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Inside the Numbers: How Michigan Can Solve Texas Tech's Top-Ranked Defense

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Texas Tech is first in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency. (Brett Rojo - USA TODAY Sports)

Michigan is clearly in the conversation for the best defense in the country. They are second in adjusted defensive efficiency (85.9 rating) and have held half of the 26 teams they have faced to one of their two worst offensive performances of the season on a per-possession basis. This includes Montana and Florida, who each had their second-worst offensive effort of the year as U-M eliminated them from the NCAA Tournament en route to a third straight Sweet 16.

Yet Michigan may have to solve the one defense better than its own to keep its season alive.

Texas Tech has suffocated its opponents defensively most of the season. The Red Raiders have an 85.5 adjusted defensive rating, which is the best this year and tied for the fifth-best in the KenPom era (since 2002). They have held opponents to below 0.900 points per possession in 20 of their 34 games. For comparison’s sake, Michigan has accomplished this in 20 of its 36 games. And like U-M, the Red Raiders tortured their first two NCAA Tournament opponents—Northern Kentucky and Buffalo—into one of their two worst offensive efforts.

However, Texas Tech is not flawless defensively. Opponents have exceeded a point per possession against them eight times. Kansas and TCU each did it twice. Iowa State nearly did it twice. Baylor did it the best, registering 1.126 points per possession against them.

Though Michigan’s defense should keep this a low-scoring affair, its offense will need to find some success if it wants to play for another trip to the Final Four. Here are the three things U-M should strive to do if it wants to give itself the best chance of such offensive success:


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