|WHAT||Purdue at Michigan|
|WHERE||Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan|
|WHEN||7:00 PM Eastern, Thursday|
|LINE||Michigan –17 (Kenpom)|
Purdue came to Ann Arbor for last year's Senior Night and spoiled Michigan's chances at an outright Big Ten title. While this Michigan outfit has markedly improved from last year's version, the Boilermakers have gone in the opposite direction without Robbie Hummel, Lewis Jackson, and Ryne Smith.
6'2" guard Terone Johnson, Purdue's leading scorer, takes over 27% of the team's shots when he's on the floor, and they aren't all good ones: according to hoop-math, 52% of his shots are two-point jumpers, of which he makes just 33%. He's a decent finisher around the basket and can knock down threes (35.2%), but shot selection is obviously an issue, one exacerbated on a team lacking viable shot creators. His overall efficiency is salvaged somewhat by a healthy number of assists and a low turnover rate, at least.
Freshman starting point guard Ronnie Johnson has much the same statistical profile as older brother Terone—right down to 52% of his shots being two-point jumpers, of which he makes 33%—except with a high turnover rate. Oh, and he's shooting 3-for-26 on three-pointers this year. Efficient, he is not.
Rounding out the starting backcourt is 6'5" guard Raphael Davis, though he's only playing about 35% of the team's minutes. Davis is one of the team's most effective shooters, hitting 56% of his twos and going 5-for-13 from downtown, and he's also a solid defensive rebounder. For some reason, he doesn't play more—I'm guessing because he also struggles with turnovers.
6'5" senior DJ Byrd is listed as a guard/forward but spends nearly all his time on the perimeter—70% of his shots come from beyond the arc. After hitting 43% of his threes last year, Byrd is down to 36.5% this season as defenses are able to devote far more attention to him. He's not much of a rebounder on either end despite playing the four at times.
Seven-footer AJ Hammons has quietly put together one of the best freshman campaigns in the conference, averaging a hair over ten points in 23 minutes per game while doing solid board work on both ends. He's very effective around the basket, where he hits 75% of his shots, but like the Johnson brothers often settles for too many two-point jumpers—those comprise 56% of his shots, and he's hitting them at a 35% rate. On the defensive end, Hammons is a very good shot-blocker and a major reason why Purdue boasts the conference's best two-point defense (39.3 2P% allowed).
6'3" sixth man Anthony Johnson is not related to the two starters of the same name, but he joins the low-efficiency party anyway, connecting on 42.7% of his twos and 24.2% of his threes. Forwards Jacob Lawson, Donnie Hale, and Travis Carroll provide good size off the bench (all are in the 6'8"-6'9" range). Lawson is a stellar defensive rebounder and decent finisher around the hoop. Carroll doesn't hit the defensive boards hard but rebounds well on offense and has started the season 15-for-21 from the field. Hale doesn't rebound at all and has hit 27 of his 69 shots this year, so naturally he gets more minutes than Carroll and is a higher-usage player than Lawson.
The Boilermakers went just 7-6 in non-conference play, with their lone KP100 win coming on the road against #65 Clemson. Other games against KP100 teams didn't go so well, with losses to Bucknell and Xavier at home and Villanova and Notre Dame at neutral sites. They also lost at Eastern Michigan, a team Michigan destroyed to the tune of 39 points.
Purdue does have a 3-2 record in the Big Ten, including a seven-point win at home over Illinois, but wins over Penn State and Nebraska are nothing to write home about. Michigan State crushed them by 23 at Breslin, while Ohio State pulled away late at Purdue for a ten-point margin.
Four factors, now conference-only (small sample, yes, but numbers are equally skewed by various cupcakes on the non-conference schedule):
|eFG%||Turnover %||Off. Reb. %||FTA/FGA|
|Offense||45.4 (8)||16.3 (4)||35.6 (3)||30.4 (8)|
|Defense||43.7 (3)||15.7 (12)||32.5 (8)||24.8 (2)|
Offensively, Purdue doesn't shoot the rock well, but they manage a just-below-average offense thanks to offensive rebounding and not turning the ball over. They're hitting their threes in Big Ten play (37.7%) but the numbers inside the arc are ugly (42.6%) and they've been terrible from the line (54.4 FT%(!)).
Strong interior defense has been a constant for the Boilermakers, as their impressive 2P% against has held steady from non-conference to conference play. Big Ten opponents have caught fire from outside, but Purdue actually allows the second-fewest attempts in the conference, so that is likely a fluke.
