The Michigan Wolverines found themselves on the wrong side of an overtime thriller at the Kohl Center Saturday afternoon. The Wisconsin Badgers proved to be too tough to handle in their own house, and the Wolverines have fallen out of first place in the Big Ten Conference standings as a result.
But they can’t afford to let the disappointment linger. Not with a trip to the Breslin Center to visit the in-state rival Michigan State Spartans up next. MSU is right there with the Wolverines in the thick of the regular season title race, so this in-state battle carries some serious implications.
Michigan was minus big man Jordan Morgan against Wisconsin, who has been bogged down by a nagging ankle injury as of late. His absence was noticeable down low in the paint where the Badgers found success on offensive rebounds and second-chance put-backs throughout the contest.
The Wolverines will also need to move the ball well and get open looks from mid-range and beyond the perimeter against the Spartans. After shooting 58.7 percent beyond the arc against the Ohio State Buckeyes Tuesday night, Michigan sank only five of its 18 three-point attempts (27.8%) against the Badgers. Wisconsin needed a crazy buzzer-beater to get the game to overtime and eventually sink the Wolverines, but Michigan had its chances to put them away before the end of regulation and failed to do so.
Against the Spartans, execution—as always—will be key. Michigan is doing a great job of not turning the ball over, but isn’t always capitalizing on good shooting chances or creating them to begin with. Jordan Horford started in place of Morgan but provided no offense in the post and isn’t contributing enough to garner a considerable amount of minutes.
Freshman Mitch McGary has been busy proving he’s Michigan’s best big man, but he can’t do it alone.
Hopefully Morgan will be healthy enough to suit up in East Lansing Tuesday, but he may see another game of rest to let the injury fully heal. With or without him, this will be one of the biggest games of Michigan’s season. Therefore no time can be spent dwelling about the loss to Wisconsin.