How Michigan can improve its ball screen defense vs. Michigan State

1 Like

WRT the Johns & X switch: That is X’s fault right? It looks like Johns was hedging Winston out and X just dropped into a switch. Unsurprisingly Johns gets blown by. Is there a nuance to the hedge that I am not seeing forcing X to switch?

Wondering how to defend that 1-4 pick and pop to the empty side when there isn’t a defender to stunt.

Yeah, it is probably a bit on both of them, but you are right that it looks like X just decided to switch for some reason. I’d place most of the “blame” on him. Good question, though.

That’s part of the tactical battle where Michigan will have to determine what it thinks is best! A pick and pop is so effective when the side is empty because, as you note, there isn’t anyone to stunt at the player popping.

Michigan’s two options are to either hedge as they did in the first match-up and leave the popping player (Goins) pretty open, or to switch the action. Switching would obviously result in Iggy or Isaiah guarding Cassius, which has some potential downsides, too.

Kind of a pick your poison and it’s what makes the action difficult to guard.

Is Charles not playing on Saturday ?

If Matthews plays it seems straightforward - put him on Goins and switch. Even if not, I’d be inclined to put Livers on Goins and switch. If Henry is in the game you might risk cheating off him, and potentially Ahrens too. But Winston taking twos against Livers is something you can live with.


Why are we not pressuring Winston full court? At minimum it wears him down and they have ZERO backup of minutes. Or it would force him to get rid of the ball and waste 10 seconds off their possession.

MSU has struggled mightily with full court press and has issues with turnovers. The Illinois game was a perfect example. I know we aren’t a full court press D like Illinois but doing it for 30% of the game could wear down Winston.

One reason might be that it wears us down, too. But we’ll certainly be rested, and Castleton and DDJ may mean there is some relief. (Can they contribute in a huge away game?)

Will be interesting to see if one or both teams is tight. With so much on the line MSU may be as tight as we are. Playing hard D from the start can help shake the nerves off. I always tell my daughter to go in and hit somebody at the start of any big soccer match. Fortunately, she hasn’t gotten killed yet. :slight_smile:

Sorry, I know this post is all over the map. I am really excited for this game.

We just don’t press, and wouldn’t be good at it since we don’t consistently practice it.

The reason we don’t likely has to do with how many minutes we play our starters.


Don’t forget that one of the primary goals for defending MSU is stopping their transition offense. A full-court press would potentially allow MSU to get out and run, which they are great at.


I think this is certainly an option, maybe the best one. Question is whether Charles suits up and, if he does, how well he can move laterally with the ankle injury.

In the post-game MD presser Beilein was saying that he was playing. Guess that doesn’t mean it might not still be tender, re-aggravated. . .

I don’t believe he said Charles was playing… just didn’t rule him out, as was indicated on the CBS broadcast.

JB stated CM was doing some things in practice but didn’t say what.

I heard Ahrens and Ward are out for Saturday. Is that true? Anyone?

Just listened to it again. The reporter asked if Charles had been ruled out for Saturday; Beilein said, “Absolutely not. He just couldn’t play today. That’s a week away. Why would we do that?”

You’re right.

1 Like

I am a little confused by the first 1-4 Pick n Pop video. I think it is meant to demonstrate missed opportunities for Winston to find Goins, but from watching the clips, it looks like Michigan was just successfully hedging/X was cutting off the passing lane and making the angle too difficult for Winston to risk the pass. But maybe I am just underestimating Winston

In my opinion, Winston could have passed over Simpson on each play, similar to how he did in the last clip. In the second to last one, maybe he would have had to pivot and turn to Goins, but the pop was certainly open.

1 Like

Izzo’s last statement was there’s no chance that Ward is playing. He said that Ahrens is definitely dressing, but that it was still up in the air whether he could play. Ahrens himself said he was at about 50% health.

I would guess that Ahrens comes off the bench and plays 8-10 minutes, unless he aggravates his injury more during the game.