Michigan 68, Purdue 53

Submitted by Ace on January 24th, 2013 at 10:21 PM

Eric Upchurch/MGoBlog

For 25 minutes, it had all the makings of an upset.

Purdue entered Crisler Center as a 16.5-point underdog despite winning their last three games handily, while the home favorites had to shake off the rust from a weeklong layoff. Michigan looked listless offensively and lost defensively as the Boilermakers built a one-point halftime lead on the strength of seven first-half three-pointers.

For the first five minutes of the second half, it was more of the same—Michigan and Purdue trading baskets as the home crowd's consternation grew. Then Glenn Robinson III, playing against his father's alma mater—not to mention a school that couldn't find a scholarship for the in-state high school stardrilled a three from the corner. After baskets by Nik Stauskas and Trey Burke, he bookended a 10-0 Wolverine run with a three from the same spot.

From that point forward, Michigan put it in cruise control, especially after Stauskas exterminated a last-gasp 6-0 Purdue run with a three of his own. The Wolverines, tested mightily on their home court by the team that ruined last season's Senior Day, had managed to survive.

Robinson finished with 12 points and nine rebounds, but unlike previous games those points didn't come quietly. Before sparking the second-half run, Robinson jolted a sleepy crowd to their feet with a huge one-handed slam over DJ Byrd late in the first half after beating two defenders to the baseline. Robinson denied having any extra motivation against Purdue after the game, but his actions said otherwise.

Trey Burke didn't knock down any of his four three-point attempts; otherwise, he was his usual All-American-caliber self, hitting 6-of-10 twos en route to 15 points and a 8:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Purdue attempted to pin Burke to the sideline when Michigan ran the pick-and-roll, but Michigan adjusted, often flipping the pick* to free up their point guard.

Stauskas and Tim Hardaway did their part, especially from outside, combining for 25 points and 5-for-9 three-point shooting. However, Stauskas struggled guarding Byrd, who hit some NBA-distance threes in scoring 11 first-half points. In the second half, John Beilein gave Hardaway the task of shutting down the Purdue sharpshooter; Byrd failed to score in the game's final stanza, and the Boilermakers as a team went 0-for-9 from beyond the arc in the second half.

It wasn't the prettiest win for Michigan, but John Beilein—who was just 3-7 against Matt Painter's Purdue teams entering the game—was happy nonetheless with the effort. At halftime, he challenged his team to show more mental toughness.

"They responded really well. Really well," Beilein said, with a hint of a smile creeping across his face.

*having the screener set up on one side, then "flip" over to the other side of the defender


Michigan Arrogance

January 24th, 2013 at 10:51 PM ^

I'm continually amazed at how this team shows up EVERY night. Look at what happened to Duke- Miami and compare that to M vs osu. we won't go 38-1 but dang it's hard to see this team beat itself for more than 5-8mins. We'll be in every game, home and road vs the IUs, OSU, MSUs, Wisc, Ill and who ever M plays in the tourney.


January 24th, 2013 at 10:57 PM ^

I can't say I was overly suprised by this game. Teams that pressure Michigan really hard can disrupt the offense a bit (see OSU game) and if they get hot early they can fluster the team a bit (again see OSU game). It was likely that once the 25+ foot heaves stopped falling Michigan was gonna pull away, but it was still nice to see it happen. Any 15 pt win in the Big Ten is a good one and hopefully they'll come out the gate focused against the Illini on Sunday.

Mr. Yost

January 24th, 2013 at 11:25 PM ^

First, think back to the Iowa game. That game was like 28-29 or something close to that in the first half then Michigan went Michigan and blew the Hawkeyes off the face of the earth.

I found this game much different. In that game, we just weren't making shots early on. However, we were getting GREAT looks, we were executing, the ball just wouldn't drop. When it did, we finished on some crazy run that was video game worthy.

In this game, we couldn't even GET shots early on. Everything felt off and there was no fluidity. On defense, we were going through the motions until the mid-point of the 2nd half.

With that in mind - here are my thoughts:

Morgan and McGary compliment each other perfectly. One is not vastly better than the other, both have things they do very well. To me this rotation is simple. Play whoever is playing better at the time...Morgan gets the first crack and just go from there. Morgan had one of his better stretches of his season in this game, then he went ice cold right after and McGary's energy kept us going.

I like Horford at the 4, Robinson is undersized and Horford adds a deminsion as well. He's also a player that doesn't demand touches, he has a role and does it really well. I think Robinson and Horford compliment each other perfectly. (And this isn't saying Jon shouldn't play the 5 too...just saying he fits well at PF when GRIII is out). Robinson is skilled beyond his years. The kid just knows how to play basketball.

