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Least Bad Plays: Wisconsin 2019

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The offense had a rough outing at the Kohl Center.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan — nor any team in the country, for that matter — is no longer undefeated.

The Wolverines dropped a 64-54 road trip to Wisconsin Saturday, providing their worst offensive performance since the second game of the season against Holy Cross.

The offense limped to .82 points per possession and just barely cracked 40 percent shooting (22-of-54 from the field). Meanwhile, despite spurts of excellent defense by Jon Teske, Badger center Ethan Happ amassed 26 points (on 22 shots), 10 rebounds and seven assists.

This leads us to introduce a new segment. When Michigan loses, it’s no longer about the Top Plays, but the Least Bad ones.

In a game Michigan led with eight minutes left, there were indeed some bright spots.

Austin Davis provides decent shift on Ethan Happ

Just before the first media timeout, Teske received his first foul. John Beilein quickly pulled him out to prevent any foul trouble on the best bet to slow Happ.

Enter Austin Davis, who actually managed to hold his own against one of the nation’s best. While he ceded six points in seven minutes, he also executed two pick-and-rolls for four points.

He also snared two rebounds in traffic.

He probably stayed on the floor for too long, as the Badgers pulled ahead 16-11 before he left for the bench. However, if one said Austin Davis would almost match Happ point-for-point in his shift, you take that any day.

Late surge gives Michigan 27-25 lead at halftime

If you had any doubt about Teske’s importance to this defense, think about this following sequence in the first half:

With the Wolverines trailing by five, he locked down Happ and the Badger offense for a 5:23 scoring drought. It included a poking steal to get Zavier Simpson in transition to put Michigan up 19-16.

Skip to 0:52.

The 7-foot-1 interior force also swatted four shots, mostly in the opening 20 minutes.

This allowed the offense time to surge for the lead at halftime. First, Jordan Poole capped off a solid first half, converting a three-point play to get to 11 points.

He would hit just one more three to finish with 14 points (5-of-15 overall from the field).

Now down just one, Charles Matthews weaved around the Wisconsin defense, drawing two defenders. He whipped it out to Simpson, who drained a trey to take the 27-25 lead into the locker room.

Speaking of which, the junior point guard is now connecting on 33 percent (17-of-51) of his threes — a boost of nearly four percentage points from last year.

Teske gets the bounce

The second half was all about keeping the Badgers at arm’s length.

While that eventually fell through, Teske did everything he could. He canned a trey to give Michigan the 34-29 lead — its largest of the afternoon.

The shot knuckled off the back of the rim and somehow got the lucky bounce needed.

His final stat line was efficient: 15 points (on 10 shots), seven rebounds, the aforementioned four blocks and two steals.

His efforts, however, couldn't make up for just five combined points from Matthews and Ignas Brazdeikis. The latter went scoreless for the first time in his collegiate career.

Isaiah Livers thunder dunk

The Wolverines were not able to score much in transition, recording just eight on a day where the shots — at least the ones Wisconsin allowed to get off — weren't falling.

With the Badgers creeping closer midway in the half, though, Isaiah Livers rattled the rim with a thunderous slam on a fast break.

He only scored five points in Madison, though his other basket gave Michigan brief life in the waning moments.

Late threes keep Wolverines within striking distance

Teske expended a lot of energy to stop Happ. Without a break though (and with Happ getting a five-minute breather), he started to fade late.

Happ tallied 12 of his 26 points in the final eight minutes, boosting Wisconsin to 54-48 lead in the final minutes.

Teske mustered one final bit of energy, picking and popping for a three to draw within a possession. After falling behind again by six, Livers made a fadeaway to get to 57-54 with a minute to go.

Those would be the last times Michigan stayed within a possession. The Badgers closed out the 10-point upset win, and its fans stormed the court.