Hoops Preview: Purdue, Part Two

Submitted by Ace on January 25th, 2018 at 12:46 PM


WHAT #27 Michigan (17-5, 6-3)
at #2 Purdue (19-2, 8-0)
WHERE Mackey Arena
West Lafayette, Indiana
WHEN 7 pm ET, Thursday
LINE Purdue -13 (KenPom)
Purdue -14.1 (Torvik)
Purdue -10 (Vegas)
PBP: Rece Davis
Analyst: Robbie Hummel

Right: Moe vs. Drago IV [Marc-Gregor Campredon]


Michigan's trip to face a white-hot Purdue squad represents something of a no-lose situation for the Wolverines. Neither the fancystat sites nor Vegas give Michigan much of a shot to win this one.

According to Bart Torvik's tourneycast, a loss would keep Michigan at their current standing as a projected 8-seed. A win, meanwhile, would shoot them all the way up to the 5-seed line. Barring a deep conference tourney run, this is easily M's best shot at getting off the dreaded 8/9 line and even get a little wiggle room to stay off of it. It'd also keep Michigan in contention for a rather shocking Big Ten regular season title; a loss almost certainly knocks them out of the race.


Michigan was on the brink of handing Purdue their only conference loss until the Zaprudering.


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 13 137 Not At All
Very efficient, low-usage PG. Hitting 51% of threes. Strong defender.
G 3 Carsen Edwards So. 6'0, 190 68 28 119 Not At All
B1G's most improved. Shot creator who's greatly improved finishing.
G 31 Dakota Mathias Sr. 6'4, 200 76 19 129 Not At All
Three-point sniper, also threat inside arc, good passer when D overcommits.
F 12 Vincent Edwards Sr. 6'8, 225 75 24 122 Not At All
Does a bit of everything on offense, good defender.
C 44 Isaac Haas Sr. 7'2, 290 54 26 122 Very
Behemoth. Strong post scorer, rebounder, shot-blocker.
C 32 Matt Haarms Fr. 7'3, 250 46 16 109 Very
Low-usage Haas, basically. Some offensive dropoff but none on defense.
G 14 Ryan Cline Jr. 6'5, 190 46 14 118 Not At All
Just A Shooter™, makes 41% of his threes.
G 20 Nojel Eastern Fr. 6'6, 220 32 19 88 Yes
Big combo guard at best around hoop. Hits the glass. Turnover-prone.

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


For more detail, revisit the preview from the first game, since not much has changed since then.

Since the first matchup, Purdue has won their last three games by an average margin of 28 points, moving up to #2 on KenPom and #1 on Torvik. At yesterday's presser, John Beilein noted a boggling stat from conference play:

With Isaac Haas commanding serious attention inside, Purdue's shooters have gone wild, making 47% of their triples in Big Ten play. They've clearly passed Michigan State as the team to beat in the conference; they rank first in the B1G in both offensive and defensive efficiency.

The primary matchup focus, as usual, will be Haas vs. Moe Wagner; more broadly, it's John Beilein vs. Matt Painter as they continue a years-long battle to find the right way to win that matchup. Before Nebraska deployed it with great success, Painter had Purdue switch everything against Michigan in the first game:

I don't know if Matt Painter's constant absurd switching was brilliant or idiotic. It was both? At the same time? Probably? Yes. It oscillated wildly between those two states on possession to possession basis.

On some possessions Michigan would stare blankly into the middle distance for 25 seconds before Charles Matthews thundered at a 7'2" or 7'3" guy with little success. On others Zavier Simpson would check to make sure he had the laces right on the basketball—another good Dakich catch—before lifting up in front of a helpless Isaac Haas. Michigan seemed to figure it out in the second half when they made their push to tie, and then it evaporated late on two or three horrendous offensive possessions, any one of which could have produced a game-winning basket.

Given the results since, expect to see more of that. Wagner didn't do enough to take advantage of switches in the first game, and he wasn't helped by teammates unaccustomed to feeding the post—something they normally avoid, which is fine under normal circumstances but much less so when your 6'11" center has at least a half-foot on his defender.


Conference-only stats. Small sample size caveats apply.

Four Factors explanation

No, I can't find the weakness, either. The only thing on either side of the ball that Purdue isn't doing particularly well is get to the free-throw line, and that doesn't matter too much when you're raining fire from beyond the arc.


Z, aggressive. Michigan came within an eyelash of beating Purdue earlier this month in large part because Zavier Simpson had one of his best games. If the Boilermakers are going to be content switching screens and daring Simpson to take Haas off the dribble, he has to be willing to do so—and effective when he does. He dropped 15 points with five assists and one turnover in the first matchup; he'll need to post a similar stat-line for Michigan to hang in this one.

