Men's Basketball

Redshirt junior wing Charles Matthews scored 11 points on Tuesday against Rutgers.

It’s no coincidence the Wolverines have lost in two of Matthews' three worst performances by offensive rating, nor should it surprise that their offense has generally lagged when he has struggled. The reason behind that is simple. When Michigan’s offense lags, it falls back on Matthews. In turn, Matthews falls back on contested midrange jump shots, which don’t do much for anyone.

That’s why, as the Wolverines jumped out to an early lead on as part of a 77-65 win over Rutgers on Tuesday night, their offense humming, it was Matthews greasing the skids.

Junior point guard Zavier Simpson .

Knocking down open shots was one part of the equation, but getting them in the first place was just as important. The Daily took to the tape to look at what went into the Wolverines’ best offensive performance in nearly a month.

Freshman forward Ignas Brazdeikis scored the game's first points with a three.

PISCATAWAY — Despite his team’s 21-2 record and top-10 national ranking, Michigan coach John Beilein has cast a frustrated figure for much of the last month.

.

PISCATAWAY — Geo Baker stood dead center, well beyond the arc, and fired for three.

The shot landed to cap off an 8-0 run, and with just over three minutes left in the first half, Michigan’s lead was down to single digits for the first time since the under-16 timeout.

Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell faces a massive challenge in building the Scarlet Knights.

In March 2016, Rutgers turned to Pikiell to spearhead a near-impossible rebuilding project.

At his introductory presser, Pikiell said he would’ve walked across the New Jersey Turnpike to get the job.

Michigan coach John Beilein said after the game that he didn't know who would step up as the backup center.

Maybe what happened Friday was less a mirage and more a preview of what’s to come.

Maybe we’ll look back on Friday night and remember when Iowa found the end of a proverbial thread and the rest of Michigan’s season began to unravel.

.

Without Teske, the Hawkeyes feasted, turning a defense that came into Iowa City ranked first in the nation into one befitting of a Beilein team of old. They scored 22 times in the paint in the first 20 minutes, grabbing 26 rebounds to Michigan’s 12. For 19 of those minutes, Teske sat on the bench, watching the margin climb

.

Friday night against Michigan, Iowa's signature win finally arrived, as the Hawkeyes (17-5 overall, 6-5 Big Ten) took down the fifth-ranked Wolverines, 74-59.

Iowa forward Tyler Cook tested the NBA Draft waters before returning to the Hawkeyes for this season.

Offensively, the Hawkeyes were 19th last season before improving to 10th this year on the back of a team-leading 16.6 points per game from junior forward Tyler Cook. The Daily sat down with Cook at Big Ten Media Day in October.

Michigan coach John Beilein stresses avoiding bad fouls while still playing physical defense.

But there is one element of this renaissance that, really, isn’t a renaissance at all. More accurately, call it a continuation.

The Wolverines don’t foul. They rank second in the country in defensive free throw rate, and since 2012, they’ve been worse than 25th just twice. That’s no recent development, but something preached within the program for quite a while.