[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Michigan 76, Purdue 57 Comment Count

Alex Cook December 1st, 2018 at 6:29 PM

For the second time this week, Michigan welcomed a ranked team with one of the best offenses in the country to the Crisler Center, and for the second time, the Wolverines won easily. In this one, Michigan got out to a fast start against Purdue: consecutive threes from Jordan Poole and Charles Matthews, then a layup from Zavier Simpson past Matt Haarms prompted a timeout from Matt Painter less than four minutes into the game. At that point, the Wolverines led 13-4. Purdue didn’t get the deficit to within a possession for the rest of the game.

Michigan found plenty of open shots against the Boilermakers’ switch-heavy defense in the first half and took advantage. Michigan went on an extended scoring run reminiscent of John Beilein’s best offensive teams, and there were plenty of highlights throughout the half: the Wolverines hit nine threes, including three each from Poole and Matthews; Ignas Brazdeikis hit a particularly nasty step-back three over Grady Eifert; Matthews found Jon Teske for two alley-oop dunks, one of which extended Michigan’s lead to 31-16 halfway through the half.

That 31-16 margin held up for almost five minutes, as Michigan’s offense went cold and their defense began to lock down Purdue. Ryan Cline got open for a few threes, but otherwise Michigan’s defense was on point, especially against All-American lead guard Carsen Edwards. Purdue’s star needed to have a strong performance to have a chance at pulling off the upset, but he was held to 7-21 shooting from the field, fell short of his scoring average with 19 points, and had more turnovers than assists for the Boilermakers.



Purdue’s offense is built around Edwards’s relentless attacking style, and his aggressiveness eventually waned, as he only had three shots after the under-16 timeout in the second half. Michigan played well on both sides of the halftime break: the Wolverines hit a few threes and had another Matthews-to-Teske alley-oop to close out the first, and kept pace with a little run from Edwards to start the second. Poole kept on scoring - and finished with a game-high 21 points on just nine shots - but Matthews cooled off, and wound up scoreless in the second half.

Michigan’s offense bogged down for a while - they had a stretch without a made field goal that lasted for over nine minutes - but Purdue was unable to cut the lead to closer than 12 points during that span. Jon Teske emerged as a focal point of the Wolverine offense in the second half: he hit two pick-and-pop threes, slipped some screens to break a ball-screen coverage that had started to stymie Michigan’s guards, and had 12 second half points (he finished with 17). Of course, his excellent defense around the rim was a big factor in the win as well.

Over the course of the game, Michigan’s offense had some hot and cold stretches, but ultimately the Wolverines shot 13-26 from three and ended the game with 1.23 points per possession. Zavier Simpson, who played a major role in slowing down Edwards - sticking to him off screens, contesting every shot - was more involved in the offense than usual. Simpson was inefficient shooting (10 points on a team-high 14 shots), but had seven assists to just one turnover and frequently made the right decision when confronted with bigs on the switch. Michigan’s starters were relied on heavily in this game, as Isaiah Livers was quiet, and all five finished with at least nine points.



The Wolverine defense allowed 0.92 points per possession against an elite offense and one of the best scorers in college basketball. Michigan did well on several different fronts: forcing Edwards into a ton of missed shots (and maklng him really labor for even decent looks) was the key battle, but Michigan also muted Purdue’s typically terrific three-point shooting and offensive rebounding. As usual, the Wolverine defense was close to impeccable in its ball-screen coverages, rotations, and decisions on whether to send help; they contested almost every shot and eventually broke Purdue’s will.

Michigan travels to Northwestern on Tuesday and then will go a month without facing a decent opponent until Big Ten play resumes. This was the only scheduled matchup between the Wolverines and the Boilermakers, and UM notched a strong early result as they mount a campaign for a conference title. Michigan has been easily the best team in the league thus far and have looked as dominant as anyone in all of college basketball. With today's win, they recorded their their third quality win of the season - and they still haven’t even played a close game.

[Box score after the JUMP]

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December 1st, 2018 at 8:33 PM ^

It’s been incredible seeing this level of play and early success. Feeling good about this team’s ability to go up against anyone and make a championship run.

The only concern I have is that someone (or more) goes down to injury during the season. With us leading in games by such wide margins, I wonder why we have a very tight rotation and play starters so much. Why not give them more rest and try to develop some depth on our bench since we can afford to?


December 1st, 2018 at 8:36 PM ^

They need to earn playing time in practice.

