17 is a pretty lofty margin. I imagine there must be a little bit of a letdown after that 3 game gauntlet so I could see this one being too close for comfort most of the game.
|WHAT||Michigan vs. Purdue|
|WHERE||Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan|
|WHEN||9 pm Eastern, Thursday|
|LINE||Michigan -17 (KenPom)|
|TV||ESPN/WatchESPN (PBP: Joe Tessitore; Analyst: Sean Farnham)|
Right: Matt Painter could really use a hug (via)
Despite facing one of the easiest slates of Big Ten opponents thus far, Purdue is struggling mightily in conference play (3-4) after going 10-3 in non-conference action with just one victory over a KP100 squad. Matt Painter is trying just about every possible lineup combination to get things to click, including eight different starting lineups so far this year. How's that going, coach?
Purdue coach Matt Painter, on his rotation: "I'd like our guys to play better, so I'd know who the hell to play."
— Rod Beard (@detnewsRodBeard) January 27, 2014
Purdue boasts ten(!) players averaging over 13 minutes per game; all fall under the categories of inefficient high-usage player, low-usage role player, or Guy Named Johnson Who Jacks Up Ill-Advised Shots On The Regular.
Sophomore seven-foot center AJ Hammons falls into the first category despite shooting 55% from the floor, rebounding nearly 10% of Purdue's misses when he's on the court, and posting a monstrous 91.8 free throw rate. Why? He commits a turnover on over a quarter of his possessions and has just 11 assists all season. He's a superlative rebounder and shot-blocker, but his effort waxes and wanes without much warning; he's scored 16+ points in five games this year and seven or fewer in seven games, including no points against three TOs in 27 minutes against lowly Washington State and a two-point, three-turnover, three-foul performance in Purdue's most recent game, a home blowout loss at the hands of Wisconsin.
In his two starts last season against Michigan, Hammons combined to shoot 2/10 from the field with just four free-throw attempts, six rebounds, five turnovers, and two blocks. He could reverse course and have big game; he's just as liable to be a total non-factor. His backup, 6'10" freshman Jay Simpson, is actually doing better on the boards, but he's not a shot-blocker and is shooting under 45% from the field.
The essence of Hammons: frustration (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
The Boilermakers start a relatively small lineup aside from Hammons; the de facto four is 6'5", 222-pound freshman Basil Smotherman. Yes, his name is really Basil Smotherman. A defensive specialist, Smotherman is also Purdue's most effective scorer inside the arc, shooting 75.6% at the rim and 48.4% on two-point jumpers, to go with solid offensive rebounding and a low turnover rate; naturally, he's the lowest-usage starter.
6'5" sophomore guard Raphael Davis is listed as a probable starter in the game notes, though he normally gets less playing time than 6'6" freshman Kendall Stephens. Davis has a knack for getting to the line but otherwise doesn't add much production; his shot has been iffy this season. Stephens is a pure spot-up gunner shooting 36% on 118 three-point attempts and just 7/21 from inside the arc. Davis has started the last seven games but expect to see plenty of Stephens off the bench.
Brothers Terone and Ronnie Johnson round out the starting backcourt and represent the only two Boilermakers averaging double-digit points this season. Ronnie, the 6'0" point guard, has a very solid assist rate and has hit 12 of his 29 threes; he's also attempted 144 two-pointers, mostly of the jumper variety, and he's connecting on just 43% of those. Terone's two-point shooting line is quite similar—44% on 157 attempts—though he's at least focusing more of his attention on the outside, hitting 36% of his 68 3PAs. Both get to the line relatively frequently; both knock down their free throws in the 63-64% range.
Other backups of note are freshman guard Bryson Scott—a two-point chucker in the Brothers Johnson mold (NTBJ), hitting 36% of his 120 2PA while attempting just seven threes—and 6'6" Cornell transfer Errick Peck, a solid rebounder who posts decent shooting numbers and a high turnover rate in a marginal role. 6'0" Seattle transfer Sterling Carter is also liable to make a cameo; he's another pure shot-up gunner shooting... 19/70 from three this season, well below his career mark.
Purdue's lone KP100 victory came by three points at #63 West Virginia—not exactly a statement game—and they only faced two other such opponents, losing on neutral floors to #16 Oklahoma State and #100 Butler. Despite not facing Michigan, Michigan State, or Iowa so far in Big Ten play, the Boilermakers have gone just 3-4 with close wins at home against Penn State and Nebraska and away at Illinois. They lost a double-OT game at Northwestern despite the Wildcats being down to six available players by the second overtime, got blown out at home by Ohio State and Wisconsin, and dropped a close one against Minnesota at The Barn.
KenPom favors Purdue in just two more games this season. This is not one of them.
Now that we're partway into conference play, I'll start posting four factors charts for all the games and Big Ten games only, with sample size issues obviously coming into play on the latter for a while.
