In their upset win over then-No. 15 Connecticut on Sunday, the Wolverines learned that they can win games on defense.

Matchup: Michigan (3-2 Big Ten, 10-7 overall) at Wisconsin (4-2, 14-4)

Where: Kohl Center

When: Wednesday at 8:30 p.m.

TV:Big Ten Network

Live Blog:

“Even if you shoot 10 percent, you can hold the opponent to nine percent,” sophomore forward Zack Novak said after the game.

Tonight, the recharded Michigan squad faces a Wisconsin team that learned the same thing long ago.

There’s no question Michigan’s effort on defense has been improving, and the Wolverines had their best defensive game this weekend. They shut down a much larger Connecticut team in the post for most of the first half and in the second, they continued to play well despite foul trouble.

“It’s just what we’re hanging our hat on,” Novak said. “Especially with our offensive woes that we’ve had. Defense is a constant. You can always play defense.”

While Connecticut shot better than the Wolverines from the floor — 42 percent to just 37 percent for Michigan on the game — the Wolverines held the Huskies to 1-of-11 from beyond the arc and forced 17 turnovers.

Thursday’s defensive effort against Indiana was equally impressive. Michigan limited the Hoosiers to just 45 points, the lowest total the Wolverines have allowed from any opponent this season.

But Michigan is up against a team with a more established defense than its own tonight.

The Wolverines (3-2 Big Ten, 10-7 overall) head to the Kohl Center in Madison, one of college basketball’s toughest venues, to face Wisconsin, a team predicated on slow, half-court style play and a tremendous defensive effort.

That defense has brought the Badgers (4-2, 14-4) from a team pegged to finish somewhere in the middle of the conference before the season to a No. 18 national ranking, the third-highest among Big Ten teams behind just Michigan State and Purdue, Michigan’s next two opponents after Wisconsin.

“People doubted them coming in this year, but they play outstanding defense, and that’s why they’re ranked where they’re at,” sophomore gaurd Stu Douglass said. “We have to match that. We can’t just come out and overpower them offensively, we have to play our part on defense.”

It will be difficult to beat the Badgers at their own game, but the task is even more daunting given that Michigan hasn’t beaten Wisconsin at the Kohl Center in more than a decade, and that the Badgers are riding a 15-game home winning streak.

The last time Michigan beat the Badgers, Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan was not yet in the picture. In his nine years in Madison, Ryan has built the Badgers into a fundamentally sound defensive team that maintains a slow tempo, consistently frusterating Michigan in years past.

“They just do not beat themselves,”Michigan coach John Beilein said at Monday’s Big Ten teleconference. “They play tremendous fundamental basketball, and when you’re on the road, just like any other time you are on the road, you need to be a lot better than the other team to win.”

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