After first loss, No. 5 Michigan meets with Minnesota
It's been a long time since Michigan coach John Beilein could use a loss as a learning experience for his players.
One of those teachable moments has arrived, but there isn't too much time for talk.
The Wolverines, following their first loss of the season on Saturday, host Minnesota in another Big Ten tilt on Tuesday. Michigan lost at Wisconsin 64-54 on Saturday and dropped from No. 2 to No. 5 in the latest poll.
"We haven't really had the ability to grow from losses," Beilein said.
"We needed that growth (Saturday) because we weren't as good as we wanted to be in either half. Any team that has 16 turnovers against a Wisconsin team that simply doesn't turn the ball over is not going to win. Hats off to Wisconsin. Watch us grow from this -- it's our only plan."
The Badgers scored 19 points off those turnovers. The Wolverines' offense was stymied in other ways, as Michigan shot 5 for 18 from long range.
Michigan (17-1, 6-1 Big Ten) hadn't tasted defeat since the national championship game against Villanova in April. The Wolverines' most recent regular-season defeat came at Northwestern on Feb. 6.
"It's just experience," guard Jordan Poole said. "We'll be in situations like this (again). So to learn this now rather than later is huge."
Freshman forward Ignas Brazdeikis and senior swingman Charles Matthews will be looking to bounce back from poor offensive showings. Brazdeikis was held scoreless in 23 minutes, missing five field-goal attempts. Matthews also took just five shots and scored five points while committing three turnovers in 31 minutes.
Beilein wasn't surprised how much the Badgers disrupted his team's offensive flow.
"Teams lose here because of the style of play that Wisconsin plays," Beilein said. "They don't beat themselves. They're just tough to play."
Minnesota (14-4, 4-3) responded from a 27-point loss at Illinois with a 65-64 victory over Penn State on Saturday.
Senior forward Jordan Murphy was a force inside with 19 points and 21 rebounds. He also had six assists.
"I told him early, I said 'Murph, when you focus on your post moves, you get frustrated because everyone is going to dig. Focus on rebounding and focus on assists, and everything else will come,'" coach Richard Pitino said.
"I had the same conversation with him two years ago, and I mentioned it during the game. I said, 'We talked about this before. When you have the right mindset, you're a beast,' and he did fortunately and made some great plays."
Minnesota trailed by 11 early in the second half. Dupree McBrayer's free throw with two seconds left was the game-winning point.
"We just made some spectacular winning plays," Pitino said. "We played terrific defense in the second half. We held them to 28 percent from the field (in the second half) and that has to be our identity. It has to be about defending and rebounding."
Michigan pulled out a 76-73 overtime victory at home over the Golden Gophers last season.
--Field Level Media
Updated January 21, 2019