Jackson, Jr. is one of the best shot blockers in college hoops and, like Bridges, projects as a lottery pick in the next NBA draft. Jackson, Jr. made his presence known early and finished with six of his team’s eight blocks, but Michigan did not shy away from the basket. The Wolverines scored 32 points in the paint.
Michigan neutralizing Michigan State’s strengths is what decided the game. In addition to the eight offensive rebounds, the Spartans were credited in the box score with just one fast-break basket. Michigan made only one 3-pointer in the second half and still outscored Michigan State 48-35 after halftime.
The Spartans reacted like most athletes, flexing their muscles and screaming to the rafters. The Breslin Center crowd exploded. None of it bothered Michigan.
Asked after the game if he was now a believer in Michigan’s rebounding, Beilein laughed, perhaps recognizing he finally had to admit the stats were genuine.
It was a team effort on the glass. All 10 Wolverines who saw the floor recorded at least one rebound, and six players had at least three.
Defensive rebounding starts with guarding the ball. If a defender is beat off the dribble, someone has to rotate to help, and the defense can get out of position.
Robinson, Teske, and Abdur-Rahkman formed a wall with their box outs, and Matthews swooped in for the rebound.