(7) Michigan (24-5) at Purdue (14-15)
Wednesday, March 6, 7 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Frank Haynes, College Basketball Senior Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mackey Arena (14,286) -- West Lafayette, Indiana. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: UM 17-0, PU 10-5. Away Record: UM 4-5, PU 4-7. Neutral Record: UM 3-0, PU 0-3. Conference Record: UM 11-5, PU 7-9. Series Record: Purdue leads, 83-63.
GAME NOTES: There's a logjam atop the Big Ten Conference standings, and the seventh-ranked Michigan Wolverines hold out hope for a shot of at least a share of the regular-season title, but they will need to take care of business on Wednesday night at Purdue.
The Wolverines come in sporting an impressive 24-5 overall mark, and their 11-5 league ledger has them tied for third place with Michigan State and Wisconsin. Second-place Ohio State is 12-5, and current leader Indiana is 13-4. Michigan, which has won three of its last four games and is just 4-5 in true road tilts this season, hosts the Hoosiers in the regular-season finale this Saturday.
Purdue is a game under .500 on the season (14-15), and two games below in conference (7-9). As a result, the team is currently in ninth place in the Big Ten, with a chance to improve to sixth if it wins out and gets some help. The Boilermakers have won twice as many home games as they've lost this year (10-5), and they have been victorious in two of their last three games regardless of the venue, the latest coming at Wisconsin on Sunday in a 69-56 final.
Purdue owns an 83-63 lead in the all-time series with Michigan, but the Wolverines have won two of the last three meetings, including a 68-53 decision in Ann Arbor on Jan. 24 of this year.
Michigan is a potent offensive team, putting up 75.4 ppg in hitting 49.2 percent of its field goal attempts, which includes a 38.5 percent showing from 3-point range. The Wolverines boast four double-digit scorers in the form of Trey Burke (18.9 ppg, 6.9 apg), Tim Hardaway, Jr. (14.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg), Nik Stauskas (11.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg) and Glenn Robinson III (11.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg), the first three of which form what is arguably the top backcourt trio in the country. Defensively, the Maize and Blue permit just 61.9 ppg, and they own favorable margins in both rebounding (+4.4) and turnovers (+2.7) as well. Michigan pulled out a huge win the last time out, topping rival Michigan State in a 58-57 final. Burke led the way for UM with 21 points and eight assists, while Mitch McGary came off the bench to tally 11 points. The Wolverines won the game despite missing all 12 of their 3-point tries, and being outrebounded by a 44-29 margin. The big stat that worked in their favor was that the Spartans were guilty of 18 turnovers, while they themselves committed only seven.
With a record right around the break-even points, it's not surprising to see Purdue averaging nearly the same number of points as it allows (64.4 ppg-63.7 ppg). There are three double-digit scorers on the roster, and leading scorer Terone Johnson's 12.9 ppg average isn't going to scare many opponents, but the team does a nice job on the glass (+5.1). D.J. Byrd was high man for PU in the recent win over Wisconsin, netting 22 points on the strength of six 3- pointers, and Terone Johnson finished with a line of 16 points, seven boards and four assists. Ronnie Johnson dished out eight assist, helping the team generate a .456 field goal percentage, which included a 6-of-12 effort from beyond the arc. Purdue claimed a 39-27 rebounding advantage, and held the Badgers to 40.0 percent field goal efficiency, and they missed 22 of their 28 3-point tries. UW only attempted eight free throws in the game.
Michigan is a team on a mission as it hopes to keep its Big Ten title hopes alive. Expect a fight, but for the Wolverines to prevail nonetheless.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Michigan 72, Purdue 63
03/06 10:59:48 ET