Michigan Basketball Gameday: Will Michigan's defense show up vs. Illinois after a week off?
• Who: Illinois (20-8, 7-7) at No. 7 Michigan (22-4, 9-4) • Tipoff: 1 p.m., Crisler Center; Ann Arbor • Live coverage: Join MLive.com 30 minutes prior to tip for live updates, and follow Nick Baumgardner on Twitter. • TV: ESPN Radio: Michigan Radio Network • Line: Michigan -11
ISSUE OF THE DAY
Michigan used its week off to get back to basics defensively.
And now, we get to find out if any of it worked.
The Wolverines have allowed 73.2 points per game over their last five contests, 15 points higher than their points against average through the first 21 games of the season. Opponents are also shooting 47.9 percent in those games.
Defense, without question, has become a problem for Michigan.
"I think we had been very technical with certain plays teams were running and how we defended, trying to read plays instead of reading action," Michigan coach John Beilein said. "Instead of rallying to the ball, rallying to the action, zoning up in certain areas. Doing a great job of just hedging a ball-screen instead of 'what do I do after?' We got back to the basics.
"Obviously we played some really good teams during that stretch, but we did not guard Penn State well either. It's a thing we have to keep getting better at and better at, you just can't slip at it."
The Wolverines are trying to get back on track defensively for the season's stretch run, which begins with an Illinois team that may be playing its best basketball of the season.
The Illini have won five in a row, including a win over top-ranked Indiana. Michigan scored a 14-point win over Illinois in Champaign last month, but neither team has been the same since then.
Can Michigan regain its defensive composure? Will Jordan Morgan and Caris LeVert be healthy? Will Tim Hardaway Jr. snap out of his mini-funk?
Did the week off do this team any good?
What must Michigan do in order to get its defense back on track?
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