Everyone knows about Luke Yaklich and Michigan’s No. 1 efficiency defense. It’s a tale as old as time at this point.
The other side of the ball, despite John Beilein’s well-documented offensive mastery, hasn’t received the same credit. Call it chopped Isaiah Livers.
There’s some reasoning behind the disrespect. Michigan’s offense scuffled down the stretch last March, failing to score over a point per possession in five of six NCAA Tournament games. To start the year, the Wolverines stumbled to 0.9 points a possession versus Norfolk State and Holy Cross.
Today, the offense is No. 17 in adjusted offense nationally after demolitions of several top-50 defenses. Remove the first two clunkers, and it’d be even higher.
First, an explanation:
Bart Torvik evaluates teams via his T-Rank metric, which measures tempo-free stats. This basically accounts for teams that score due to more possessions, rather than actual efficiency.
With that out of the way, his site allows the user to measure team performance over certain time periods. If you take Michigan from the Villanova game forward, it’s the No. 5 offense in the country.
The Wolverines have scored over a point per possession in each of the past eight games. In five of those contests, it surged over 1.2 points a game, which is right in the range of elite attacks like Duke and Gonzaga.
Many of the other offensive numbers look good for that same stretch.
- Coughing up turnovers on only 14.4 percent of possessions (No. 15 nationally)
- Hitting two-pointers at a 55 percent clip (No. 69 nationally)
- Sinking over 40 percent of three-pointers (No. 21 nationally)
Moreover, these performances are coming against solid opposition. The overall defensive efficiency (Ken Pomeroy) during the same time span:
- Scored 1.15 points per possession at No. 40 Villanova
- Scored 1.2 points per against No. 33 North Carolina
- Scored 1.23 points per against No. 47 Purdue
- Scored 1.02 points per at No. 32 Northwestern
- Scored 1.25 points per against No. 61 South Carolina (entered top-50)
The eye test shows a burgeoning offense with the growth of Jordan Poole, Ignas Brazdeikis and Jon Teske.
Drop the first two glorified scrimmages, and the numbers tell the story of an elite offense combining with the nation's best defense.