Stauskas - sigh, I'm going to get KILLED for this. But I really think it's time to cut his minutes back. Not a ton, just a little. In a dream world, he should be the 6th man off the bench. Give him time to get in the game, give him something to work for (more PT), and keep him focused. We don't have that luxury, but we're still damn good with him starting. Why do I say this? He's just flat out not a good defender. For every 3 he hits, he gives up points. Sometimes it's almost a wash when he plays. He'll score 12 and give up 9. I just don't understand why he won't commit himself on the defensive end. He's athletic, he's got size, he can jump...just get in a stance, focus, get a hand in a face and quit helping off your man so damn much.

With that said, I'd play Levert (or Albrecht at times) with THJ and Burke just a tad more. Now if Nik is on fire...clearly, let the kid do what he does best. But if he's not making shots, he doesn't give you much else. He needs to rebound, play tougher defense, SOMETHING...ANYTHING. And no, I'm not saying this cause some crazy Novak wanna be is running around banking 3's from half court.

THJ - he's turned the corner in my eyes. He's just a better and smarter basketball player. Reminds me so much of Brandon Roy. A healthier version. THJ is fun to watch, mainly because he "gets it" this year. I'd like to see him get tougher on defense, but he still communicates on D better than anyone on the team and when we need a stop, he's in position.

Burke - Wasn't his best day, but wasn't bad...he's still the best player on the floor. No complaints. But one thing I noticed today that I was upset that I hadn't seen all year was the fire in Burke on the defensive end. I don't know if anyone remembers, but Burke got PISSED last year when we kept putting Stu (and rightfully so) on the opponents best guard. Towards the end of the year he took it on himself to become a better defender so he could guard the best guard and Stu could stay at SG. He was very good towards the end of the year last year. That's been missing ALL year. He's gotten better offensively so it hasn't mattered. However, mid-way through the second half, you started to see Trey lock in defensively and it was like watching Greg Mattison's crew hitting on all cylinders. Masterful. If he can bring that every night. We win. Period. He's too good offensively and if he's stopping you too? Just pack your shit up and go home.

All in all, it's one of those ugly games that you're happy you win. You know it's going to happen a couple times, you just have to endure and move on. Not one you save on the DVR. I was proud of how we fought, especially defensively in the 2nd half. We need that effort and energy because we're an average defensive team. If Michigan plays as hard and focuses as hard on that end (like they do offensively), they're a legit frontrunner to the Final Four.

Mr. Yost

January 25th, 2013 at 7:25 PM ^

I know it'll never happen.

But if you give 2-3 more minutes to Albrecht and 2-3 more minutes to LeVert and take them from Stauskas (assuming he's not going nuts from beyond the arc)...that could have a major impact on the game without changing the lineup.

If Stauskas is in when THJ is getting a breather, he's clearly the #2 scorer on the floor...no need to force things or fight for the ball. When he's out there with THJ and Burke, you can tell he gets antsy if he doesn't get touches.

How many times does he pass when he's not forced to pass? Rarely.

In a John Beilein offense, that can't happen.


January 25th, 2013 at 3:16 PM ^

Great post, I agree.  Burke's defense was great this game and it was fun to watch.  Agree on Tim.  Agree on Nik, there were times this game I was saying 'cmon Nik, what was that, we need to put Levert in.'  His defense isn't great and when he's not making threes he gets frustrated and is liable to force things.  Also agree on Morgan and McGary, just play the one who is playing better, however more and more lately that person is McGary.  I think GRIII gets too much hype, of all the people on the team hes least capable of creating for himself.  He has a nice shot and of course is a great athlete but hes primarily just the benficiary of other people creating open looks for him.  Even on that dunk over Byrd it was available because his defender simply left him and gave him a wide open lane to the basket.  I don't think hes anywhere near ready for the NBA.

Mr. Yost

January 25th, 2013 at 7:21 PM ^


He doesn't NEED to do anything more than what he does. You have two proven leaders, scorers, shoot-first minded players in Burke and Hardaway. GRIII doesn't need to add to that. He's the Chris Bosh. Let LeBron and DWade do everything and just get your numbers off what they do.

That's why I think Stauskas hurts the team sometimes...he DOES think he needs to score and be on the same level as Burke and THJ. It would be better for him to come off the bench for THJ and then put THJ and Spike in for Burke and Levert. This way we always have two scorers on the floor at the guard position. We don't really need 3 until late in the game.