Besides, the last thing you want to do is take your foot off of the gas too early.  The players who are not in the rotation have mostly looked lost on the court.  That'll change, I'm sure, but right now putting them in against the opposition's first team might do more harm than good.  You might end up hurting their confidence and having to reinsert the starters, hoping they can turn the energy back on.


December 1st, 2018 at 9:09 PM ^

I didn’t have in mind sitting the entire starters, but rather working in more bench players into the rotation to bring them along. What better time than when you’re dominating a game?

I see this team and this window of opportunity as something truly special. To make the most of it, you have to plan for all contingencies—namely injury. We have capable bench talent. Why not try to accelerate its development?


December 1st, 2018 at 9:44 PM ^

Fair enough; then I stand by my original comment -- they have to earn the playing time in practice.  Besides, while you can hide one poor performer on offense, the defense depends upon everyone being on the same page.  If the player you put into the game isn't ready to play D at the same level as the rest of the team, you're giving the opposition a chance to get right back into the game.

I'm sure they will go to a slightly deeper rotation eventually; Beilein has been doing this long enough not to wear out the team in November so they don't have legs in March. :). But I think it sends the wrong message to the team to put a guy into the rotation until he's earned it.


December 1st, 2018 at 8:36 PM ^

If Teske keeps making threes this team will be impossible to defend. He and Z are the two best players in the country without the ball in their hands. That wins you a lot of games.

This is the Poole we all hoped to see. He is making shots and hasnt been a black hole when the ball finds him. Great two games for him against great competition.

One thing that must happen is some depth needs to emerge. Id like to see more out of Livers and Brooks. And I hope that by the end of January one or two of the freshmen is deserving of minutes.


December 1st, 2018 at 8:50 PM ^

I will say it again and again.... 

time goes backwards, we have lived this life already...

and last season i began to get this odd feeling, that this incoming team will win beilein the national title.

The Fan in Fargo

December 1st, 2018 at 8:51 PM ^

The great thing about this team on offense to me is that they don't live and die by the three. They can do it all know. Their defense on top of it all is just too much for these other teams. SO much fun to watch. They've kicked the shit out of the best team in the Big East, probably the second or third best team in the B1G and we all know the talent UNC has. Only Duke is better in the ACC. I could be wrong but I haven't followed that conference too much yet. Better and better every day young men. Young ballers!

A Lot of Milk

December 1st, 2018 at 9:04 PM ^

Great win today against a solid team, but wow, I absolutely hate Purdue's roster. Edwards is obviously great, but Cline is like a worse Dakota Mathias, ditto with Haarms being a bad Haas. Nojel Eastern is straight up terrible. Good defender, but he's a 6'6 point guard, who can't shoot at all, not a great dribbler and just average around the rim. Why would anyone want that on their team, let alone in their starting lineup?? Grady Eifert is someone so forgettable that he's a reverse JT Barrett or Spike Albrecht: I feel like he just got to college, but he's already a senior. I do think that Wheeler kid might be a dude for them, but wow Purdue looks poised to completely evaporate after Edwards leaves

Mr Miggle

December 1st, 2018 at 11:12 PM ^

Size, strength, defense and potential. He was ranked higher than any of our commits in that class, including Poole. Plus, we took Brooks just before Eastern's recruitment ended. Eli was a controversial recruit, undersized for his skill set and not highly ranked. We have plenty of stargazers in BB recruiting too. Beilein is definitely not among them.

Goggles Paisano

December 2nd, 2018 at 5:54 AM ^

11-13 from the stripe is nice to see.  Also, this was a rare blowout where we had more turnovers than the opponent (11-9).  That is one of the first stats I look at after a game.  Because of our D and offensive efficiency, we most often force more turnovers than we commit.   


December 2nd, 2018 at 10:56 AM ^

Big numbers that stick out to me: 

0: Personal fouls on Jon Teske. That's incredible for a big guy, especially against a competent 5 like Haarms (who, by the way, only logged 19 minutes). 

3: Number of players with both 1 minute played and 1 personal foul. Not really significant, you just don't see that every day. 

4: Number of turnovers by Jordan Poole. 3 of those 4 could've been avoided with a little discipline. If he cuts that number in half, this game is an even bigger blowout. 

9: Points by Charles Matthews. Kinda seemed like Michigan was scuffling to get him into double figures for a while there. A lot of that scoreless stretch felt like Matthews going cold.

84.6: Free throw % for Michigan. 11 of 13 is a number that you can be quite happy with, and I'm hoping (though probably not...) that it's a sign of things to come.