Thursday, February 13, 2014

Defensive Score Sheet - Michigan 70, Ohio State 60

Just like he did in a road win at Michigan State Michigan's Derrick
Walton Jr., was the catalyst in leading U-M to a win at OSU. (AP)

It hasn't even been a full season of Derrick Walton's college career and he's already being put on a pedestal next to Trey Burke. Burke, of course, led Michigan to last year's NCAA Championship game as a sophomore and has had a solid rookie year for the NBA's Utah Jazz this season.

While I wouldn't put Walton in the same neighborhood as Burke I can see why people are quick to make the comparisons. Walton seems to have a great handle on the speed of the game and his hesitation dribbles and pick-and-roll sets and in Michigan's two biggest road games - at Michigan State and at Ohio State - it was Walton who led his team to victory down the stretch.

His defense is coming around as well. Not only did he record a double-double in Tuesday's 70-60 win over the Buckeyes (nine of his 10 rebounds were defensive boards) but the way he boxed out and defended all game was terrific. It should be noted the final basket he allowed was a basic ole with Michigan up by double digits in the closing seconds.


Here's the defensive score sheet from Michigan's 70-60 win at Ohio State - its first win in Columbus since 2003:



Takeaways

  • Caris LeVert, as has been said here before, is a key Michigan defender. When he's locked in defensively his length will create so many problems.
  • Nik Stauskas continues to struggle defensively. I don't think its as much of Stauskas' defensive game being fueled either positively or negatively based on his offensive game. I think it's just that Stauskas is an average defender at best. His biggest attribute is his length but he gets caught up in screens and quicker guards can shake him easily. 
  • For the first time in weeks Glenn Robinson III had a terrific defensive game (-2.0 compared to the team DRtg). It isn't that GR III has been terrible but his DRtg has tended to be a tad higher than the team average. (GR III's numbers were +3.2 vs. Iowa, +0.7 at Wisconsin, +2.2 at Duke). Now, to be fair, the last Michigan game I charted before Tuesday's game was at Michigan State where GR III was -1.8 to Michigan's overall DRtg. Maybe he's like Walton in that his defense excels in the biggest games of the season. (UPDATE: GR III was -7.7 in Michigan's 72-70 loss earlier this year to Arizona).
  • The Aaron Craft narrative continues to take a small hits game by game. I'm not in Dan Dakich territory in terms of how much praise I think Craft deserves but I do understand most of what he says. Craft is really a special player that makes everyone around him better and has a great handle on the game. Rare do we see defensive-first point guards with the constant effort that Craft exerts. That being said, Craft is still human (whether Dakich wants you to believe it or not). He makes plenty of mistakes to go with his great plays - most of which are minimized by enamored announcers. Craft airballed a key 3-point shot and had some sloppy turnovers against Michigan. As I wrote after OSU's loss at MSU earlier this year, Craft's defense is all connected to his forced turnover rate. If he's forcing three, four or even five turnovers his numbers will look spectacular. If it's a ho-hum game (like the two TOs forced vs. Michigan) he'll be "exposed" to a degree because, contrary to popular belief, he does allow baskets to be made. To put it in comparison, Craft's numbers vs. Michigan compared to his team's were similar to Zak Irvin's numbers compared to his team's. I don't hear the "Zak Irvin had a great game" talk.

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The Defensive Score Sheet Project's initial explanation is here. More concise explanations are in this post, but here is a short rundown:
  • Min - Minutes played
  • DREB - Defensive Rebounds
  • FM - Forced field goal miss (includes blocks)
  • FTO - Forced Turnover (steals, charges taken)
  • FFTA - Forced missed Free Throw Attempt
  • DFGM - Allowed Defensive Field Goal Made
  • DFTM - Allowed Free Throw Made
  • DRtg - Defensive Rating (Gives players credit for stops and scoring possessions)
*The DRtg is most important part of a defensive score sheet as it is the analog of an offensive rating. If a player was on the floor for 100 of his team's defensive possessions, the DRtg calculates the number of points the opposition would score.

[NOTE: Deuce2Sports' defensive charting has been noted on Sports Illustrated's Web site twice this season by college basketball writer Luke Winn.]

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