Men's Basketball

Freshman forward Ignas Brazdeikis shot 4-of-18 from the field against Minnesota on Tuesday.

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.

Sophomores Jordan Poole and Isaiah Livers combined for just 10 points on 3-for-13 shooting Tuesday night..

As those four excruciating minutes passed, with the refs reviewing every angle of a slowed-down Matthews releasing the ball, all Minnesota could do was stand and wait and hope.

A few milliseconds made the difference between what could have been one of the Golden Gophers’ biggest performances in years and just another game that ended in heartbreak.

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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.

Michigan coach John Beilein's goal wasn't to be undefeated this season.

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.

Charles Matthews had three turnovers and just five points in Michigan's 64-54 loss at Wisconsin.

So when the Kohl Center crowd rose to its feet as Wolverines coach John Beilein signaled for a timeout with four minutes to play and his team trailing by six, Michigan had no answers.

“We just needed to capitalize,” said sophomore guard Jordan Poole. “But we also haven’t been in a situation like this too many times.”

Freshman forward Ignas Brazdeikis was held scoreless in Michigan's loss at Wisconsin.

What is clear is this: Wisconsin forced Michigan to play on its terms Saturday.

Each team had 64 possessions. They were slow, monotonous and ended in frustration more often than not. That’s Wisconsin basketball.

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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.

Wisconsin forward Ethan Happ sat down with The Daily at Big Ten Media Day.

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.

Zavier Simpson was heavily recruited by Wisconsin before choosing Michigan.

On Saturday afternoon, the Michigan men’s basketball team will stake its claim to be the nation’s top-ranked team for the first time in half a decade.

If it does, Zavier Simpson will have helped the Wolverines defeat the school he almost attended.

In his 12th season at the helm, Michigan coach John Beilein has the Wolverines out to the best start in program history.

Chris Collins stepped up to the podium last Sunday, faced with the unenviable task of putting into words a summation of his team’s 80-60 loss to No. 2 Michigan.

“Seventeen teams have tried,” the Northwestern men’s basketball coach said. “And 17 have failed.”