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Wisconsin men’s basketball: Michigan recap

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The No. 9 Badgers get blown out on the road against No. 7 Michigan 77-54.

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off of a wild double-overtime victory over Indiana last week, the No. 9 Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team (10-3 overall, 4-2 Big Ten) took their talents on the road Tuesday evening for a huge top-10 matchup with No. 7 Michigan Wolverines.

The Wolverines (11-0 overall, 6-0 Big Ten) entered the game undefeated, led by freshman 7-footer Hunter Dickinson, while Wisconsin was aiming to keep pace in the conference race.

The game was over fairly quickly though, as Michigan throttled the Badgers by 23 points in Crisler Arena.

In the first handful of minutes in the game, Wisconsin was fairly careless with the ball and Michigan was able to take advantage with a 11-8 lead after the first five minutes as Isaiah Livers scored seven quick points for the Wolverines.

Micah Potter was doing a good job on each end of the court, especially on the defensive end against Dickinson early, but it was D’Mitrik Trice who was carrying the Wisconsin offense early. Outside of Dickinson, Michigan was able to score at will against the Badgers in the first half, allowing them to extend their lead up to seven with seven minutes remaining.

Over the final few minutes of the first half, it was all Michigan. The Badgers went ice cold on offense and had some silly turnovers, while the Wolverines stayed hot to take a 17-point lead into the half.

In the second half it was more of the same, as Michigan went on another huge scoring run to push their advantage all the way up to 32 points in the first six minutes.

Wisconsin was eventually able to find a rhythm offensively late in the second half, but Michigan never took their foot off the gas. The Wolverines would go on to coast to an easy win, taking down the Badgers by 23 points.

Notable stat lines:

  • D’Mitrik Trice —> 20 points (7-of-13 from the floor), two rebounds, two assists
  • Micah Potter —> 12 points (5-of-11 from the floor), six rebounds
  • Franz Wagner —> 15 points (7-of-10 from the floor), 10 rebounds, four steals
  • Mike Smith —> 16 points (6-of-9 from the floor), two rebounds, six assists

Three things that stood out:

No. 1: Outclassed

Michigan proved to be the superior team. It was plain and simple on Tuesday night.

Even with the leading scorer for the Wolverines a non-factor for most of the game, the supporting cast of Isaiah Livers, Franz Wagner and Mike Smith thoroughly outplayed the Badgers.

Defensively, Michigan was very active and forced the Badgers into some poor shots and an uncharacteristic seven turnovers in the first half. The Wolverines were able to turn those turnovers into nine points, and made it look easy at times.

The second half was even worse for the Badgers, as everything Michigan wanted to do was working. The Wolverines were red hot from the field, shooting 51.6% for the game including an insane 41-6 run at one point.

Michigan is obviously a very good team and is undefeated for a reason, but Wisconsin is one of the better teams in the Big Ten and was absolutely run out the gym.

No. 2: Defense

Michigan played really well on both ends of the court, but Wisconsin’s defense has not been as advertised the past couple games. Both Indiana and Maryland were able to penetrate the interior far too easy against the Badgers, and take advantage of some defensive miscues.

Michigan was unstoppable against Wisconsin, and a big reason for that was the lack of energy, communication, and effort on the defensive end by the Badgers.

Wisconsin has consistently been ranked as one of the top defensive teams in the B1G and in the nation as a whole, but the recent struggles to protect the rim and get stops is concerning.

No. 3: Block party

Wisconsin struggled mightily against the length of Michigan. Three of the first eight shot attempts by the badgers were blocked, and at the seven minute mark the Badgers had fewer two-point makes than Michigan had blocked shots.

While the Badgers had a couple of blocks as well, the defensive effort by Michigan to alter shots was notable throughout the game and made life tough for the Wisconsin offense.

Michigan finished with nine total blocks on the night, and it was very apparent that the early blocks shifted what the Badgers attempted to do for the remainder of the game.

Up next: The Badgers will have a chance for redemption on Friday with a matchup against Rutgers at 8 p.m. CST in Piscataway, New Jersey. The game will be aired on FS1.