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Purdue at Michigan: Preview, Odds, & How to Watch

Can Purdue swing the Michigan double this week?

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Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

In the final six games of the year Purdue plays four teams (Michigan, Maryland, Wisconsin, and Nebraska) that it has already faced. Its previous two-play, Iowa, swept the Boilers, but Purdue went 3-1 against this foursome. That's good, because with Indiana beating Iowa last night the door opened ever so slightly for a share of the Big Ten title. To get a piece, the most likely has to happen in the final 6 games for the top contenders:

Purdue must go 6-0 (in this process the other four loss teams in Michigan and Wisconsin each get a loss, knocking them out)

Indiana must go 4-2 or worse (one loss would come at the hands of Purdue. The other would likely be at Iowa or Michigan State).

Maryland must go 4-2 or worse (one loss would come at the hands of Purdue. The other would likely be at Indiana).

Iowa must go 4-2 or worse (this is the tricky one. Their toughest game left is at home against Indiana. Other than that, they have at Ohio State, at Michigan, or home against Wisconsin).

You might ask how B1G Tourney seeding would go then. Here is tiebreaker 1:

A. When comparing records against a single team or a group of teams, the higher winning percentage shall prevail, even if the number of games played against the team or group are unequal (i.e., 2-0 is better than 3-1); in the case of tied percentages vs. the team or group of 1.000 or .000 the following shall apply: 2-0 is better than 1-0; 0-1 is better than 0-2.

B. After the top team among the tied teams is determined, the second team is ranked by its record among the original tied teams, not the head-to-head record vs. the remaining team(s).

The Iowa-Indiana game is the trickiest in this scenario. Say Indiana beats the Hawkeyes and earns the season sweep. That would have the following records between the four teams:

Purdue 2-3 (beat Maryland and Indiana, lost to Maryland and Iowa x2)

Indiana 3-1 (Beat Iowa x2 and Maryland, lost to Purdue)

Maryland 2-2 (Beat Purdue and Iowa, lost to Purdue and Indiana)

Iowa 2-3 (Beat Purdue x2, lost to Maryland and Indiana x2)

Your seeding would then be: 1. Indiana, 2. Maryland, 3. Iowa, 4. Purdue (Because the head-to-head tiebreaker with Iowa)

Now, say Indiana loses to Iowa, beats Michigan State, but Iowa somehow drops two others. Iowa would then be 3-2 and the top seed, Maryland would be the 2 at 2-2, and Purdue would be the 3 seed at 2-3 with the tiebreaker at having beaten fellow 2-3 Indiana. All four would still be considered a conference co-champion.

Of course, none of this means a damn thing if Purdue doesn't beat Michigan. The good news is that a victory over the Wolverines would all but assure Purdue of a double bye in Indianapolis as long as it goes 4-1 in the final five. Purdue would have the tiebreakers over Ohio State, Michigan State, and Michigan in that scenario, with Wisconsin at 6-4 already being behind the eight ball with a home loss to Purdue and having to play at Mackey Arena on Senior Day. The largest concern is Purdue going 4-2, but Michigan State winning its final five games and passing us.

The best thing we can hope for is that Purdue takes care of its own business. Whatever happens elsewhere is out of our hands.


Michigan Wolverines


Ann Arbor, MI




Crisler Center, Ann arbor, MI (12,707)



Radio Stream:


Satellite Radio:

SIRI 136, XM


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KenPom Ranking:

48 of 351



Blog Representation:

Maize N' Brew, MGoBlog, UMHoops

2015-16 Record:

18-7, 8-4 Big Ten

All-time series

Purdue leads 85-66

Last Purdue win:

87-70 at Purdue on 1/7/2016

Last Michigan Win:

77-76 (OT) at Purdue on 2/26/2014

2014-15 Record:

15-16, 8-10 Big Ten

Last NCAA appearance:

2014 (25 appearances) 1989 NCAA Champion


John Beilein (662-391 all-time, 184-116 in 9th year at Michigan 6-8 vs. Purdue)

Since playing Purdue, the Wolverines followed up their loss with an impressive home win over 70-67 Maryland before losing at Iowa. They then had a nice four-game win streak against the bottom of the Big Ten (Minnesota, Nebraska, Rutgers, Penn State) and were in title contention before getting blasted in consecutive home games by Michigan State and Indiana. They recovered to win at Minnesota this week, but haven't looked great. Still, they are 8-4, have that win over Maryland, and their title hopes basically consist of replacing Purdue with Michigan in the scenarios above.

This is probably an NCAA Tournament team depending on how they finish. They get Purdue, at Maryland, and Iowa in the last three along with at Ohio State, Northwestern, and at Wisconsin. They are likely looking at 4-2 to feel pretty safe on Selection Sunday, while 3-3 would probably do it too.

As usual, much depends on how well Michigan shoots from three. They are going to shoot a ton of them with Duncan Robinson, Aubrey Dawkins, and Derrick Walton Jr. both shooting above 46% from long range. The first time around Purdue did a good job against them on the perimeter, but it was Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman that went off. He had a career high 25 and was an impressive 10 of 16 from the floor.

The difference in the game was that Purdue played well inside and Rapheal Davis was an offensive threat, so basically it was the exact formula Purdue needs to beat good teams. Ray D. had 16 and Hammons had a 17-5-3-4 line of points-rebounds-assists-blocks. A couple of threes from P.J. Thompson and Dakota Mathias were also big, as Purdue was 9 of 18 from long range.

Another big factor is the ongoing saga of Caris LeVert. Michigan's leading scorer has not played since December 30th at Illinois when he had 22. He has pretty much been a game time decision since then, including January 7th at Purdue. Here is the latest:

According to Michigan coach John Beilein, LeVert has been cleared to play and is the sole decider in when or if he will return to the floor for the Wolverines.

The senior star, an All-American candidate prior to injury his lower left leg in late December, is pain-free and still gradually returning to form.

"This is his call," Beilein said Tuesday. "This isn't my call. We'll see what he feels like after today's practice — how much he can go."

Even then, LeVert did not play against Minnesota, a team Michigan figured to beat, but it would have been a good tune-up for LeVert before a tough closing kick. In his last game against Purdue he had just 6 points last season, but he had 14 in each game as a sophomore in 2013-14 and only two total points as a freshman in two games in 2012-13. I have no idea if he will play on Saturday or not, but at 17.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game he is clearly a game changer if he does. His ability to drive and score opens things up for the likes of Robinson and Walton, and he gets to the line too.

Purdue is riding high after the big win over Michigan State, but that second half collapse is certainly troubling. Playing on the road against a good team that might be getting its top player back will not be easy. I certainly like Purdue's chances a lot more if LeVert does not play, but any victory will look a lot better if he does.