It's kind of weird how we resemble the Heat in terms of personnel. Except for the Heat, Ray Allen (Stauskas) doesn't start...he does finish the game with Wade (Burke) and James (THJ).

I'm not calling us the Heat, not comparing anyone...just saying our strengths are similar as a team. The Heat sometimes fumble when they have too much scoring on the floor at once, people just stand around. Same thing happens when we play our starting lineup, spacing is off and we don't run enough offense. How many times do you see Burke waving his hands at Stauskas to get out of the way and balance the floor?

Again, it's never going to happen. It would just be nice. I like the idea of always have 2 of the 3 on the floor rather than going 3 of the 3 then sometimes only 1 of the 3.


January 24th, 2013 at 11:40 PM ^

Ace can you test a theory of mine?

When you do the Illinois preview write up, can you just say the exact opposite of what they need to do to beat us? For example, if their point guard needs to get 15 points and 10 assists and their center needs a triple double in order to beat Michigan...Just write that their point guard needs -15 points and 10 turn overs with their center managing a 0-0-0.

If you could do this for the Illinois write-up I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks again for all you do, I like your write ups.


January 24th, 2013 at 11:45 PM ^

Stauskas definitely has some work to do on the defensive end. However, I don't think you can really hold him responsible for Byrd's early points. Those were pretty much bad shots that Byrd happened to hit. One was a bs bank shot and another was from about 27 feet; can't remember the third. He doesn't help well and he is susceptible to ball fakes. 

His turnover on the early bounce pass to McGary while driving was a good idea but terrible execution. 

Bigs need to do a better job of finishing. McGary and Morgan had contested shots but they still missed too many 3 footers or layups. 

McGary handled the ball well on the fast break and on the play where he drove from the top of the key. You could see the impressive athleticism for a guy his size. 

Team was flat and Purdue hit those 3s but we pretty much pulled away as they regressed to the mean. I'll be nervous for both @Illinois and the rematch in West Lafayette. 


January 24th, 2013 at 11:49 PM ^

Did Horford play any 4 tonight? I only saw the 2nd half, but just looking at the box, it doesn't seem like it (GRIII played 37 minutes). There are 3 extra minutes between Horford, McG, and Morgan's playing time, so maybe that's it. 

I can see what you're saying about playing Horford at the 4, and sitting Stauskas to get more defense, but I think it goes against the way that Belein has decided this team plays best. He's clearly prioritized the creation of space on the offensive end above all else, which makes sense given Burke's ability in the 2 man game. With Stauskas, GRIII, and THJ on the perimeter, he severely hampers the ability of their defenders to help on Burke when he plays the 2-man game with whoever's playing the pick-setter. In a way, they're playing like the Knicks did last year during the Linsanity era, when they used Lin and Tyson Chandler (who's the archetype of the big man that works in this offense) and surrounded them with perimeter spot up shooters, or even more accurately, they're playing as a slower version of the 7-seconds of less Suns. Both of those teams sacrificed size and defensive toughness (though the Suns were not as bad defensively as people think, they just emerged before the mainstreaming of tempo-free stats) to create space on the offensive end, guessing that they could score more efficiently, than their opponents.

The problem with playing Horford at the 4 is that he has virtually no offensive game, and his defender would be essentially free to wander as an extra help defender. Would he add enough on the defensive end to offset the ways he would likely hamper the offensive efficiency? I kind of doubt it. More Levert for Stauskas might be a middle ground. He's not nearly the scorer and his guy would certainly help until he proved he could hit a 3, but he would add to the defense.

The other reason we can play this style is that GRIII and THJ have done such great work on the defensive boards. Their defensive rebounding prowess has allowed Michigan to get away with playing essentially three guards and a small forward without getting killed on the boards. 


January 25th, 2013 at 1:08 AM ^

Horford needs to get more minutes. I love seeing him paired with Morgan or Mcgary at the same time. IMO it's worth cutting into levert and gr3s time to make this happen. Not into stauskas, because I think it would be lethal to have him and hardaway on the wings for the two bigs to kick it back out to.

San Diego Mick

January 25th, 2013 at 1:29 AM ^

suggesting things to Coach B, hilarious. I think he knows his team better than any of us do, that's for certain.

I think Hprford will get more minutes moving forward, he's just now getting back to full strength, patience people.

