Preview: Purdue

Submitted by Tim on January 23rd, 2010 at 10:30 AM

The Essentialspurdue.jpg

WHAT Michigan v. Purdue
WHERE West Lafayette, IN
January 23rd, 2010
THE LINE Michigan +11.5*
TELEVISION Big Ten Network

*Line provided by online sports betting site


Since I didn't recap the Wisconsin game in it's own post, a brief overview: It was good and then it sucked. And as much as I don't like to whine about the refs, I thought this game (as with most at the Kohl Center) was officiated... sketchily. Moving on...

Though the tournament has been a hardly-realistic dream since much, much earlier this season, the Wolverines would have been back in the picture had they beaten Wisconsin. They didn't, so each game becomes a must-win to keep the dream alive. Unfortunately, that means they'll have to beat some really good teams. Having Wisconsin on the ropes in the Kohl Center is a good sign they can get it done, but now it's time to finish.

DeShawn Sims was a beast against Wisconsin for 25ish minutes, in no small part because they were missing Jon Leuer. It won't be as easy against a fully-heathy Purdue team, and he's going to need some help to get the job done. Manny Harris was having some success Purdue last year before his questionable ejection, and Michigan's shooters will have to be on their game as well.



The Boilermakers started the season on fire, racing out to a 14-0 start before losing consecutive games to Puronsin, Ohio State, and Northwestern. They stopped the slide on Tuesday against Illinois, and sit at 15-3 on the season.

Purdue is led by a few guys who aren't quite stars on the Evan Turner-Manny Harris level, but are well-known nationally, and a few of them should play in the NBA. 6-4 guard E'Twaun Moore uses the most possessions for Purdue, and leads the team in eFG%. 6-8 forward Robbie Hummel might have the most name recognition on the team, if only because Purdue struggled somewhat last year when he was out with a back injury. He's a good rebounder and shooter, and has Purdue's best offensive rating. 6-10 center JaJuan Johnson rebounds well, swats a lot of shots, and gets to the free throw line more than any other Boilermaker. 6-3 guard Chris Kramer leads the team in getting elbowed in the face, and also in opposing fans wanting to elbow him in the face.


Purdue plays a different defensive style than Wisconsin, though both are known as exceptional defensive teams. Where the Badgers are content to prevent any penetration and clog the inside, Purdue will get out on the perimeter and try to take away passing lanes with their tight man defense.

Tempo-Free Breakdown

If you need an explanation of the stats, check out Ken Pomeroy.

Michigan v. Purdue: National Ranks
Category Michigan Rank Purdue Rank Advantage
Mich eFG% v. Pur Def eFG% 187 47 PP
Mich Def eFG% v. Pur eFG% 156 111 P
Mich TO% v. Pur Def TO% 24 15 -
Mich Def TO% v. Pur TO% 57 9 P
Mich OReb% v. Pur DReb% 247 120 PP
Mich DReb% v. Pur OReb% 238 170 P
Mich FTR v. Pur Opp FTR 329 257 P
Mich Opp FTR v. Pur FTR 16 135 MM
Mich AdjO v. Pur AdjD 84 17 P
Mich AdjD v. Pur AdjO 47 23 P

Difference of more than 10 places in the national rankings get a 1-letter advantage, more than 100 gets a 2-letter advantage, more than 200 gets a 3-letter advantage, etc.

Going into the game at Wisconsin, I thought MIchigan was a team finally rounding into form (hey, just a little late, guys!), but a team that was finally playing its best ball would have been able to come away with that win if they wanted any hope of making the tournament. So, we're left with the tough truth: Michigan is an NIT-caliber team, and Purdue is a top-5 seed caliber team.

Surprisingly, though, Purdue doesn't have huge advantages in any particular tempo-free category over the Wolverines (although they do have some advantage in nearly everything). This looks like yet another game (as almost all seem to recently) that Michigan should be able to keep close and then hopefully make a bid to steal it. That will be a tough task on the road, especially since Michigan had fewer days to prepare for this game than the Boilermakers did.