Don't give Byrd open looks. The only way I see Michigan losing this game is if Purdue catches fire from downtown, and Byrd is their best outside shooter. He's seen his shooting percentage plummet (albeit from "ridiculous" to merely "quite good") now that defenses don't have to worry about Robbie Hummel and Ryne Smith lighting them up from the outside; if Michigan devotes the same level of attention as Purdue's previous opponents, they should be able to limit his output.
Forego post touches. Brian has covered in detail why Michigan doesn't need to try and establish their post players as back-to-the-basket scoring threats, and with Hammons patrolling the paint this isn't the game to try and do that, anyway. Expect the centers to spend much of the night setting picks as the Wolverines try to draw Hammons away from the basket—if they can get a few ticky-tack fouls on him, that's a bonus.
Cede the jumper to anyone named Johnson. The numbers speak for themselves. Michigan should be able to get their transition game going given the volume of jump shots that Purdue usually misses. Terone Johnson pulling up from 18 feet, as he is wont to do, is about as likely to result in a Michigan basket going the other way as it is one for Purdue.
Get Stauskas going again. Just for my own sanity, it'd be nice to see Mr. Swag crack 50% from downtown after struggling in the last couple games.
THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES
Michigan by 17.
I'll stick to KenPom here with that kind of a margin. As stated above, Purdue's proclivity for taking—and missing—the worst shot in basketball should spark more than a couple fast break opportunities. If Michigan can find a way to score inside the arc—and we're talking about the nation's best offense by a decent margin here—they should be able to run away with this one.
As much as I would love to say I have a good feeling about this game (and I kind of do), realistically it is hard to see us winning this. Maybe later on in West Lafayette if everything goes right Purdue can stun them, but we're asking a team that is still very young to go into Ann Arbor and knock off one of the best teams in the country. I think it only happens if Hammons stays out of foul trouble while delivering a 20-10-5 game, Davis or TJ also has a big game, and Purdue hassles them into an uncharacteristically bad game.
BoilerTMill predicts a 15-point Michigan win despite the admitted optimism.
Spring of 1989 was the semester we switched from playing football during recess at Quarton Elementary School, to hoops. A particularly muddy field that spring made this the sane thing to do. Upside: you get in less trouble when you don't come home from school covered in mud. Downside: the best athlete in the class* was staunchly against it since he was also the 2nd shortest guy in the class, and under the Universal Rules Regarding the Governorship of Boys in the 3rd Grade the best athlete gets to decide which game we play. What finally changed "I'm Tony Boles" to "I'm Rumeal Robinson"† was twofold: the Pistons went to the NBA Finals and were on their way to another, and then this happened:
By fall the spell was broken and some kid got bloodied pretty badly by falling on the pavement and the recess calls were back to "I'm Desmond Howard!" We were off to middle school by the time the Fab Five arrived. But for a time in '89 the only thing on anybody's minds was "wow when did Michigan basketball get so good?". I wonder what made me think of that.
* Ironically that kid who gave me a blue Michigan football for my birthday, then announced we can't play with any other ball ever again, ended up a mouthy walk-on on MSU's 2000 championship team. And a nice guy, for a Spartan.
† I was always Vinnie "The Microwave" Johnson until some other kid started fighting me for it and I switched to Mark Aguirre.
How it works:
- Wednesdays I put up a winnable prize that consists of a desirable good.
- You guess the final scores of this weekend's designated game (football or hoops, depending on the season), and put it in the comments. First person to post a particular score has it.
- If you got it right, we contact you. If not, go to (5)
- The desirable good arrives at the address you give us.
- Non-winners can acquire the same desirable good by trading currency for it.
About Last Time:
"I am a structural engineer and I know that that bicyle [sic] on the shirt has a flexural hinge waiting to happen. I could not wear the shirt in my right mind without modifying it."
This Week's Game:
Michigan versus Purdue tomorrow night. I'm Trey Burke!
And the Prize:
Look soft? It is soft. It's tri-blend, so it feels like you've been breaking it in since "Michigan Man" became a thing, except this time your mom won't rip it up and use it for rags.
Normally I post a prize from the MGOSTORE, but this week I thought I'd expand a bit outside our corner and highlight an important partner of this site: Underground Printing and Moe's, without whom we don't have a store, we don't have a book, and Brian Cook is some kind of computer engineer with a blogspot page. Other than MGoShirts, their calling card is those comfy retro tees.
This I appreciate, since my actual vintage 1989 Michigan basketball shirt was a tattered rag by 1993. Oh it would fit; my generation was fortunate to come upon the "wear everything three sizes too large" fashion period when we were still growing. By the time clothes were meant to fit again, ours did, even if the hyper color was washed out.
