Michigan Basketball: Report Card Grades for the Loss to Ohio State
Despite falling behind by as many as 21 points, shooting less than 40 percent from the field and getting zero points from one of its starters, the Michigan Wolverines nearly pulled off a stunning comeback before bowing for the first time this season to the Ohio State Buckeyes.
All-American point guard Trey Burke's potential go-ahead three-pointer in the final seconds of the game rattled out and the Buckeyes made four straight free throws to close out the Wolverines 56-53 at Value City Arena in Columbus on Sunday afternoon.
There were not too many bright spots for Michigan in its bid to become the No. 1 team in the country for the first time in 20 years, so what grades would the Wolverines' starting five, bench and coaches receive on a report card for this game?
Click ahead to find out!
Trey Burke, Point Guard
Overall Game Grade: C
Although Trey Burke has played well beyond his years for much of the 2012-13 season, the sophomore point guard's youth and veteran Aaron Craft's lockdown defense was too much for the Michigan Wolverines to overcome on Sunday afternoon.
Burke entered the clash with the Ohio State Buckeyes averaging seven assists and just under two turnovers per game. Craft and the Buckeyes held Burke to four assists and forced him to turn the ball over four times.
The Columbus, Ohio native forced the issue too many times for the Wolverines, especially late in the game when Michigan had opportunities to take the lead after trailing by as many as 21 points.
The 6'0", 190-pounder nearly airballed a three-pointer in transition with three minutes left in the game and followed that up by throwing the ball away on the ensuing inbound pass under the basket.
Two possessions prior to that, Burke jacked up a contested jumper early in the shot clock instead of slowing down the tempo, running some offensive sets and getting a quality shot to either tie the game or take the lead with 5:10 remaining in the second half.
Despite his four-for-13 night from the field, Burke did have several shining moments as well en route to a 15-point performance.
Burke had a brilliant crossover on a fast break late in the first half to get an easy layup, made a slick bounce pass around a double team to freshman Mitch McGary for an open two and cut Ohio State's lead to four points with under eight minutes to go by getting some separation from Craft and knocking down an open jumper.
The officials cost Burke a chance at a three-point play after a steal and finish on a fast break with a little less than two minutes to play. Michigan had to take the ball out of bounds instead of getting more points on the board.
The preseason All-American had his potential go-ahead three-ball fall halfway down only to rattle out with 14 seconds left in regulation.
Unfortunately for the Wolverines, Burke's great plays were overshadowed by his poor shooting performance and relatively ineffective game at point guard.
Tim Hardaway Jr., Shooting Guard
Overall Game Grade: C
Much like Trey Burke, junior shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. struggled to knock down some open looks and never got into any kind of rhythm offensively.
Hardaway missed an open three-pointer early in the game, failed to finish multiple drives to the basket in large part because he drove right into the face of Ohio State's big men and threw the ball away during a four-on-two run out late in the first half.
The Miami, Fla. product caught fire in the second half though and helped the Wolverines pull within striking distance of the Buckeyes.
The 6'6", 205-pounder did a much better job of finishing at the rim and running the floor in transition for easy baskets, and he knocked down a three-pointer that cut Michigan's deficit to one point in the final 20 minutes of the game.
Like the rest of the Wolverines though, Hardaway lost some composure down the stretch after Michigan tied the game at 46-46 and settled for a couple of contested threes in the final five minutes.
One of those three-balls resulted in back-to-back possessions of forced jumpers from the Wolverines and ultimately allowed the Buckeyes to re-extend their lead to six points, which was too much for Michigan to overcome.
Hardaway finished the game five-for-15 from the field and one-of-six from behind the arc, with 12 points. The All-Big Ten performer's inefficient shooting contributed to Michigan's demise and as a result drops Hardaway's grade into the C range.
Glenn Robinson III, Small Forward
Overall Game Grade: C-
Everyone has been waiting for Michigan's freshmen to suffer a setback after consistently turning in outstanding performances with each passing game, and Glenn Robinson III struggled mightily against Ohio State's tenacious defense.
Robinson looked out of his element in the opening half of play, but he managed to pull things together in the final 20 minutes and hit some big shots for the Wolverines throughout the course of the game.
The true freshman small forward traveled in the lane, missed a box-out on Amir Williams that led to an immediate putback and fumbled a pass from Jordan Morgan along the baseline, which allowed Shannon Scott to notch an easy steal.
After those mishaps, Robinson wetted a three-pointer from the far corner to end Michigan's 7:20 field-goal drought and knocked down the game-tying trey with just under six minutes left in regulation.
