ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Following the No. 5 Michigan basketball team’s 70-62 win over Western Michigan Saturday, 247Sports beat writer Zach Shaw broke down his five takeaways from the game. You can watch in the video above or read about them below.
1) Saturday was about as close to a trap game as it gets
Michigan missed nine layups. Western Michigan made contested shots and saw an epic performance from Michael Flowers. The Wolverines faced foul trouble and had several players on off nights. Michigan couldn’t strong together smart, effective possessions when it had a chance to put the game away. College basketball is full of trap games and upsets, and the Wolverines showed they aren’t quite bulletproof.
2) Be grateful for Charles Matthews
Michigan did survive its trap game, however, largely thanks to Charles Matthews. The redshirt junior guard scored a season-high 25 points, 10 rebounds and three steals. His 13 points during the Wolverines’ game-changing 24-4 run midway through the game proved to be the difference in the contest.
3) And for Western’s turnover woes
The Broncos entered the game with one of the worst turnover rates in the country, and continued that trend with a whopping 16 turnovers on 67 possessions. They now rank 320th out of 353 teams nationally in turnover rate. More importantly, Michigan gained a 20-8 edge over the Broncos in points off of turnovers, picking up almost a third of its scoring in transition alone.
4) Big men might have a small problem
It’s not something Michigan will panic about, but the Wolverines’ trio of steady big men Jon Teske, Ignas Brazdeikis and Isaiah Livers combined for just 10 points on 4-for-17 shooting and a 2-for-7 clip from the free-throw line. All three should be fine, but it will be interesting to see if the Broncos — who boast larger, physical big men comparable to teams like Wisconsin, Ohio State, Indiana and others — drew up a blueprint to contain Michigan, or just caught all three on an off night.
5) Michigan was likely going to have a game like this
In a way, the next month is almost a no-win situation for the Wolverines. Michigan has already shown what it can do on some of the game’s biggest stages, so will either lose its edge coasting in relatively meaningless games with plenty of rest in-between, or struggle against mid-major teams and lose confidence. Saturday left plenty to be desired, but the Wolverines were also bound to have a sub-par performance at some point, and Western Michigan isn’t a bad team to do so against.