Look how Spike and Caris are getting more minutes, if anything, Max B will be the one losing minutes or not playing much because of Horford. We have a solid 9/10 man rotation that can mix and match size and quickness, not to mention scoring. I like our squad more than any other out there.

As long as we come to play focused, we're the team to beat IMHO.


January 25th, 2013 at 2:03 AM ^

Think about this hypothetical scenario for a minute.  It will require going deep into fairytale land, because it will never happen ever ever, but allow yourself to momentarily indulge in the awesomeness that would occur if this happened.  Michigan has enough scholarships available for every single non-senior to return next season, in addition to the three incoming freshman.  Say Trey Burke decides that the NBA can wait.  If you do not look like Homer Simpson after stumbling upon a mountain of Hot and Fresh Krispy Kreme doughnuts right now, something is seriously wrong with you. 


January 25th, 2013 at 7:21 AM ^

The reason Stauskas is so good at basketball is because he is a time lord.  He has two hearts, that is why he plays the game with a lot of passion.  He also has a basketball court on the T.A.R.D.I.S., so he has plenty of time to practice his three pointers.

UM Indy

January 25th, 2013 at 7:38 AM ^

has earned a starting role and increased minutes IMHO. Outstanding rebounder and looks for and hits deep outlet passes after the rebound to get us out on the run, runs the floor extremely well for a big guy, shot blocker, gets in passing lanes for steals, even can dribble drive a little. Intensity, hustle, etc. In essence, everything you want in a big man ... and he's still learning and will get better.

Yeah, I'm in love with the kid. What about it?

Blue boy johnson

January 25th, 2013 at 8:17 AM ^

I think on reason Beilein played Horford and McGary/Morgan together was to get a feel for it in real time. Against MSU, with Payne and Nix, it might be necessary to match Horford with Payne and McGary/Morgan with Nix, if Michigan is protecting a lead and fears getting killed on the offensive boards.


January 25th, 2013 at 8:44 AM ^

Do you know when he did this (I missed the first half and was watching on a lousy stream for the 2 nd)? I'm curious to see how the offense looked with two guys who don't space the floor.

I agree that MSU will challenge this team defensively, in that they're dedicated to getting the ball in the post and can do it with three players (Nix, Payne and Dawson). We haven't really played a team that relies on the low block as much as MSU and if we have to continually double, we could open things up for Appling and Harris.

That said, I'm skeptical of Nix's or Payne's ability to check GRIII, so that might be a trade off Belein's willing to make. Another possibility is that Belein's worried about what happens if GRIII gets in foul trouble, since he's playing so many minutes.

Blue boy johnson

January 25th, 2013 at 9:36 AM ^

In the first half, after the 12:00 minute timeout Morgan was in the game with Horford. M was down 19-14 at this time. Score was 21-18 when this rotation ended, with McGary and GRIII replacing Horford and Morgan at the 8:40 mark. M's two buckets in this sequence were a floater by LeVert and a layup from Morgan.

Burke was out of the game at the beginning of this juncture and Spike was running the point, later in this time period Burke subbed in for LeVert and M played with two Bigs and two PG's.

In the second half, Beilein played Morgan and McGary together for a minute around the 7:00 minute mark

Interesting side note to the end of the first half. Burke tried to thread the needle on an ill advised pass with about 2:10 to go in the half. Michigan retained possession when Purdue tipped the pass out of bounds. Beilein took Burke out of the game for the remainder of the half, opting to go with Spike at the point.

Blue boy johnson

January 25th, 2013 at 10:53 AM ^

I haven't seen anything about Big Dog attending games either, or for that matter, Tito Horford coming to see Jon Play.

I read something a while back quoting Glen Robinson Jr.; He spoke about what a good job GRIII's mom was doing with both his sons from their time together.

Here is an excellent article from SI on GRIII and Tim Hardaway Jr. Unfortunately it is penned by Michael Rosenberg, but the guy is a very good writer. In this article Glen Robinson Jr gives some insight on why he doesn't regularly attend GRIII's games.


Big Dog did not watch his son play a high school basketball game until the end of Glenn III's junior year. His Lake Central team played a Class 4A playoff game against the No. 1 team in the state, Munster. Glenn III scored 31 of his team's 53 points, including a three-pointer at the regulation buzzer to force overtime. But Lake Central lost 54--53. Afterward Big Dog told a reporter from the Northwest Indiana Times, "I want him to be free. I don't want him to miss a layup and see his dad and think I'm disappointed. It's not like that." Glenn III saw his father after the game and was surprised. He had forgotten his dad was there.