While the Hoosiers self-destructed, the fifth-ranked Wolverines (19-1 overall, 8-1 Big Ten) continued to play basketball. They cruised to a 69-46 win that, thanks to an opening sequence that sent Assembly Hall into a fugue, rarely seemed that close.
The bigger problem, though, is that Michigan has no discernable solution. On Saturday, Beilein attributed the offensive woes to his team’s 16 turnovers. Against Minnesota, the Wolverines slashed that number to six, but were equally unimpressive, undone by a lack of ball movement.
Michigan stood on the cusp of disaster, and Ignas Brazdeikis started a drive. When he finished it, things hadn’t gotten much better — a layup attempt falling short, the game still tied, a double-digit lead still blown, overtime still waiting with two seconds to go.
For everyone else, too, it had been a while since they’d made mistakes like that, been outplayed like that or lost like that. Other than a 62-60 scare in Evanston in early December, there hadn’t been any semblance of trouble all season. Now that they’ve hit some struggles, the Wolverines are better equipped to correct them.
Michigan was bound to lose sometime and here it was, a game full of offensive woes and turnovers and giving Wisconsin just a little too much room to get back into the game until finally, it cascaded in the Wolverines’ 64-54 loss. Michigan never led again.
Still, though, it’s a marked improvement from last season for Wisconsin, who went 15-18 in 2017-18 and missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 20 years. If the Badgers return to postseason play this season, it will be on the back of fifth-year senior forward Ethan Happ, a two-time All-Big Ten selection. The Daily sat down with Happ at Big Ten Media Day in October.