Game Day Grades: Michigan

MADISON - Wisconsin's defensive weaknesses got exposed yet again, as Michigan ability to take advantage of lax pressure and open looks led to a 77-70 victory at the Kohl Center Saturday night. BadgerNation hands out the grades.

Offense: C-

Wisconsin had too many wasted possessions on offense, including taking 3-pointers too early in the shot clock to try and erase a 15-point Michigan lead. The way the game was going and how Michigan was shooting the basketball, it appeared as if the Badgers tried too much to get back in the game. Michigan also didn't show they could slow down the Badgers when they got the basketball down low where Wisconsin scored 32 points in the paint, meaning UW could have done a better job attacking the low post.

The Badgers had four players score in double figures with Josh Gasser leading the way with 16 points, Frank Kaminsky and Ben Brust each had 14 points, and Sam Dekker had 10 points. Wisconsin finished the game 26-for-60 (43.3 percent) and shot 7-for-18 (38.9 percent) from 3-point range.

Wisconsin was able to grab eight offensive rebounds in the game, which they were able to convert into nine points. The Badgers did a good job of cleaning up their misses by boxing out the Wolverines.

Dekker wanted to come out aggressive, which he did, but lost that edge over time. Michigan at times was able to take away his ability to drive but at the same time, too many rushed possessions by the Badgers affected the Wisconsin offense.

Defense: D-

In what is becoming a theme in Big Ten play, Wisconsin had trouble keeping Michigan out of the paint, where the Wolverines were able to score 26 points down low. Glenn Robinson III led the way in that department by scoring 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting.

Although Nik Stauskas led Michigna with 23 points and Caris LeVert had 20 on 7-for-15 shooting, Stauskas and LeVert were both able to drive and find ways to get open.

Michigan was able to effectively screen the Badgers, as Wisconsin couldn't hedge and had trouble communicating on defense, which at times caused matchup problems. With the Wolverines getting so many open looks, it allowed Michigan to go 29-for-53 (54.7 percent). Even when the Badgers were able to take away the paint, Michigan was able to shoot it effectively from the perimeter - going 7-for-13 (53.8 percent).

Wisconsin was able to force Michigan into 11 turnovers, four of which came off steals and turned into nine points.

Overall: D

Wisconsin wasn't able to come off of a slow start in the second half - only making two field goals in the first nine minutes and 52 seconds. Even when the Badgers were able to make a run and cut into the Wolverines deficit, the Badgers couldn't stop the Wolverines ensuing run, which put the Badgers right back where they started.

Wisconsin was able to get nine points off of the bench with Nigel Hayes scoring seven and Duje Dukan having two. Although the bench needs to be more productive, it's hard for them to be when only Hayes plays double-digit minutes.

Bronson Koenig probably should have received more then four minutes of playing time considering how poorly Traevon Jackson played. Jackson played 34 minutes but wasn't effective and looked disinterested/frustrated at times. He only turned the basketball over twice but it easily could have been five. Koenig may have been fighting an illness since the Indiana game, but I feel like Koenig has shown that he doesn't get rattled easily and has shown that he is capable of running the point guard position.

Wisconsin wasn't strong with the basketball at times and turned it over nine times. In one instance Kaminsky was able to grab the rebound after a missed shot by Michigan but he wasn't strong with the basketball. Cavis LeVert was able to poke the basketball away, make a bucket in the paint and draw a foul on Kaminsky, leading to a 3-point play. Wisconsin also wouldn't go up with strong with the basketball during a shot attempt and it allowed Michigan to block seven shots.

Game MVP: Josh Gasser. Gasser was the most effective in going 4-for-7 and was able to find driving lanes so he could attack the basket. After struggling to score at the end of the nonconference schedule, Gasser has been able to find a rhythm and is averaging 9.4 points a game. With Wisconsin struggling right now, the Badgers will need Gasser to continue to play well.


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