KenPom sees an 11-point MIchigan loss, and Vegas likes the Boilers by 11.5. I see this game being a little less close than that, and Purdue ices with free throws in the final couple minutes to emerge with a 16-point victory.



January 23rd, 2010 at 10:45 AM ^

And as much as I don't like to whine about the refs, I thought this game (as with most at the Kohl Center) was officiated... sketchily. Moving on...

I think "don't like to whine about the refs" is code for I do it all the time. I would wager that no less than 30 tweets related to the refs being bad over the last two seasons.


January 23rd, 2010 at 11:14 AM ^

Since we're talking Wisco refs: MSU may be the league power of the last decade, but its Wisconsin during that time that has taken the mantle from Indiana and Assembly Hall as the place to go get whistle screwed. This was especially so in the height of the Knight Era when locals down there crowed proudly that the General had Eddie Hightower in his back pocket.

Anyway, with the way Michigan played defense, they win that game on every other court in the country the other night. Sour grapes? Yes. But its also the truth and 9 other Big 10 fanbases can empathize with our Kohl Center experience.

No Sugarcoat. That is all. Somebody give me 1,000 cocktails.


January 23rd, 2010 at 11:20 AM ^

happy if they win today. If Michigan beats Purdue, I believe they have a legit shot to beat MSU. And then we'd be talking tourney (maybe, but that is still an improvement). I just hope that the Wisconsin game wasn't a bigger deflator than believed. The end of that game was very dissapointing, as I believe they poored their heart and soul into the first 35 minutes. BTW, M currently being used as the "don't storm the court" example on college gameday. Man, what did Michigan ever do to ESPN, or television in general for that matter. (I'm lookin at you Musberger, you to Verne.)


January 23rd, 2010 at 11:44 AM ^

Ugh. What is his deal? You know John B. isn't just making a point. Anyone know what happened? I could've seen Manny using this as a vengance game from last year's BS elbow incident.


January 23rd, 2010 at 12:14 PM ^

but without Manny it will be quite a task.

On offense, well ... it's Moore and Hummel. JJ is still wildly inconsistent, and furthermore Purdue's recurring unwillingness to work the ball inside takes their best post presence out of the offense. (It's a shame, because when JJ is on, the offense looks much better.) Kramer usually shoots only when he is incredibly unguarded (and tends to hit those shots), but aside from that does not look to score at all. Keaton Grant put his outside shooting down somewhere in the Co-Rec during the offseason and hasn't seen it since. Painter's response to Grant with the ball outside the arc is usually "DEAR GOD NOT AGAIN" (at one point KG was shooting about 57% from two and 21% from three) ... so the former starting lineup consisted of two-and-a-half scorers, basically. (He tweaked it for the Illinois game and it kind of worked.) And with the exception of the OSU game (which Purdue had in their hands and lost), Hummel's struggled from three-point range as well.

Defensively, they're almost exclusively man-to-man, with a half-court pressure defense that works best when it can push opponents into a discomfort zone: force turnover, score, force turnover, score, force timeout. It requires a lot of energy, though, and if Purdue is not focused defensively, they're vulnerable against good ball movement: combined, that seems to explain why opponents rarely shoot threes but hit a fairly high percentage against them.

They can press well at times, particularly around the half-court line, but don't usually do the Minnesota-style full-court version.

The bench is highly questionable. Barlow is decent but needs to focus consistently, Bade can contribute inside but is a fouling machine, Byrd and Smith provide depth but one is injured (I can't remember which), and Wohlford is the energy guy. I'm not really sure what to make of the guy who lit up the Illini.

When things are going well, Purdue goes 8-9 deep, which feeds into the defensive energy and makes them tough to beat. When things go poorly, everyone else stands around and watches Hummel and Moore try to score.

If Michigan catches Purdue in the latter category, well ... with Manny, they'd definitely have a chance. Without him, it'll be tough. If the Wolverines don't take care of the ball early on, it could be bad.