Be on, Wagner. Meanwhile, Michigan probably already has a win over Purdue if Wagner avoids a foul or two in the first matchup and makes one or two more shots. With the way Painter is expected to approach this game, Wagner could have a Louisville-type performance if he's on top of his game; he can light up Haas one-on-one or take advantage of post-ups against guards if Michigan can get him the ball in the right spots. 

Stick to shooters. Haas is a terrifying presence, and the prospect of getting dunked on by Ivan Drago often leads teams to overcommit theiir defense to the interior. With Purdue's shooters, that's asking for a beatdown. As scary as this sounds, Wagner and Teske will have to do their best to play the big man straight up—maybe with the occasional quick double on the catch—while the rest of the defense prevents literally everyone else in the lineup from getting open, high-percentage looks from beyond the arc.


Purdue by 13.

Michigan at least has a blueprint for pulling the upset. It still involves pretty much everyone being on top of their game, and the team hasn't had it all come together like that since the MSU game. While Beilein has finally had some practice time to work on beating switches, a few days can only do so much—I think that strategy remains effective enough, at least for stretches, for Purdue to keep Michigan at bay.


UMHoops preview. First game film breakdown from the Daily's Max Marcovitch.


Perkis-Size Me

January 25th, 2018 at 12:55 PM ^

As long as we don't get completely blown out, this game is basically playing with house money. No one expects Michigan to win, so if they lose their current bracket projection doesn't change much. 

Eeek out a win and the trajectory for the rest of the season has changed. If nothing else, it gets us off that damn 8/9 line. 


January 25th, 2018 at 1:48 PM ^

They went 1-2 in the Bahamas at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, losing to Tennessee by three in OT and by four to WKU before beating the snot out of Arizona by 25.

They are 18-0 in the United States and have only allowed two teams to get within single digits at Mackey (UL by nine and NW by five).  It pains me to say they are scary good.


January 25th, 2018 at 12:57 PM ^

It will make it hard for Michigan to make a run if Purdue can match or exceed 3 pt efficiency. Everyone's play will be important, but Mo(e) needs to have another night like he did against MSU. Team needs to attack early in the shot clock, and look for steals. 


January 25th, 2018 at 4:47 PM ^

It's in conference play only not the entire season which is implied by Quinn's tweet. On the full season they have 3 guys that have made more than Duncan's 39 (Thompson, Mathias and C Edwards).

So conference games are a smaller sample size, but it's still amazing, especially considering they've played one fewer conference game than we have!



January 25th, 2018 at 1:09 PM ^

Why is everyone afraid of PURDUE

They are good but it's not like we're playing a vintage UNC or Duke team here. 

They have some pretty good athletes who will be lucky to make the G League. We have future pros on our roster, more than they do. 

I don't understand the lax attitude toward the success of our basketball team. It's like we just want them to be fairly good, beat our rivals and not be better than the football team.

To Hell with Purdue and average standards for the basketball team. This is Michigan fergodsakes and if anyone in this sport deserves a national title it's John Beilein. GO BLUE, Beat the Boilers!!!


January 25th, 2018 at 1:22 PM ^

In case you haven't noticed, Purdue is pretty good this year. Actually, VERY good.

Everyone here is cheering for Michigan to upset Purdue, but we are acknowledging that it would be a significant upset. That isn't a "lax attitude toward the success of our basketball team." That is having a realistic assessment of our chances.

I agree: Go Blue! Beat the Boilermakers! 

Toe Meets Leather

January 25th, 2018 at 1:31 PM ^

how many NBA prospects you have on a team. Look at a guy like Aaron Craft, albeit very different than this Purdue team, no NBA future but drove us and other opponents crazy for years. Also, Haas arguably has a brigher NBA future than anyone on M, as Moe's draft stock has sputtered this year and others still remain unproven/uncertain.

This Purdue team is dangerous as it has a kind of damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. You have to guard the Haas and double team him with some regularity, but that leaves guys that are on fire from 3 open. Don't double Haas and he'll tear you up inside. And don't forget they have an even taller "double a" in Haarms who is better on defense.

If Purdue suddenly goes cold from three, I'll share your optimistic sentiments.


January 25th, 2018 at 2:15 PM ^

he could make a roster as a situational backup C, or could work his way into the league if he develops an outside shot, but Vince Edwards has the best chance, IMO.  I'm surprised he's not getting any 2nd round love in the mocks.  Pretty typical 3 and D guy that the NBA loves.  Can guard multiple positions, good athlete and rebounder, hits 3s.