Four factors, all games (national ranks in parentheses):
|eFG%||Turnover %||Off. Reb. %||FTA/FGA|
|Offense||47.6 (258)||16.7 (68)||37.2 (30)||39.2 (209)|
|Defense||45.8 (52)||18.0 (207)||31.0 (152)||40.6 (171)|
Conference-only (seven games, Big Ten ranks in parentheses):
|eFG%||Turnover %||Off. Reb. %||FTA/FGA|
|Offense||42.3 (10)||16.7 (6)||36.7 (1)||36.8 (8)|
|Defense||46.8 (5)||14.6 (11)||24.4 (2)||41.1 (8)|
Despite featuring a talented seven-footer, Purdue is dead last in the conference in two-point shooting (40.7%)(!), and their three-point shooting isn't much better—ninth in the B1G with a 30.7% mark. They're also ninth in free-throw percentage, last in shots blocked, and somehow posting a worse eFG% in transition (47.0%) than in non-transition possessions (47.8%).
Their defense is in the middle of the Big Ten pack, though a fair amount of luck appears to be bolstering their numbers; Purdue is last in the league in 3PA/FGA (39.3%) and first in 3P% against (28.8%). This is mostly due to Northwestern's woeful 4/24 3P performance in their matchup; Minnesota went 11/24 from beyond the arc against Purdue, so this team is susceptible to getting lit up from the outside, and their two-point defense is well below average despite Hammons' inside presence. The one thing they're consistently good at on both ends is rebounding.
Attack Hammons early. Hammons is Purdue's only real rim protector. He's also relatively foul-prone. If Michigan can find a way to get him in early foul trouble—whether by driving right at him, forcing him away from the basket with high screens, or taking charges on the other end—then the interior will be theirs for the taking.
Box out. Purdue can't really shoot, but they can rebound, and rely largely on putbacks to generate points. Hammons and Simpson are obviously the biggest worries here, though Smotherman and Peck are also excellent offensive rebounders; the bigs must stay disciplined on the boards and the guards might have to help out—a repeat of Caris LeVert's eight-rebound performance (all defensive) against MSU would be quite welcome.
Look to run. The Boilermakers' tendency to chuck off-target jumpers and crash the boards should lead to plenty of transition opportunities if Michigan wants to take advantage. The last few games have featured great outlet passing from not just Morford, but also perimeter players like LeVert and Stauskas. Expect to see some fast break fireworks and a nice bounce-back game for GRIII as a result.
THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES
Michigan by 17
The all-Johnson backcourt is a point of contention because Purdue rises and falls with them. When they are good, Purdue looks great. When they are off, Purdue looks pretty terrible and things like the Northwestern game happen. I feel like we rely on them too much to the point where other guys defer to them even when they struggle.
As for [Terone Johnson] on Stauskas, I don't trust Purdue defensively at all. We're a long way away from being able to play lockdown defense on anyone. There is just no edge with this team. There is no pride in playing Purdue-style basketball that we have been known for since Gene Keady started.
The dripping sound you just heard was Nik Stauskas drooling uncontrollably.
Hammer and Rails attempts to figure out what happened to Matt Painter's program. Brian linked this earlier but seriously look at Caris LeVert's numbers compared to Tim Hardaway's last season. Congratulations, Michigan State, on receiving the fugliest of Nike's new lineup of alternate jerseys. The Michigan-MSU game at Crisler has been set for a noon tipoff on February 23rd.
I agree. I'm actually worried about a let down, but I'm sure Coach B is too. The problem is that regardless of preparation, let downs seem to occur every year. Hopefully not tonight.
This one feels a lot more like 10, with Michigan pulling away early to mid-second half.
That said, this could also be a game where the three/four-headed guard goes absolutely off. Lean on Nik, Caris bombs you and vice versa; move out on both of them and they dump it inside for quick foul trouble on the one sold player you appear to have. Leave Walton alone and he continues to show why people were so high on him.
Those State Unis aren't the worst of the bunch. They wouldn't even be bad if they were actually the school's colors. What's funny is all the angry Sparty fans even though the Spartans reinvent their uniforms every three years or so.
To be fair Ace, it's not exactly shocking that a player with the last name Smotherman is a defensive specialist.
It'd be funnier if he were offense-only. He'd be a candidate for the Prince Fielder Ironic Sports Name Award.
at Crisler it would be fun to have the crowd primed to all stand up together and laugh and point. Okay, that would be mean, but in a fun way, no? I want to see our crowds become a little more inventive, as with hockey.
Great, now we will definately lose.
errick peck hhaass ttoooo mmaannyy rrss iinn hhiiss nnaammee.
finally both got good and stopped allowing him to take the Indiana talent. Dude does not look like such a savant without the good players.
I thought he was really hungry and ordering a sub. "I want an Italian meatball sub thiiiiiis big!"
butt still chaffe from missing out on GR??
I don't feel a let down here unless the crowd gives them less than they deserve. Playing at home on this kind of streak is not where typical let downs occur. Now we may be do for an off shooting night but as long as the basket looks like the ocean and there are dudes riding dolphins I say M by 14-17 is reasonable. Go Blue!