shot.


Both Teske and Z had three-point misses that looked good when they left their hands, and in fact at least two rimmed out. They weren’t awful bricks that hit the top of the backboard.

What’s the alternative if you want to leave Simpson on the floor (and it is a significant defensive downgrade from Simpson to Brooks)?

I would say that JB’s auto bench strategy did no favors to Matthews. It seemed to take him out of the game and he couldn’t get any kind of rythym.

As for Simpson’s 3s. I mostly agree with Beilein and Dylan. If the other team has literally decided not to guard him, he has to shoot it to see if he can get them out of it. Now I would still say he should not have taken the last one but the idea behind it was solid.


Winning a close game at NW is a big victory for this young team. There are going to be many more games–like this on–where things don’t go right or the other team plays well, and wining won’t be as easy as it has been so far. After the euphoria of 3 pt shooting in Purdue, this was the worst case scenario. Z’s 3pt shot looks good to a lay person like me, but it just doesn’t go in often enough. Don’t know why, but other teams know that’s the case and they’ll do the same thing that NW did. Last year, Mo was a wild card that kept lanes open. He’s not there any more. Thanks again, Dylan for your great work!

I hate the quick foul hook. I think you’re dead on that it threw Matthews off. Auto-bench is one thing if you get two fouls, but at least let him play a bit through the first foul.

Agreed we want Simpson on the floor (man he was great in the 1H) and Brooks has been a downgrade, but I think JB was right to make that move in the moment. I don’t have any genius ideas, but the strengths of JB’s halfcourt offense are built around patience, ball movement and limiting turnovers. A 22% 3-point shooter taking threes 10 seconds into the shot clock kill all of that. I’d rather see him swing the ball, continue to attempt to run offense and if he receives a kick out with 4 seconds on the shot clock, then sure take the catch and shoot three.

I said this last night, but I’m not sure Ignas Brazdeikis driving through triple teams would yield fewer PPP than a 22% shooter launching from deep. We have an elite scorer on this team and another pretty dynamic playmaker in Poole. Getting the ball in their hands instead of the one abysmal offensive threat on the team would be where I’d start.

If it’s true that there is just no counter besides “Simpson has to shoot it”, my best guess is we see a lot more Eli Brooks before those shots start falling. I bet JB will find a better answer than that though.


I am not arguing against taking Simpson out of the game, that was basically the only option in my opinion.

Vic Law was just hanging out in the paint, he wasn’t even pretending to guard Simpson. Offensive actions are designed on the notion that teams will at least try to guard each player. You can’t patiently run your normal offense 4-on-5.

1 Like

Maybe you can’t patiently run your normal offense, but you can still be patient. IMO part of the huge momentum swing was how early those shots were being taken. When Northwestern has been used to having to guard for 25-30 seconds each possession and we’re scoring at a 1.33 PPP clip, to all of a sudden give them 3 consecutive possessions of 7 seconds of no guarding whatsoever at a 0.00 PPP clip, I mean wow what a mental/physical boost for that team.

Tum Tum played 20 MPG for four years and for at least the last two, teams gave him the same treatment every time he was on the floor. Izzo still had some high ranking Kenpom offenses in spite of that, and he’s not exactly the x’s and o’s offensive guru that JB is. There’s gotta be some answer besides letting a terrible shooter have the green light.