Hoops Preview: Purdue, Big Ten Championship Game Comment Count

Ace March 4th, 2018 at 11:39 AM


WHAT #9 Michigan (27-7, 13-5)
at #5 Purdue (28-5, 15-3)
WHERE Madison Square Garden
New Yooooooooork, NY
WHEN 4:30 pm ET
LINE Purdue -3 (KenPom)
Purdue -3.4 (Torvik)
Purdue -3.5 (Vegas)

ayyyyyyyy got me a slice why you lookin over heah


Michigan is all the way up to #9(!) on KenPom with the #6(!!!) defense in the country, which is three spots ahead of the Michigan State defense(!!!!!) they so delightfully dispatched yesterday. If you'd like to enjoy some of the GIFs a bit early, I've been uploading them to the gfycat page.

Most brackets are lagging behind the action a bit because it's a week early for breathlessly frequent updates; while the Bracket Matrix has Michigan as a five-seed, that's including several brackets that have them as a seven-, eight-, or even a nine-seed in one case. That's not happening no matter how much the committee hates this year's Big Ten. Yesterday's win probably locked up a four-seed; Torvik's forecast has Michigan as the third three-seed (one spot in front of MSU) and they don't drop off the three-line if you project a loss to Purdue. A projected win gets them to a two-seed(!!!!!!!!!!) in Torvik's forecast, though I'm guessing the committee's (justified) skepticism of the B1G this year would prevent that. Either way, Michigan may very well be playing for a spot in Detroit the first weekend of the tournament.

Oh, and a banner. They're playing for another banner. Banners are good. I like banners. You like banners. Let's get a banner.


Projected starters are in bold. Hover over headers for stat explanations. The "Should I Be Mad If He Hits A Three" methodology: we're mad if a guy who's not good at shooting somehow hits one. Yes, you're still allowed to be unhappy if a proven shooter is left open. It's a free country.

Pos. # Name Yr. Ht./Wt. %Min %Poss ORtg SIBMIHHAT
G 11 PJ Thompson Sr. 5'10, 185 69 12 127 Not At All
Very efficient, low-usage PG. Hitting 44% of threes. Strong defender.
G 3 Carsen Edwards So. 6'0, 190 73 29 119 Not At All
Best guard in the B1G this year. Efficient volume scorer/shot creator.
G 31 Dakota Mathias Sr. 6'4, 200 78 18 129 Not At All
Three-point sniper, good passer, and excellent defender.
F 12 Vincent Edwards Sr. 6'8, 225 74 24 119 Not At All
Does a bit of everything on offense, good defender.
C 44 Isaac Haas Sr. 7'2, 290 59 27 121 Very
Behemoth. Strong post scorer, rebounder, shot-blocker.
C 32 Matt Haarms Fr. 7'3, 250 41 16 110 Very
Low-usage Haas, basically. Huge block rate but sometimes gambles too much.
G 14 Ryan Cline Jr. 6'5, 190 43 13 117 Not At All
Just A Shooter™, makes 40% of his threes.
G 20 Nojel Eastern Fr. 6'6, 220 31 19 92 Yes
Big combo guard at best around hoop. Hits the glass. Turnover-prone.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]


Stop the giant without helping off shooters. [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

You know this Purdue team quite well by now; they're already been the subject of two previews here. Michigan lost to them twice this season by a combined total of five points, and their win at Crisler came with the help of an extremely dubious replay decision in the game's waning moments.

John Beilein and Matt Painter have been engaged in a masterful game of basketball chess the last two seasons as Beilein counters Purdue's size with five-out offense and Painter devises ways to slow that down. The focus has mostly been on the matchup between Moe Wagner and Isaac Haas; Wagner will drag Haas out of his comfort zone on defense, while Haas will do the same on the other end with physical, effective post-ups.

The Boilermakers surround Haas with snipers. In order of three-point lethality: Dakota Mathias, PJ Thompson, Carsen Edwards, Ryan Cline, and Vincent Edwards all hit 40% or better from beyond the arc. Mathis is especially deadly because of his ability to fire in an instant after cutting off the ball. Carsen Edwards is arguably the best guard in the conference this year as a sophomore; he's the guy most likely to drill a killer shot off the bounce, and he can also attack the basket. Vince Edwards does everything well, though he's been a little slowed lately by an ankle injury that caused him to miss three games heading into the BTT. Thompson and Cline are mostly just shooters.


Four Factors explanation

Purdue now boasts the #1 three-point shooting squad in the country. Combine that with the effective post offense of Haas and Haarms, excellent free-throw shooting, and an aversion to turnovers, and you get the #2-ranked offense. The Boilermakers won't attack the offensive glass like Michigan State—they've joined Michigan in the ranks of those who prioritize transition defense—but it's otherwise very hard to find a weak point.

The defense is a little more malleable, and as we've covered extensively over the last couple seasons, Michigan presents problems for Purdue significantly unlike most other teams. The Wolverines will go five-out in the hopes that neutralizes their impressive shot-blocking.


More of that, Z. In addition to his starring role in yesterday's semifinal, Zavier Simpson had two of his best games all year against Purdue—his ability to get by Thompson and make plays in the lane nearly allowed M to pull off two upsets. Meanwhile, he'll defend Carsen Edwards, who's on an absolute tear, scoring 20+ in six of his last eight games, including 27 in yesterday's win over PSU. If Simpson can keep Edwards out of the paint and force tough looks from the outside, M has a great shot.

