Rick Osentoski, USA TODAY

What we learned: Michigan defeats Illinois 66-57

The Michigan Insider breaks down what it learned during Michigan's 66-57 victory over Illinois on Saturday.

While they likely wouldn't admit it publicly, the white-collar nickname given to them by Iliinois' Maverick Morgan angered them. It showed on Saturday as the Wolverines rolled to a 66-57 victory at the friendly confines of Crisler Arena.

The defense was on point, the offense was clicking and things just went right for a team that needed a game like this to get things on the right track. For at least one day, the 'traditionally white-collar' Wolverines switched their colors to blue.

Taking offense to the white-collar moniker

Maverick Morgan called Michigan a "traditionally white collar team" after its last meeting earlier this month. The Wolverines wanted to use that insult as motivation for its next meeting. It appears the message hit home. This was a different team today, a team that played angry and played fast. U-M would find itself struggling and appearing to go through the motions during some of its games, not on Saturday. Forcing turnovers, capitalizing on mistakes and being aggressive were the keys to victory today. The Illini were flustered, D.J. Wilson was everywhere and the Wolverines played a tighter, cleaner game. Wearing the blue jerseys with a white collar might've been a subtle shot to Illinois, but it appeared, at least for today, that it was effective motivation. Can the Wolverines play this angry the rest of the way?

D.J. Wilson impressive once more

The emergence of D.J. Wilson this season could be categorized as 'fun.' Wilson is still growing and learning but it appears that he is figuring more things out as he goes each week. The team certainly could go as far as Wilson takes them, he just needs to be more consistent and tally consecutive excellent performances to be really dangerous. Having an impressive put-back dunk today, Wilson did a much better job cleaning up the boards and was a factor on offense. He finished the day with a team-leading 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists. One the more important stats, arguably, was his ability to stay out of foul trouble. Only committing two fouls.

Starting a big week off right

After a tough loss to Wisconsin, it was crucial that U-M bounce back against Illinois. With Indiana coming to town on Thursday and a trip to East Lansing looming, Saturday's victory was a big way to start the week. U-M could not afford potentially three losses in a row, as nothing is a guarantee in college basketball. With Indiana and MSU undoubtedly difficult opponents upcoming, having this positive momentum coming out of the big victory could instill some much needed confidence to a team that has taken its fair share of lumps so far this season. With the conference relatively wide open, a run could get things backs on the right track, and that started on Saturday.


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