Takeaways from Michigan’s terrible loss to Minnesota

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This one could have been much uglier than it was.

The Michigan Wolverines fell at home to the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Saturday night, 75-65. If it hadn’t been for a short run in the second half, the Wolverines could have lost twice as much. There are a lot of things this team need to improve ahead of their next Big Ten game after the New Year.

Here are three things to remember after losing.

Michigan was punched in the mouth to start the second half and didn’t respond well

Thanks to Minnesota, because after Michigan dominated the boards and looked like the better team in the first 20 minutes, the Golden Gophers started the second half on fire and never looked back.

Payton Willis and Jamison Battle capitalized on the beauty Michigan couldn’t answer and dug a really big hole. Michigan couldn’t get saves for much of that game as there seemed to be a lot of misunderstanding over switches to go with poor fencing and inconsistent inside defense.

The Wolverines have a knack for going bucket-for-bucket in games like this, but they just couldn’t get any open shots and forced a lot of looks to try and keep up with the Golden Gophers.

With Minnesota playing their best basketball, there have been far too many times Michigan has looked shy and looked like a young team that didn’t know what to do with no momentum and no lead at home.

Those tough stretches are when Michigan needs a ranger to get together and get a few big buckets. Eli Brooks was this guy before, but didn’t hunt his own shot much in this game as he was well guarded. DeVante ‘Jones tried to be that guy and got a few clutch buckets, but made a lot of mistakes and had a weird selection of shots. Caleb Houstan was seen as a potential man of confidence, but at times struggled to be self-confident. He blocked his first shot of the match and sort of vanished.

Confidence losses like the ones the Wolverines showed ended up being deadly, and their defensive mistakes combined with offensive woes made a comeback nearly impossible.

A tale of two halves for Hunter Dickinson

As dominant as he was last season, he was a bit predictable: he could end up on dump downs and dominate the offensive glass. Aside from those bunnies, he got the majority of his points in the half court on a hook shot with his left hand on his right shoulder.

Dickinson showed major improvements in attack in this game, especially in the first half. His first bucket of the game was a turnaround at the post with a friendly roll, and he settled in from there conceding another mid-range shot before draining an 18-footer.

After almost pulling a double-double in the first half, Dickinson didn’t look good in the second half. As good a passer as he could be, he sometimes had tunnel vision and was a bit of a black hole trying to get into a rhythm. He also got a little overconfident in that outside shot, making a three and never quite got into the same pace after that.

The Hunter Dickinson we saw in the first half is a true NBA player, but the Hunter Dickinson we saw in the second half didn’t help the Wolverines much. He needs to be more consistent for the Wolverines in order to avoid offensive mistakes like they did in this game.

This offense is painful to watch sometimes

All the offensive mistakes that plagued the Wolverines throughout the season have surfaced in this game.

From the 10:22 mark to the 6:09 mark in the second half, the Wolverines have not scored a single point. Stretches like this are going to be deadly in the Big Ten game, especially against a good team like Minnesota.

There have been far too many times guys watching Dickinson at the station. They need to cut more and can’t rely on ball screens to reach the rim.

Despite the issues, there were some bright spots in this second half. Jones drove all the way to the rim and did some tough layups to keep Michigan in single digits for most of the half, and was a pleasant surprise at times offensively. He still made silly plays and had a selection of weird moves, but he’s the best version of himself when he can use his speed to go down a hill.

Despite a modest seven points, Moussa Diabate had one of his best games of the year, which is even more impressive when you remember that he didn’t even make the trip to Nebraska because of a non-COVID disease. He’s put in a huge effort on both ends of the court and has such a high basketball IQ in terms of post positioning and fouls when he’s near the edge. He had 13 rebounds, a game high, and made a lot of plays to keep this game tight. Brandon Johns Jr. won’t have that starting spot anytime soon.

It was also heartening to see Michigan continue its own momentum to reduce a 16-point deficit to a six-point deficit. They haven’t shown that 3/4 press on the pitch for a long time, but with Diabate up front forcing Minnesota’s turnovers, there was a brief moment it looked like Michigan could pull off their comeback.

But the Wolverines failed and made costly mistakes down the stretch to lose in double digits.

Scoring droughts and a lack of consistent shot selection has killed the Wolverines all year and if they can’t figure out how to set a more offensive pace or how to respond to the other team’s runs, it will be a problem. tough battle to even make the NCAA tournament.

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