Fine print: One entry per user. First user to choose a set of scores wins, determined by the timestamp of your entry (for my ease I prefer if you don't post it as a reply to another person's score--if you do it won't help or hurt you). Deadline for entries is 24 hours before the start of the game. MGoEmployees and Moderators exempt from winning. We did not invent the algorithm. The algorithm consistently finds Jesus. The algorithm tore its ACL. The algorithm is banned in China. The algorithm is from Jersey. The algorithm goes on 20-6 runs out of halftime.. This is not the algorithm. This is close.
IMPORTANT. McGary sings Beiber, endorses Teen Wolf:
IMPORTANT AS WELL. You kind of felt this was on the table when the Big Ten Network put up a survey that asked you whether you knew which division your team was in and you instinctively knew that even if you could figure it out by remembering that Michigan is not in the one mentioned by their fight song, you should put down "no." And then you thought about it and knew everyone else would do the same thing too. So yeah this happened at some conference that is apparently going on today:
Delany says names of Legends and Leaders TBD.
I mean who could question a decision to expand coming from the people who gave us Legends and Leaders? Speaking of:
So I went to a Maryland basketball game last night. They played a MEAC team Kenpom ranked 345th, and played like it. I have seen more people at a basketball game.
I am pretty sure I have seen more people at a softball game.
The arena itself is cool, and amongst the few people around me were some old guys who had clearly been getting seats adjacent to each other since the dawn of time. At one point the cheerleaders held up big cardboard cutout credit cards and asked people to wave theirs around for some sort of prize that was probably FREEEE PIZZAAAA, and I marveled at… that.
I came away with an excellent picture of why Maryland's in such dire financial straights and with an unformed joke about how Northwestern should start calling themselves WASHINGTON'S BIG TEN TEAM™ because the position is most certainly open.
Meanwhile, Maryland forms a commission to consider re-adding some of the seven sports they recently dropped.
Mercenaries for… wait what? Yesterday's Bielema-related bombshell was the revelation that Arkansas offered him a whopping 600k extra to move to a school that has never won an SEC title and is probably never going to. Bielema was forced to say the usual things, added in some nonsense about how his first year he lost to Michigan 27-13 because of a bad call, and said this:
"When I began to have more and more success at Wisconsin, I stayed but a lot of my coaches left," he said. "I just wasn't able to compensate them in the way other coaches were. I know I'm hiring the right guys, because everybody keeps taking them from me."
Bielema lost six assistants last year, and he noted that three of them went from salaries around $225,000 per year to over $400,000 annually. He said that hours after the Badgers won the Big Ten title game last Saturday, three of his assistants told him they'd been contacted by other schools and were offered significant raises. He said he wouldn't have been able to match those offers.
"Wisconsin isn't wired to do that at this point," he said. "With what I wanted to accomplish, I needed to have that ability to do that. I've found that here at Arkansas."
If that's true—and I'm skeptical that people fleeing Wisconsin are not actually fleeing Bielema himself—that's another way in which the money is just not a factor. Wisconsin has that, and they are just choosing not to spend it because…? Because they need to build world-class facilities for non-revenue sports? Is that the answer?
That can't actually be the answer. But Wisconsin was the 8 team in revenue as of 2008 and I find it hard to believe they've dipped much what with the BTN. That year they brought in 30 million more than Arkansas. And yet…
Don't give me recruiting budget stuff either. Wisconsin spent 466k less than Arkansas in 2011, which is a big gap but it is also chump change. I don't know what the problem is, but adding more money to the huge and ever-growing money spigot isn't going to fix it. If it would, it already would have.
The problem is cultural: as Bielema said, we don't want to be like the SEC at all. Probably the best thing Brandon has done is pay the assistants the relative chump change that makes them happy.
The least the Big Ten can do for us as they set every tradition they can find on fire is actually spend the money on the stuff fans care about like "keeping that guy who has gone to three straight Rose Bowls."
BIG TENNNNN. Darrell Hazell is introduced as Purdue's next head coach and the world gets a terrifying glimpse into the reality of being a beat reporter in West Lafayette:
if I could summon the energy to do anything it would be obtain the sweet release of death
Darrell Hazell, by the way, is a wild-ass swing at another MAC coach of exceedingly short tenure (two years) who has shown little other than the ability to inherit a team that floats to the top of the MAC talent hierarchy for reasons unknown. And he'll just fly the coop if he works out anyway. Expanding the league does not fix this. Purdue is still Purdue.
But maybe they can be Purdue in another division! Here we go again:
"There are some advantages to 16 (teams) compared to 14," Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis told ESPN on Wednesday. "Fourteen is clumsy. We're not out looking for two teams, but basically we will continue to survey the landscape."
