Michigan senior point guard Derrick Walton Jr. understands the challenges Oklahoma State brings offensively.

Michigan senior point guard Derrick Walton Jr. understands the challenges Oklahoma State brings offensively.

Set to take on an Oklahoma State team that can score, and score in bunches, Michigan's renewed defensive focus over the final weeks of the season will take on a different level of importance Friday afternoon.

The Cowboys spent the better part of it's season in the 80, 90, and 100-point range on most nights, giving the Wolverines an added focus on exemplary transition defense in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.

"I think it's key in every game but this one in particular," senior point guard Derrick Walton Jr. said. 

"Coming from the conference they play in, it's the most up tempo conference in the country and I think we've played great transition defense throughout the year so it's getting back to that, the emphasis will be on that in practice."

While Michigan throws out Derrick Walton Jr. and Zak Irvin in the backcourt, Oklahoma State possesses two weapons in point guard Jawun Evans and wing Jeffrey Carroll.

Coming into this one, Evans averages 19 points per game to go along with 6.2 assists. Playing the role of partner in crime, Carroll adds 17.4-points and 6.6-rebounds per contest.

The Wolverines will need to match the offensive prowess of the Cowboys.

"I think it'll serve us well going into a stretch with having multiple guys that can produce and score at a high rate," Walton Jr. said. "t's always a luxury."

Focusing on one day at a time, Michigan has had the ability to decompress following a whirlwind five days, including four wins in four days on the way to a Big Ten tournament title.

The Wolverines understand the task at hand. 

"Oklahoma State presents some huge challenges," Michigan coach John Beilein said. "They've changed their style a little bit as the year went on. They had 19 steals against Georgetown earlier in the year. 19 steals, I've never heard of that."


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