Purdue definitely is a collection of really good college players that play hard and smart but don't necessarily have a ton of NBA talent. 

I would actually argue our team is similar this year.  Matthews is a physical freak (as is Haas) but he has a lot of holes in his game right now and would have to get better at shooting 3s and FTs.  Wagner probably can't defend any position in the NBA so while he's incredibly skilled offensively, he's hard to figure. And out of the young guys, we don't have a freakishly long, athletic sleeper like Caris or DJ that had all the physical tools.

Poole is probably the best pro prospect on the team.


January 25th, 2018 at 1:33 PM ^

Take their offensive efficiency, 118.7, and subtract their defensive efficiency, 92.3. You get 26.3.

Do the same for us and we get 4.6. That's a lot of net efficiency to be giving up.

Add in the fact that this is a home game for Purdue and you should understand why no one should be upset if we lose this game.


January 25th, 2018 at 3:26 PM ^

We're being given about a 10% chance to win.  So I have hope that the 1 in 10 occurence will happen.  I will be upset if we get 0 wins out of it, rather than the 0.10 expected wins we have now.  Any fan with any hope should be upset when that hope, if only a glimmer, is dashed.

 I won't be surprised at all. And I'll only be 10% upset, and then will easily move on (unless we get seriously f-d by the refs again).  Which actually brings up the fact that my level of upset-ness somewhat depends on how we play.  I'll be more disappointed if we don't show up again like the Nebraska game because that'll portend worse things for the future than if we play well.


January 25th, 2018 at 1:33 PM ^

were looking at blowout City tonight...Almost feels like we peaked at MSU..barely and lucky to escape Maryland, blowout at Nebraska and ho hum against Rutgers... Weve been inconsistent especiallyy Mo, one good game 2 bad.....having said that the rest of the schedule after Purdue is pretty favorable to possibly win out..

Piston Blue

January 25th, 2018 at 1:31 PM ^

the last 3 games can be explained by lack of rest. The team's gotten plenty in preparation for this one, so hopefully we can get back to the gangbusters-level we were at 2 weeks ago


January 25th, 2018 at 3:27 PM ^

that are not longshots.

The committee is doing something significant this year that will help us in the current big ten (link):

Instead of the previous top 50 and top 100 cutoffs for "quality" wins that aren't based on location, games are now being tiered into these quadrants:

Quadrant 1: Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75
Quadrant 2: Home 31-75; Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135
Quadrant 3: Home 76-160; Neutral 101-200; Away 136-240
Quadrant 4: Home 161-plus; Neutral 201-plus; Away 241-plus.

This is important, especially in this year's big ten because our game at Nebraska counts in the toughest tier (as it should).  @Maryland will be a tier 1 game. @Northwestern, @Wisconsin and @PSU will all (likely) be Q2 games now instead of being lumped into the not-top-100 tier that used to hurt you if lose and didn't really help if you won.

Add in the home game v OSU which a Q1 game and we have plenty of chances to improve the resume - chances that aren't longshots but are actually likely wins.

If we go 3-2 in those 5 Q1 and Q2 games and win the rest of our home games (which will all be Q3) to finish 12-6 in conference play, we're off the 8/9 line to a 7 even with a loss tonight.  If we go 4-1 in those games and take care of business at home were looking at a 5/6.


January 25th, 2018 at 5:37 PM ^

so yeah, PSU and Wisconsin are right on the border right now!

They're both top 90 kenpom teams so they're likely to win enough remaining games to stay on the good side of 135th.  The mess that is RPI tends to get sorted out a little bit towards the end of the season such that teams in that range that will only be playing games that can help them, tend to move up as their SOS gets better.


January 25th, 2018 at 4:20 PM ^

MSU in '15-'16 had three seniors, one junior and a freshman.  That's the closest I can come up with off the top of my head.

EDIT: Wichita State was in the top-5 for a while and has four senior starters.  They are very similar in makeup to Purdue with no real superstars but a lot of very good college players who won't necessarily make it in the NBA.


January 25th, 2018 at 4:40 PM ^

Disagree that this game tonight will somehow determine getting off the 8/9 seed. If Michigan goes 7-1 over their last 8 Big Ten games (hardest being OSU at home followed by @Maryland), and wins their first BTT game, hard to imagine us not being a 7 or 6. 


January 25th, 2018 at 6:34 PM ^

I'd employ what the Pack did to Hakeem in the 83 championship game: do you work trying to get him as far off his spot as possible, then stay grounded with arms straight up once he goes up for his shot, and finally box the hell out. Moe especially really doesn't have a chance to stop him, so it's not worth getting into foul trouble--need his offensive presence to be competitive.