At this point I endorse all Big Ten expansions in an effort to get to the Bargaining Phase post. With 16 we we can chuck the Indiana teams into the other football division and pretend none of this ever happened.
But it's about academics you guys! No, no it is not. It is not about academics in any way whatsoever.
Professors at the meeting alleged that the Athletic Department did not consult the ABIA on the addition of the Maryland and Rutgers to the Big Ten Conference.
“I happen to think that the implications of expanding the conference ... are significant academic matters, and I was personally very disappointed when I heard it on the radio,” Political Science Prof. Edie Goldenberg, an ABIA member, said.
If it was about academics, the academics would know about it.
Explaining to do, attempted. Michigan nixed a charity run at the Big House in two steps.
Champions for Charity is a for-profit limited liability company, though Highfield says all of the money a team raises prior to the race goes directly to a charity of the participant’s choice.
"It's just a little mom-and-pop organization," Highfield told AnnArbor.com.
Champions for Charity rented the stadium each previous year for roughly $7,000. Highfield was astonished when the school more than doubled the old rate, charging just under $16,000 for the next annual run.
The next step was just cancelling the thing entirely, because:
Really the decision in the end came down to our external focus," said Ablauf. The department announced last monththat it would begin partnering with the Special Olympics of Michigan for community service efforts. The first event of that partnership is the "Polar Plunge" at Michigan Stadium on Feb. 23, 2013.
That partnership, Ablauf said, has become the department's priority. Ablauf said the run had become "a very challenging event ... to fit into our stadium."
"We have our own private rental program, we're doing stuff with the Special Olympics and we have a lot of things we do now in the stadium," Ablauf offered.
I was waiting to sputter about this until the athletic department had its say, and… that's it? You can't spare the stadium for one day in April and one of the reasons you state for this is because you rent the thing out for profit (and annoy everyone at every football game by constantly repeating that fact)? I'm feeling a sputter comin' on you guys!
Actually, I don't have anything to say on this that I haven't already said a lot. I mean, this is a great thing to have people do from the ol' branding standpoint:
someone had a super idea once and people liked it
The thing had a lot of traction and if there was some problem with the organizational nature of the thing that was not organized as a non-profit it doesn't seem to be that hard to work through the issues. But I'm neither surprised or even disappointed that this happened. It's just how things work these days.
Strong: I was 9-10, and (Jurich) hands me an extension...How do you walk away from someone who trusts and believes in you. …
Strong said his ego had him thinking abt what he coud do in the SEC. "It's not abt that. It's about people and how you affect their lives."
Yes Virginia, there are Bo-like people still around. One of them is Michigan's coach, and that's nice.
Anti-antidote. Mario Cristobal is fired by FIU after one bad year when he turned down opportunities to move up in the world after he took the fledgling program from an 0-12 national joke to a couple bowl games.
STAUSKAS. As always, Canada bails us out of feeling bad. John Gasaway ranks his top 25 freshmen in college basketball and Stauskas comes in third($):
3. Nik Stauskas, G, Michigan Wolverines
Stauskas is merely Michigan's third option on offense, and you may think being rated the No. 3 freshman in the nation is self-evidently disproportionate for a role player. In the abstract I agree wholeheartedly, but exactly how much tribute do we give to a player who has helped his team's offense to the very limit allowed by the sport itself? Stauskas has an offensive rating (152.8) that's in another zip code entirely from what even the amazing likes of Bennett (127.5) and Adams (122.8) have posted. He is a normal carbon-based player in only one facet of the game: Stauskas inside the arc with the clock running is a mere mortal. But if he's at the line (89 percent) or, heaven help the opponent, outside the arc (64 percent), he's Stauskasesque.
His numbers will correct downward from this point forward, but the larger point is that for a second consecutive season John Beliein has a freshman who arrived in Ann Arbor as a lightly regarded recruit and then promptly began stomping on opponents like Mothra.
Stauskas was a little less lightly-regarded than Burke but yeah I mean seriously the hobbit at NC State was a burger guy. Oh right and that GRIII guy comes in ninth, which probably gives Michigan the best recruiting class in the country as of December what with adding in McGary and LeVert and Albrecht.
Etc.: Annual bowl swag update. Here is a tiny fraction of the money in gift cards because we can't give you cash. Tom Izzo goes full Holtz after MSU beats up on a SWAC team. Bielema fallout. More fallout. UMHoops podcast. David Merritt stops by to suggest his Merit fundraiser. Hockey coaches can now call CCHA reffing a joke in public. Gordon Gee is either lying now or lied to Urban Meyer.