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Takeaways from Michigan’s loss over Rutgers

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Michigan’s defense needs to be more sound.

Michigan v Rutgers Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

That was an ugly loss for the Michigan Wolverines.

Rutgers got a double-digit lead in the first half with some hot shooting and never really looked back, as they beat Michigan handily at home, 75-67.

Michigan fans have to hope this game is a wake up call for both teams. They were without some key bench pieces (Brandon Johns Jr., Terrance Williams, Frankie Collins and Zeb Jackson), but that’s not an excuse to lose by three scores on the road

Here are some takeaways for the Wolverines.

Michigan beat itself on both ends of the floor

This game felt a whole like the loss to Minnesota, as Michigan allowed way too many open threes while not being able to answer to scoring runs with offense of their own.

Geo Baker and Ron Harper Jr. dominated Michigan, combining to score 47 points and shoot 8-of-13 from three to put away the Wolverines. The Scarlet Knights shot the deep ball well all night, making 47.8% of their threes. A lot of those shots were wide open, as communication lapses and bad perimeter defense killed the Wolverines.

Things weren’t much better on the offensive end, as Michigan forced a lot of threes to try and match Rutgers’ production. The shooting woes that have plagued the team reared their ugly heads again, as the Wolverines only made 20% of their shots from beyond the arc.

Michigan couldn’t even make its easy buckets tonight. Per Robbie Hummel on the Big Ten Network broadcast, they only made 19 of their 32 layups, missing a few bunnies in brutal moments.

The Wolverines allowed way too many open threes and missed way too many open looks of their own to win this game. They need to get more consistent on both ends, or else they can kiss their NCAA Tournament aspirations goodbye.

Dickinson and Diabate got their buckets inside, but they need to defend and rebound better

It was encouraging to see the Wolverines dominated in the paint, with Hunter Dickinson and Moussa Diabate leading the way down low.

Dickinson got great positioning inside, and utilized ball fakes well to earn 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting in the loss. Him and Diabate were the main reason why this game didn’t get out of hand. Diabate (15 points) looked good on the inside as well, driving to the rim with ease and continuing to finish through contact.

Despite having more points in the paint, Michigan didn’t have an interior presence on both sides of the floor.

They did very little to alter layups from the Scarlet Knights, and they lost the battle on the boards (Rutgers corralled 29 boards and eight offensive rebounds compared to 26 and six by Michigan), giving up crucial offensive rebounds to Clifford Omoruyi in the second half.

Michigan dominated in the post like it was supposed, but in order to effort comebacks like the one it needed tonight, it needs to box out and meet more opponents at the rim.

Michigan is in dire need of a confidence-boosting win.

This could have been a win that helped Michigan build momentum going into a tough stretch, as the Wolverines face Michigan State and Purdue at home, and Illinois on the road in the next 10 days.

Michigan’s body language looked all too familiar when it got down by multiple scores. You could see a lot of the players, especially the young guys, lose confidence and play with a woe-is-me mentality as they tried and failed to come back in the loss.

It’s been an ugly few games for the Wolverines, and they are in dire need of a big win to regain some confidence and get this season back on the right track.

Michigan has a lot to fix on both ends of the floor. If the Wolverines can manage to shock a few people and win two of those next three games, they can build off that momentum to hopefully save themselves from being cellar dwellers within the conference.