For the first time this season we get a rematch. Purdue gets five opponents (Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Rutgers, and Wisconsin) for home and homes this season. It has now played all five once and beaten them. The results have been varied. Purdue won at Michigan by a single point in a hard fought contest. It blew out Minnesota by 34 on its home floor.
What happens the second time around will have a large say in the Big Ten race. Purdue had very little trouble with Rutgers, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. At Maryland Purdue won when the Terrapins were at full strength, but they have since lost Dion Wiley and Justin Jackson. Michigan gave Purdue its best game in the past two months, which is why this game is a concern.
From: Ann Arbor, MI
Date: Thursday, January 25, 2018
Tip Time: 7pm ET
Location: West Lafayette, Indiana
Arena: Mackey Arena (14,804)
Radio: Purdue Radio Network
SiriusXM Satellite: XM (Ch. 381); Internet (Ch. 968)
Live Stats: bit.ly/PurdueLiveStats
2016-17 Record: 26-12, 10-8 Big Ten (lost to Oregon 69-68 in NCAA Sweet 16)
2017-18 Record: 17-5, 6-3 Big Ten
Series with Purdue: Purdue leads 87-69
Last Michigan Win: 74-70 (OT) in Big Ten Tournament at Washington, DC on 3/10/2017
Last Purdue Win: 70-69 at Michigan on 1/9/2018
NCAA Tournament History: 27 Appearances, last in 2017. 1989 NCAA Champion
Coach: John Beilein (232-140 in 11th season at Michigan, 708-415 overall)
Earlier in the season Purdue had a very difficult stretch with the three games in Atlantis followed by Louisville, at Maryland, and Northwestern. It dropped the first two, but the last four saw the turnaround that continues to now where we have won 15 in a row. This is now the first game of another critical 6-game stretch that will decide the Big Ten championship and any No. 1 seed we can get. Michigan is the most difficult matchup for us in the conference. Sunday at Indiana is tricky because it is never easy to win in Bloomington. Rutgers has proven to be tough at home, Maryland still has talent, then Ohio State and Michigan State are the next two best teams in the league. Purdue needs at least another 4-2 stretch here to win the Big Ten title, but we can do better, too.
With a win in this game Purdue will tie its longest winning streak ever and it will continue to have an active winning streak over all 13 Big Ten opponents. It won’t be an easy one though because Michigan is one of the few teams in the Big Ten that is a definite NCAA Tournament team. They also tend to play Purdue really tough. They lost their last trip to West Lafayette in 2016 87-70, but Purdue dropped two in a row to them.
Since we last saw the Wolverines they sprung the upset of the Big Ten season with an 82-72 win at Michigan State. They then played a game that had a very similar finish to the Purdue game with a one-point win at home over Maryland, only this time it was Michigan getting the benefit of a late foul call. that was followed by a loss at Nebraska by 20 and a win over Rutgers in Ann Arbor on Sunday by 15.
Michigan has been a decent road team this year. Wins at Texas and Michigan State are very good. The loss at Nebraska is stunning only because of the margin. They had a big lead at Ohio State before losing 71-62. They also lost big at North Carolina and won by 7 at Iowa. Purdue is the only team to beat them in Ann Arbor.
Nebraska was able to handle them because they limited Mo Wagner to 2 points on just five shots from the floor. Isaiah Livers only had eight points and Zavier Simpson, who had 15 against us, had just three. As a team they were only 4 of 18 from three.
That was really the biggest difference from their game against Purdue. In Ann Arbor they were 10 of 22 and twice they had three straight possessions of made triples that puts heft dent in Purdue’s lead. Purdue led 46-33 with 17:49 left, but Charles Matthews hit a three and followed with two more to cut the lead to four in a span of 90 seconds. Later on Purdue was up 58-55 after a tip-in by Nojel Eastern but Matthews hit another three and Simpson hit two more. Fortunately, Carsen Edwards hit a three in there to keep Purdue within three.
That’s what this really comes down to: can Purdue limit them from getting hot from long range? The only team that has made more threes than Michigan in the Big Ten is Purdue (220-203). Their ability to draw Isaac Haas and Matt Haarms from the basket scares me. Haas had a 17 and 6 in Ann Arbor and could not be stopped offensively, but he has struggled the last two games to get touches. Also, Wagner’s ability to draw him from the basket makes him a liability on defense. Matt Haarms also did not have a great game with only a steal and a block in 14 minutes. Wagner only hit one three against Purdue, but drawing our bigs outside then running a switch was the biggest thing they did the first time around.
To win, Michigan is going to have to play as well as they did in Ann Arbor. Wagner was 8 of 13 that day for 27 points. He had 24 against us last year in Ann Arbor. He’ll need a similar game in West Lafayette for them to have a shot. As a result, we need to frustrate him. Get the ball to Haas and try to draw some early fouls. if he is safely on the bench that helps, but Michigan still had success with the “draw Haas from the basket and switch” philosophy.
Purdue had a very strong start offensively in Ann Arbor, but had a cold stretch in the beginning of the second half from 17:49 to 11:35 where it scored only four points. We also did not get much from the bench, as Eastern had all four bench points. That’s where the Mackey factor must come in. I think we can and will go undefeated at Mackey this year because it has been such an atmosphere these past three seasons with this group. I think it can carry us through some rough stretches and hopefully the bench has a better night. If we’re going to drop a home game, it will be this one or Ohio State. Purdue 75, Michigan 70