The statistical carnage from Saturday in Wisconsin is admittedly startling.
The offense scuffled mightily in Michigan’s 64-54 road loss to the Badgers. In particular:
- The Wolverines scored .82 points per possession, which is .32 lower than their season average.
- They shot 47.2 percent on twos (nearly six percentage points lower than their average) and 27.8 percent on threes (nearly nine percentage points lower).
- 16 turnovers, which occurred on 24.2 percent of possessions. This is nearly 10(!) percentage points higher than normal.
The only good news? The John Beilein era is replete with examples where his offense struggled in one or two outings, only to recover by tournament time.
Here’s a breakdown of Michigan’s three best offenses under Beilein versus how they looked on their worst days.
2012-13 (No. 1 offense per Ken Pomeroy, NCAA Finalists)
Beilein produced effective offenses in his first five seasons, but this one was the true breakout.
High efficiency. Superb shooting (No. 11 nationally). Lowest turnover rate in the country. All due to a starting lineup that produced five NBA Draft picks, including Naismith winner Trey Burke.
Much like this year's team, the offensive dominance dissipated on a road trip to a hostile environment. This time, it was Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
The results in the 56-53 loss to the Buckeyes:
- .88 points per possession (.33 lower than average)
- 44.4 percent on twos (nearly nine percentage points lower) and 30 percent on threes (eight points lower)
- Turnovers on 22 percent of possessions (nearly eight points higher)
How did Michigan respond? It blitzed Minnesota merely days later in Minneapolis.
Even with another clunker at East Lansing, it didn’t deter the 2012-13 team from barreling through defenses en route to the national championship game.
2013-14 (No. 3 offense per Ken Pomeroy, Elite 8)
Technically, this offense was even better than the year before. It scored a full two points more per possession that the 2012-13 unit and full percentage point better in effective field goal percentage.
The credit goes to the sharpshooting due of Nik Stauskas and Caris Levert. The former was simply cold-blooded, able to push Michigan to win for the first time ever in Kohl Center.
One place that remained a House of Horrors? Assembly Hall in a 63-52 defeat.
- Scored under a point per possession (.28 lower than normal) only weeks after blistering performances against No. 3 Wisconsin, No. 10 Iowa and No. 3 MSU.
- Shot just 3-of-13 from behind the arc (23 percent, a full 17 percentage points lower than average).
Despite the speed bump, Michigan charged to a Big Ten regular season title. Only a last-second trey by Kentucky’s Aaron Harrison prevented a return trip to the Final Four.
2016-17 (No. 4 offense per Ken Pomeroy, Sweet 16)
The amount of shooting talent on this team was incredible.
The five-out offense was in full effect, as six rotation players shot better than 34 percent from three — five shot better than 37 percent.
Sometimes, though, the ball bounces wrong. The Wolverines found this out early in the season at South Carolina.
The Gamecocks surged to the Final Four on the back of the nation’s third-ranked efficiency defense. Michigan:
- Scored .74 points per possession (nearly half a point lower than average). It’s still the lowest output under John Beilein since Ken Pomeroy started posting the stat in 2012-13.
- Shot an astonishing 8-of-26 on twos (26 percentage points lower) and an unreal 2-of-26 on threes (25 points lower).
- Nearly doubled its turnover rate en route to 16 giveaways.
By the end of the year, that same offense romped to the Big Ten Tournament title, notching 1.15 points per possession in four wins.
The next weekend, it toasted a top-10 defense in Louisville in Moe Wagner’s coming out party to America.
The only difference between these three offenses and the 2018-19 version? This year’s unit ranks well outside the top-five in efficiency at No. 24 overall.
There is concern that some of last year’s woes are starting to crop up again. That would ignore that the offense has looked elite for much of the season.
The struggles may continue past Madison, but offense is John Beilein’s calling card.
Don’t expect it to stay down for too long.