More of that, Duncan. While Livers is still technically the starter, Robinson is playing starter-level minutes and he's clearly earned them. He gets a matchup with Vince Edwards that would've been terrifying a few months ago. Now it feels like this could be the key to the game. When Edwards plays well, Purdue is incredibly tough to slow down, but Robinson could make life hard on him in the post. Add in some three-pointers and baby, we've got a stew goin'.

Do more, say more, Wagner. Michigan's main advantage over Purdue has been Wagner's ability to draw their big men out to the perimeter, hit open threes off the high screen, and open up the paint for the guards/wings. If he can tread water as an interior defender, he just needs to be his normal self on offense to put Haas in a bind—the way Michigan loses without a tough fight is if they need to start helping in the paint and get rained on from the outside. Threes are worth more than twos. Let's make them and then talk a hilarious amount of trash, please.

Win the game. Obligatory.


Purdue by 3.



March 4th, 2018 at 11:49 AM ^

Purdue by 3 seems about perfect.  This team is tough and Painter has truly done a good job gameplanning on us.  Of course it helps they shot lights out against us (as we were doing the same and SEEMED we should've had a lead on them).  A banner would be great, a 3 seed would be amazing, but I've a feeling we're running into a team of destiny, even though they've been faltering a bit lately.


March 4th, 2018 at 11:53 AM ^

What do we predict Michigan’s chances of playing in Detroit even with a loss today? Is it feasible that all top seeds before Michigan get to play close to home without filling up the LCA spots?


March 4th, 2018 at 12:01 PM ^

because Xavier, Cincinatti, Purdue, MSU, and others would probably suck up the Nashville, Pittsburgh and Detroit spots such that we'll be looking at Boise or Dallas or San Diego.

Win today and Detroit is likely because we'd probably move ahead of a few of those teams (including probably MSU and maybe Purdue).


March 4th, 2018 at 11:57 AM ^

Palm still has us as a five updated this morning, so I think Ace is maybe overly optimistic to say yesterdy locked up a four seed.  No dout we are one of the sixteen best teams in the country, but the committee never fails to fail.

Hotel Putingrad

March 4th, 2018 at 1:52 PM ^

at my old house, we'd wake up to finding random half-eaten slices of pizza on our deck, which faced the street over a tuck-under garage. we always figured it was drunks walking home from the bars around the corner and tossing them up there like savages. Then one day, we see this overweight squirrel trying to run across our backyard with a slice of pepperoni dangling from his mouth. He must have been getting the pizza from some nearby dumpster, but he obviously liked the way it tasted and had developed quite the habit.


March 4th, 2018 at 12:12 PM ^

Michigan did a great job yesterday of fronting JJJ and denying him passes deep into the post. 

When that didn't work, it was almost always all over . . . he posted up like the beast he is and scored.

We need to do the same with Haas.  When he gets the ball deep in the post, it's almost always all over.  All you get for your troubles on D are an easy 2 pointer and a ticky tack belly bump foul. 

The best way to defend Haas deep in the post is to not let him have the ball in there in the first place.  Plus it helps save those inevitable huh?? fouls always called on Wagner in the first three minutes of the game.



March 4th, 2018 at 2:49 PM ^

Haas has a catching radius unlike anyone else in the B1G and the bulk to put it where he wants to get the ball. He’s a menace whether you guard him in front or back. This is Mo’s greatest challenge thus far, with his quick footwork pitted against a monster.


March 4th, 2018 at 12:16 PM ^

It seems like Michigan has been outperforming KenPom (Iowa game excluded) by about 10 points lately, so I predict Purdue wins by 3.


March 4th, 2018 at 12:49 PM ^

I keep hearing how hard it is to beat a team three times in one season.

Do your thing, JB and company.

Looking forward to getting crazy with subs tonight.


March 4th, 2018 at 2:08 PM ^

Playing Teske and Wagner together negates our biggest advantage offensively. Also, whatever minor defensive upgrade we get for putting a bigger body on Haas is lost when considering Wagner trying to check Vince Edwards. The only way we see Teske/Wagner together is if Purdue is up big because they are rebounding everything.

Also, Matthews is having a bit of a renaissance right now. You willing go sit him or Duncan in favor of more Teske?

The key to this game will be shooting. Everyone needs to be on. Poole needs to bust out of his slump. Duncan needs to be dialed in. Moe needs to be dialed in. MAAR needs to be good, assertive MAAR.

And we need to hope Carsen Edwards doesn't go off. If you ever wondered "what if Trey Burke had explosive NBA level athletecism but was also still Trey Burke?" That is Carsen Edwards. If he gets hot, its over. Purdue will beat anyone.


March 4th, 2018 at 1:33 PM ^

We were a different team defensively the first two meetings. If mo can avoid early fouls and we stay home and contest their threes then we can limit the lights out shooting we encountered the first two times. Mo and Teskes ability to contest post shots has been excellent lately


March 4th, 2018 at 1:59 PM ^

Great matchup today. The two Purdue losses were two of our best games. They’re a tough team with a lot of weapons. Wouldn’t be surprised if they won and got a 1 seed. I also wouldn’t be surprised if we won and got a 3 seed. Win today!!!


March 4th, 2018 at 3:08 PM ^

Purdue is terrifying. The way they rain threes from everywhere, the good coaching, Haas owning the middle...

My comfort here is that we are terrifying to them. They won two couldn't-be-closer games against us, it's really hard to beat anyone three times, and Michigan is hot right now.

I still think we lose, but it's not a sure thing. Purdue seems built to make a run in the tournament this year (oddly much better suited to it without Swanigan, but that allows them to play four-out). Hoping for a win and to not see them again until the Final Four.