If there’s anyone who hasn’t really sold out in Michigan basketball, Tuesday night at the Crisler Center has changed their mind.
Fifth-seeded Wolverines put on one of the most impressive performances in all college basketball this season in an astonishing 77-54 win over No. 9 Wisconsin.
Michigan choked off the Badger attack, ending the first half 14-0 in the 5:27 final to advance 17 points to the end of the first half. And the defeat did not stop there: Wolverines opened the second half with a score of 29-3 to extend their lead to 40.
Four different players reached double digits, led by Mike Smith, who scored 16 points in 6 of 9 shots with six assists. Franz Wagner added 15 on 7 of 10 shots, while Isaiah Leavers scored 13.
With the victory, Michigan (11-0, 6-0 Big Teen) created more space to breathe at the top of the conference standings.
Michigan’s defense has improved by leaps and bounds since the start of the season, and Wolverines’ team saved their best as the 10th most efficient in attack.
The veteran Wisconsin side appeared shocked at times when they tried to score against a confident and aggressive defense. The Badgers entered the game with the third-lowest turnover in the country, but made seven turns on their own in the first half, including several turns that turned into a separate throw or Wolverines throw-up.
Wagner alone had four robberies, which disrupted passing lanes and the ball’s drop. UM also set the tone six blocks early in the first half alone.
It was amazing to watch seasoned players like goalkeeper Brad Davison and striker Nate Reoffers throw wild shots who had no chance to enter; The big duo met to film only 3 of 14 in the first half.
One impressive statistic: between the 5:27 mark in the first half and the score of 12:16 in the second half, Wisconsin scored one field goal and scored three points.
Livers plays one of the best games of his career
Livers played a lot of basketball in the four years he spent in Michigan. However, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to consider Tuesday’s performance as the best match of his career.
In a high-stakes match, the elder was locked up from the opening party. Wisconsin attempted to post Reuvers to Livers upon first acquisition, only for Livers – who is giving up four inches of height – to block a shot.
Livers were everywhere. He scored the first four points from UM, then hit the big two 3s as the Wolverines proved their lead in the first half. He locked everyone who was guarding him and his second window of the game came over the edge. He pulled five rebounds.
He also had two assists: one to Chandni Brown versus 3, and the other to Brandon Jones for corner 3 after he crossed Livers over his defender and made him fall. The game clearly means a lot to Livres, and his energy and passion have passed on to his team-mates.
Their ceiling is clear
Michigan’s non-convention schedule wasn’t particularly strong, but the Wolverines ended any questions about the validity of their strong start. They have now played three consecutive ranked competitors, with each team ranked higher than the last, and won in an increasingly more decisive manner. Michigan beat Northwestern by 19, then blew up Minnesota with 25, and on Tuesday night, the Badgers, which should still be considered one of the best in the country, disintegrated.
The Wolverines clearly have all the tools to compete for the Big Ten and a national title. They have a deep spin for players who understand their roles and play unselfishly; They have two players in Eli Brooks and Wagner who could be considered the best defenders in the conference in their respective positions; They have a new star in Dickinson, he entered the game with an average of 18 points; And they have a coaching staff that has proven to be able to unleash the full potential of this team every night. There is still a long way to go, but for now, Michigan is playing like every other team in the country.
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