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Stat Watch: The numbers behind Michigan’s offensive drought the last five games

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The Wolverines have scored under a point per possession in three of their last five games.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Over the last five games, Michigan has averaged 61.2 points per game.

The No. 347 scoring offense in the country is New Hampshire, who averaged the same number. There are 353 NCAA Division I teams, which would place the Wolverines as the seventh-worst offense in the country — at least over the last few weeks.

The tempo-adjusted figures provide only a slightly more favorable picture. From the 64-54 loss at Wisconsin until today, John Beilein’s offense has scraped just barely over a point per possession — good for No. 208 nationally.

The statistics don’t lie: Michigan is slumping offensively. The factors contributing to the drought are:

Horrendous field goal percentage

According to Bart Torvik, Michigan’s 44 percent effective field goal rate ranks No. 329 amongst all teams over the same timeframe.

This includes a 45.7 percent clip from two and a paltry 27.9 percent from behind the arc.

The average eFG% is 50.7. This is how Michigan performed in the last five games:

  • Iowa: 38.5 percent
  • Ohio State: 50 percent
  • Indiana: 51.7 percent
  • Minnesota: 36.2 percent
  • Wisconsin: 45.4 percent

The Wolverines eclipsed the national average just once. This has been weighed down by scattershot shooting from deep. including an 8-of-33 outing against the Hawkeyes and a 3-of-22 night versus the Golden Gophers.

As Kyle Yost put it, Michigan has lived, and is currently dying, by the three.

Few second-chance opportunities

Michigan has rarely been a program under John Beilein that makes up for bad shooting with offensive rebounds. During cold stretches, this leaves further scoring opportunities off the table.

Only the 2013 Mitch McGary squad beat the national average in offensive boards. Despite one of the taller teams in the country, this year’s team scoops up just 26.3 percent of its own misses (No. 242 nationally).

That number dipped to 21.7 percent over the recent five-game stretch.

Not getting to the free throw line

Outside of Ignas Brazdeikis, no Wolverines rank in the top-500 players nationally in getting to the free throw line.

As a whole, Michigan gets to the charity stripe just 29.8 percent of the time, just No. 266 in the country. The opportunities over the past few weeks have dried up even further, as the numbers fell to just 23.1 percent.

Despite the perception, though, of Michigan’s — particularly Zavier Simpson and Charles Matthews’ — woes at the free throw line, the Wolverines have capitalized on the few extra scoring chances they’ve had.

The team has converted on 55-of-69 freebies, good for over 79 percent. That is over 11 percentage points better than the season average.

In fact, the 14-of-22 effort from the line against Minnesota maximized the scoring output, and helped save Michigan from a bad home upset.

Not enough points in transition

How do you generate offense when you can’t hit shots, don’t get second-chances and aren’t generating free points at the line?

You run. Unfortunately for Michigan, opponents have stayed step-for-step with the transition offense.

Over the five-game stretch, the Wolverines have produced just 32 fast-break points (an average of just 6.4 a contest).


Michigan may be able to shoot itself out of this slump. Three of the top-six rotation players connect on over 37 percent of their three-pointers (Jordan Poole, Isaiah Livers and Brazdeikis).

However, a starting lineup with three streaky shooters (Simpson, Matthews and Jon Teske) means that Beilein may have to find alternative ways to manufacture points.

The nation’s top-ranked defense can only give the offense so much time to find its way.