The weather was frigid but the atmosphere was heated both on the court and in the stands on Tuesday night. Ohio State came to Ann Arbor on a skid and ended with its lowest points per possession (0.79) all season. For Michigan, this is nothing new. The Buckeyes are the third straight team to post under 0.90 PPP and the sixth straight to not hit 1.00 PPP.
The Wolverines continue to be in love with the three ball, taking 27 attempts while only making 37 percent of them. At this point it is what it is, but as a spectator it is becoming increasingly infuriating to see these tendencies. Nevertheless, a win is a win, and it always feels great to beat down a rival.
Zavier Simpson is on this team for his defense and his leadership, both which were on display against the Buckeyes. However, he is a point guard as well, even though his offensive duties are often overlooked. Simpson used Tuesday night to make sure no one forgot about that.
For just the sixth time in program history, a Wolverine posted a triple-double. With an impressive line of 11/10/12, the most important number was his 12-to-0 assist-to-turnover ratio. Simpson is rarely asked to be the star, and he still has plenty of deficiencies (as seen by his 1-for-5 outside shooting), but he always takes care of the ball and makes everyone around him better.
Finding ways to score
Tuesday was Michigan’s highest scoring output in five games (1.05 PPP), although it did not always feel like it. In addition to the aforementioned three-point woes, the Wolverines were surprisingly unclinical at the rim, with multiple players missing layups and baskets underneath.
There was enough scoring to stay ahead, however. Jordan Poole had 15 points on an extremely inefficient night that saw him go 3-of-10 from deep. While many people want to see him “just keep shooting,” efforts like this will not work every game.
Ignas Brazdeikis was second in scoring and may be the best rim attacker on the team. He seems to always draw fouls and also was the most accurate Michigan shooter from behind the arc. His dynamic ability to score in multiple ways is an asset on a team that still is a little jump-shot happy.
All sorts of disarray
Ohio State is not enjoying its best season, but Michigan made things look even worse. The Buckeyes entered with a 19.1 percent turnover rate — and climbing — but had yet to hit the 30 percent mark until coming to Ann Arbor. In addition to their lowest points per game, they also posted their second-worst effective field goal rate (41.3 percent) this season.
This is the Michigan defense. The turnovers fluctuate, but there simply are no easy shots. Even the best performances only yield around 1.00 PPP and teams are consistently featuring some of their worst outings of the year when they play Michigan. As a result, the Wolverines have taken back the No. 1 overall adjusted defensive efficiency ranking on Kenpom.