Michigan’s defense as if it doesn’t defend the paint.
In Saturday’s loss to Iowa, Michigan allowed Hawkeye forward Cyrus Tate to score 21 points, most of them on layups after dribble penetration. Illinois center Shaun Pruitt dumped 19 on Michigan last Wednesday, mostly off one-on-one plays in the post.
Tonight at Wisconsin, Michigan faces a player who is part-Pruitt and part-Tate: senior Brian Butch.
Michigan coach John Beilein described Butch as the type of player who can score off isolation or a pass from a dribble drive.
Sophomore Ekpe Udoh said getting better position, staying mobile and using his arm length are the keys to stopping Butch. Udoh knows the Wolverines don’t have the size to play physically with the 6-foot-11 Badger.
In Michigan’s 70-54 loss to the Badgers in the Big Ten opener, Butch was limited to just 16 minutes of play while 6-foot-10 Wisconsin freshman Jon Leuer hit a career-high 25 points in 24 minutes.
Not as fresh: Manny Harris went from a game-time decision to making game-deciding ones in Saturday’s loss to Iowa.
A foot injury he suffered last week has continued to bother him. And through 34 minutes against Iowa, he was almost a nonfactor on offense.
But that’s when the real Manny Harris got going.
He scored nine of his 11 points in the remaining five and half minutes to help cut a 16- point deficit to just three.
Trailing by eight with more than a minute left, Harris banked in a three while getting fouled and converted the free throw to give the Wolverines hope.
“He’s straight heart,” junior Jevohn Shepherd said. “He went out there and played his heart out on a bad foot.”
But that same passion spelled the end of the night for the Detroit native.
When he couldn’t get the steal on the inbounds play, Harris picked up his fifth foul to stop the clock.
“Sometimes, he plays too hard, and that’s just him,” sophomore DeShawn Sims said. “I’d rather have somebody play too hard than scared to play hard at all. He put everything on the line.”
Harris picked up all five fouls in the final three minutes of the game.
Pryor Engagement: Aside from a game over break against then-No. 8 UCLA, Saturday’s contest against unranked Iowa had the largest attendance of any game this season.
The game against the Hawkeyes outdrew the first two home Big Ten games, which were against ranked opponents Wisconsin and Indiana.
“We loved the outcome of the crowd,” freshman Kelvin Grady said. “Unfortunately, they can’t be out there to play for us. We want the crowd to be able to come in and see us doing great things on the floor and keep them going.”
Some of the 11,638 in attendance might have been on hand to urge highly touted football – and basketball – recruit Terrelle Pryor and others who were in town for their recruiting visits to attend Michigan.
The Athletic Department classified the Iowa game as the only Maize Out on Michigan’s schedule and offered a special Family Four Pack deal for the game.
According to Mark Riordan, the University’s associate athletic director for marketing, about 1,000 more tickets than normal were sold for this game, the Detroit Free Press reported.