Additionally, Robinson brought the Wolverines within two points with a little over one minute left to play by stealing a pass near half court and throwing down a thunderous dunk on the run-out.
Robinson's eight points on three-of-eight shooting came up short of the 12.3 points he had been averaging, but the main reason the St. John, Ind. native's grade took a big hit is because he only managed to pull down one rebound.
The Wolverines needed Robinson to crash the boards and keep Ohio State's big men at bay in order to win the rebounding battle and his absence in that department had a hand in Michigan's demise.
Nik Stauskas, Shooting Guard
Overall Game Grade: D-
None of Michigan's freshmen found out how difficult life can be for sharp-shooters in the Big Ten Conference more so than shooting guard Nik Stauskas did at Value City Arena on Sunday afternoon.
Stauskas failed to score for the first time in 17 career games at Michigan and only managed to get three shots off, all of which were heavily contested.
The more disturbing trend for Michigan though is the rate at which Ohio State attacked Stauskas when the Wolverines were on defense. Stauskas blew several assignments, got crossed up with Trey Burke a couple of times in the 2-3 zone and was beaten badly by both Shannon Scott and Deshaun Thomas.
The Mississauga, Ontario product saved himself from a failing grade by coming up with three steals and pulling down four rebounds for the Wolverines, but Stauskas did not have a significant impact on the game.
Although Stauskas did not single-handedly cost Michigan the game, his underwhelming performance derailed any hopes that the Wolverines had at stealing one from the Buckeyes on the road.
Jordan Morgan, Power Forward
Overall Game Grade: C-
It is always difficult to grade junior power forward Jordan Morgan, because his contributions rarely come in the form a a big scoring night. However, the 6'8", 250-pounder struggled more on the defensive end of the floor than when it came to putting the ball through the hoop in Michigan's first loss of the season.
Morgan finished both of his field-goal attempts at the rim and added another point at the charity stripe.
However, Morgan and the Wolverines failed to keep Ohio State's big men off of the glass and the Buckeyes consistently were able to attack Michigan's interior defense.
The Detroit, Mich. native did a good job of providing help defense near the perimeter and stepping up to stop some potential drives by Ohio State's guards, but that does not make up for the fact the Buckeyes drove right into the heart of Michigan's defense time after time and Morgan could never turn them away.
Morgan's offensive output and six rebounds save him from falling into the D range, though he still gave the Wolverines a subpar performance.
Overall Game Grade: B
Believe it or not, Michigan's reserves played an above-average game in the loss to Ohio State. Freshmen Spike Albrecht and Mitch McGary both turned in solid performances, which canceled out Caris LeVert's dismal game and Jon Horford's two minutes of action.
Albrecht performed better than any of Michigan's freshmen and finished with seven points. The Crown Point, Ind. native did all of his scoring in the first half and brought the Wolverines to life in the process.
Meanwhile, McGary scored six points and pulled down three boards in just 18 minutes of action. The 6'10", 250-pounder also blocked two shots and dished out an assist in the loss.
The Wolverines did not get much out of LeVert, who looked completely rattled and out of his element on the road against a nationally-ranked opponent in Big Ten play.
LeVert clanked two free throws and missed his only shot of the game, which was a wide open jumper from the top of the key.
The Pickerington, Ohio product also got lost on the defensive end multiple times, including the final play of the game when he allowed Lenzelle Smith Jr. to get by him and sprint up the floor to easily haul in a long inbound pass.
Horford played for the first time since Dec. 15th, but he only hauled in one rebound in his very limited action.
Overall Game Grade: B+
The Michigan coaching staff did all it could to prepare its team for a stingy Ohio State squad and helped the young Wolverines mount an unbelievable comeback that came up just short.
This game could have easily turned into one of the most lopsided contests in the Big Ten this season, but the Wolverines were resilient in their toughest test to date, managed to climb out of a 21-point hole and put themselves in a position to win the game.
Head coach John Beilein used his timeouts wisely and tried to stop the 29-8 run Ohio State opened the game with. Michigan finally got something going when Beilein inserted Spike Albrecht into the lineup and the coaching staff built off of the momentum the freshman point guard gave the Wolverines late in the first half.
Beilein balanced the rotation well and left the trio of Glenn Robinson III, Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. in for nearly the entire contest hoping one of them would finally catch fire and string together a run to give Michigan a chance to win down the stretch.
The ill-advised shots fall on the players and despite a woeful shooting performance (38.3 percent) the Wolverines were one rotation of the ball away from taking a one-point lead with 14 seconds left.
The loss keeps Beilein and his staff out of the A range, but the coaches were not far off in this battle of conference heavyweights in Columbus.