It is must win time.
There is no more messing around. Purdue cannot lose another game in Mackey Arena. Should it win all three, it might be enough to get into the NCAA Tournament. If it wins all three and wins at Iowa it will definitely be enough. If it wins all three and at least one game in Indianapolis it would also be enough. The magic number is 18 wins right now because of who we have to play and the quality of each win. I am 100% confident that if we reach 18 wins we will not be left out. Even if we get to 17 wins (barring one of those being over Nebraska or Northwestern in Indy) I think we will be on the right side of the Bubble because of our NET and KenPom rankings.
That said, we cannot lose again at Mackey. It has already not been the fortress we have been used to. Texas edged us, while Illinois and Penn State won with relative ease. Michigan, Indiana, and Rutgers remain and after narrow road losses to Michigan and Rutgers, plus a win in Bloomington, we cannot drop any of them. With Michigan being in the top 30 of the NET it would also be a sixth Quad 1 win, joining Michigan State, VCU, Wisconsin, Iowa, and at Indiana. One last factor is Big Ten tournament seeding. Right now Purdue is seeded 11th, which gives us a virtually useless game against Northwestern or Nebraska that can only hurt us. We have to get off of Wednesday.
Yep, Saturday is a must win.
From: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Location: West Lafayette, IN
Arena: Mackey Arena (14,804)
Date: February 22, 2020
Tickets: As low as $68
Radio: Purdue Radio Network
SiriusXM Satellite: XM (Ch. 381); Internet (Ch. 968)
Live Stats: bit.ly/PurdueLiveStats
Odds: No Line Yet
2018-19 Record: 30-7, 15-5 Big Ten (Lost to Texas Tech 63-44 in NCAA Sweet 16)
2019-20 Record: 17-9, 8-7 Big Ten
Series with Purdue: Purdue leads 88-72
Last Michigan Win: 84-78 (2 OT) at Michigan on 1/9/2020
Last Purdue Win: 92-88 at Purdue on 1/25/2018
NCAA Tournament History: 29 Appearances, last in 2019. 1989 NCAA Champion
Coach: Juwan Howard (17-9 in first season)
The last game was basically the Trevion Williams game. Tre had a monster night of 36 points, 20 rebounds, and 2 assists, but Purdue fell in double overtime. The one mistake Tre had was rushing an open layup at the end of regulation off of a great pass. If he takes an extra fraction of a second to go up strong (and he had the fraction) instead of rushing his shot, Purdue wins and we’re all feeling a lot better right now.
Since that game Michigan has gone an almost dead even 6-5, but they are slightly ahead of Purdue in both the conference standings and in NCAA consideration. They lost four straight to Minnesota, Iowa, Penn State, and Illinois, then won six of their next seven to right the ship. They come to Purdue fresh off of a nice win at Rutgers on Wednesday night, and having won four in a row.
Purdue lost the first game because it could not stop Zavier Simpson. He finished the night with 22 points and nine assists, repeatedly getting to the basket through the defense. Michigan did not shoot particularly well from long range, but John Teske also had 18 points and nine rebounds while Franz Wagner had 15 points and hit three 3’s.
Purdue’s three-point defense has been awful the last three games, and we simply cannot allow Simpson to dictate the pace of play like he did in Ann Arbor. Purdue has to come out and defend like we know it is capable of defending at home as seen against Iowa and Wisconsin. It also has to hit some early shots to get the crowd going. Penn State won because they hit 10 first half threes and Purdue hit none. It was the exact opposite of Purdue’s best home performances to date.
There has to be some urgency in the locker room as well. Michigan is playing really good basketball at the moment. They know Purdue is suddenly mortal in Mackey now, too. If there is no urgency like in the last three games Purdue is going to get run off of its own floor yet again.