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Phil Martelli discusses Will Tschetter’s improvements, preparing for Maryland rematch

The redshirt freshman has been a big spark plug off Michigan’s bench.

NCAA Basketball: Central Michigan at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Good things have been happening recently with Will Tschetter on the floor for the Michigan Wolverines. His playing time has gone up as of late and in the last two games, he combined to score 11 points across 21 minutes off the bench.

It doesn’t always show up in the box score, but Tschetter’s energy is contagious. He has been relied upon to bring energy on defense recently, as broken down in the video below by Ant Wright.

Associate head coach Phil Martelli said during his media availability on Wednesday the game is coming easier to Tschetter on both ends.

“The game is slowing down for him,” Martelli said. “I’m surprised how vocal he is defensively. Offensively, it’s starting to get slower, his stroke is pure. His three going in at Iowa, that lifted it. He still has to slow down, it’s all due to work. He puts in work and work and work. It’s not just his shot, but he looks at the offensive patterns, he understands the scouting report. The future is bright for him.”

Martelli went on the say Tschetter is the team’s best communicator on defense, with a few other returning players improving in that department.

“He’s the loudest,” Martelli said. “Jace is very good at communicating, Kobe is advancing in that area. Tarris Reed started that way in the summer and early workouts, but Tarris and Hunter have to quarterback the defense because they can see everything from the basket out. Will, Jace and Kobe are at the top of the list.”

After back-to-back road losses, Michigan earned a crucial home win on Sunday, beating Northwestern, 85-78. The next game for the Wildcats, scheduled for Jan. 18 against Iowa, was postponed due to a COVID outbreak within Northwestern’s program.

When asked about it, Martelli said he trusts Michigan’s medical staff to evaluate the situation.

“Michigan will make sure we’re well taken care of, we’re well prepared,” Martelli said. “Everybody is ahead of the curve, so it’s a blessing to be part of that Michigan culture that thinks of the players first, which is what has to happen in this case.”

Preparing for Maryland

Michigan is set to take on Maryland on the road on Thursday evening. Three Wolverines — Dickinson, Terrance Williams II, Dug McDaniel — are from the DMV. Martelli wants to make sure all three of them stay focused during the trip.

“Sometimes young players, when they go home, play for the wrong reasons,” Martelli said. “They play and worry about the people that are in the stands rather than the players that are with them on the court. The two older guys, Terrance and Hunter, have a pretty good sense that it’s going to be business as usual. With Dug, we will continue to take his temperature, but he’s excited about going home.”

The Wolverines played the Terrapins on Jan. 1 and dominated in an 81-46 victory, their largest margin of victory all season. They shut down Maryland by playing great defense, opening the game on a 17-0 run and only allowing 13 points in the first half, the fewest amount of points a Michigan team has given up in a half in program history.

Martelli said this team needs to stay on point defensively, as this young Wolverine squad can’t take Maryland for granted just because they blew them out the first time.

“We had great attention to detail defensively,” Martelli said. “We were very sharp defensively that day, and we’ll have to be the same. They’re a little bit of a different team at home; their last home game, they beat Ohio State. We have to be aware now, a young team playing a team that you’ve beat a second time, there can’t be any slippage.”