Most Wisconsin fans thought/hoped the Badgers would come out with a renewed vigor Saturday evening at the Kohl Center. The Badgers looked lost for much of Tuesday's loss to Indiana, particularly on the defensive end. Against Michigan, winner of six straight, something different was needed.
Alas, not much changed in Saturday's first half. Michigan entered halftime with a 43-38 lead, buoyed by 17-of-28 shooting (60.7 percent) made possible by a Wisconsin defense that was frequently slow to react and put a hand in the face of UM's shooters. Caris LeVert leads Michigan with 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting, while Glen Robinson III finished the half on 5-of-6 shooting.
For Wisconsin, Josh Gasser's strong play has been critical. The junior guard leads UW with 13 points on 3-of-5 shooting, including 3-of-3 from deep. Ben Brust started the half slow, but enters the break with 10 points.
Michigan opened the game on a 15-8 run over the first five minutes, and led by as many as nine points a few times throughout the half. For the Badgers, closing out on Michigan's shooters better and finding ways to finish closer to the hoop will be key in the second half.
Tempo-free stats, via UMHoops.com:
Michigan 1.21 PPP, Wisconsin 1.07 PPP
Michigan 68% eFG%, 20% TO Rate, 18% OR Rate, 18% FTA/FGA
Wisconsin: 53% eFG%, 17% TO Rate, 22% OR Rate, 19% FTA/FGA