Michigan’s 82-57 win over Minnesota was a solid defeat for a good side as it did in the Big Ten this year. The Wolverines dominated the second half by leaving the Golden Gophers No. 16 seed in the dust and never threatened after Minnesota made a late run in the first half.
The Gophers dropped six times in the stroke, but UM’s claustrophobic defense left little room to move.
“Michigan had a lot to do with it,” Minnesota coach Richard Bettino said of his team’s plight. “They were very good defensively. They were very physically defensive. They were taking us out of our gear. They were pressing the ball. So give them the credit. They did a great job on us, and defensively we didn’t do a great job on them.”
This is a bad combination, he said sarcastically, noting “You are likely to be on the other side of a tough game” when that is the case.
But it was all about giving UM credit. His group played well in the victories over Ohio and Michigan, two teams that also come with physical style, but not on Thursdays. He finished with only six assists, shot 7 of 28 from a range of three points and didn’t get much good looking.
The outstanding player Marcus Carr needed 15 shots to get 14 points, and the Gold Gophers went to the streak only 14 times.
“I don’t think it was a bad whistle in any way,” Bettino continued. “I think we were very shy. Instead of trying to get in there and attack their body, we were playing on the heels, turning our shoulders, and we had a lot of live ball flips. But they had a lot to do with that too. They were amazing.”
“I’m definitely upset that we haven’t played well by any means, but I think they have a really good balance. They have a guy in [Hunter] Dickinson (28 points) who puts a lot of pressure on you in the ball screens; Too big, too physical. Isaiah Livers has been a really good player in this league for a while. Franz Wagner has got the size.
“They are a talented team … a very talented team. Joan is doing a great job.”
He added that Dickinson was “exceptional”, comparing him to Luca Garza in Iowa in his ability to get the ball quickly and do something with it before they could catch or double the ball. He said he had never seen such a large proportions around the bucket, where everything he fired “kinda dies in the basket.”
Add it to the level of absolute dominance of a good basketball team.
“We’ve had great moments this year after 13 games, but three of them were really some losers. These three losers were up against some really good teams.” I think Michigan has as much talent as any team in the country I’ve seen. I think Juwan is doing a really good job convincing them to buy. ”