The Badgers have one of the Big Ten’s most efficient offenses, they don’t turn the ball over very often, and they hit the offensive glass better than any other team in the conference.
Although Michigan does have the Big Ten’s most efficient offense, it’s had a lot of trouble so far this conference season because of a defense that can’t stop anyone. That’s where most of the focus is going to be: seeing whether or not the Wolverines can get enough stops.
But the turnover battle is going to be just as interesting to watch, it and it could also be just as impactful.
While Michigan only turns the ball over on 12.2 percent of its possessions (best in the Big Ten), Wisconsin forces turnovers on 22.6 percent of its defensive possessions (also best in the Big Ten). It goes without saying that the Wolverines will need every possession they can get in order to keep up with the Badgers’ offense, meaning this turnover battle is going to play an important role.
On the flip side of this, Wisconsin has the No. 2 turnover percentage in the Big Ten at 14.4 percent, so it wouldn’t be reasonable to count on Michigan getting much back.
Ethan Happ is the player Michigan has to be aware of at all times. His steal rate of 4.5 percent is No. 20 in the nation and No. 2 in the Big Ten (behind Penn State’s Josh Reaves). Happ is obviously a threat in many other areas on the court, but in this respect he could have an enormous say on how effective Michigan’s offense is.
Beating Wisconsin is a long shot for Michigan, especially on the road. There’s a lot standing in the Wolverines’ way, but one place where they can really help themselves is protecting the ball as they usually do and not giving the Badgers extra possessions.