Michigan Basketball (17-1, 4-1) will host Purdue (10-8, 3-2) on Thursday at Crisler Center. Tip off is scheduled for 7:02pm and the game will be televised on ESPN. The Wolverines are 26-1 at home over the course of the past two seasons. The sole loss came at the hands of these Boilermakers on Senior Night last season.
Purdue has 3 players averaging double figures in scoring; Terone Johnson (13.3), DJ Byrd (10.4) and AJ Hammons (10.3). In conference action, Hammons is averaging a Big Ten best 3.4 blocks per game. Like all Purdue teams, they are stout defensively and good on the glass. The Boilers have won 6 of their last 8 games, although they haven’t really beat anybody notable during that streak. Purdue has gone small in their last 3 games by playing 6-foot-5 freshman Rapheal Davis at the 4.
Michigan is ranked #2 in the AP Poll and #3 in the coaches poll. They were on the road last week for two battles against ranked opponents. They fell way behind at Ohio State and then nearly stole the game late, but dropped a 56-53 heartbreaker. They rebounded nicely by handling Minnesota at The Barn on Thursday. Now they return home where it is imperative that they take care of business. In the brutal world of Big Ten basketball they can’t afford to lose games at home.
Tim Hardaway Jr picked up his second Big Ten Player of the Week award last week and has been playing the best basketball of his career. He is averaging a career best points (16.4), rebounds (5.4), assists (2.6), field goal percentage (48.5) and three-point field goal percentage (39.3). More importantly Hardaway is playing with an edge and when he gets that certain look in his eye, it’s bad news for the opposition.
The Wolverines are without a doubt one of the most exciting offensive teams in the country, see Robinson”s dunk below for one example. John Beilein has turned this extremely talented group of players loose and they are fun to watch. Michigan leads the nation in points per possession (1.23). Other areas where the Wolverines excel include; not fouling (they lead the country in fewest fouls per game), assist to turnover ratio (they rank 3rd nationally), scoring margin (they rank 4th), field goal percentage (they rank 4th) and three-point accuracy (they rank 8th).
Keep an eye on Mitch McGary. The talented freshman keeps getting better. He has been outstanding on the boards and plays with an unbridled enthusiasm. McGary has also been expanding his comfort level on offense and is very good in the open court. He ranks second on the team in rebounding (7.2) and field goal percentage (60.8). In 5 conference games, McGary has 8 blocked shots.
Predictions: So far this season I am 17-1 and Joe is 16-2 predicting the outcome of Michigan Basketball games. Michigan is the superior team and returning home after last week’s gauntlet will be an added advantage for them. We both like the Wolverines to win this one.
Joe: Michigan 72-60
Rob: Michigan 82-66
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