Um Purdue CBB

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College Basketball



Will Purdue lose again? The Boilermakers have won 15 straight Games and look headed for a one-seed in the NCAA Tournament if all goes well. Michigan would like to get some revenge after Purdue stole a win in Ann Arbor when these teams met a couple weeks ago. The Boilers got a late call that led to two free throws and one not many Michigan fans agreed with. Now in West LAfayette, the chances of upsetting this Purdue team are slim.

Purdue controlled most of that first meeting and it wasn’t until the final five minutes that Michigan grabbed its first lead. To have a chance in this one, the Wolverines have to play much better defensively after letting the Boilers shoot 47.4 percent from the field and 12-of-21 from deep. The problem is that Purdue has done that against almost every opponent this season and lead the nation in three-point percentage, which is almost at 44 percent as a team.

Michigan didn’t play bad in that first Game and shot similar to Purdue. However, expecting a similar offensive performance may be a stretch considering the Wolverines managed just 52 points last time on the road (at Nebraska). The biggest factor in this Game is Moritz Wagner, who was still overcoming an injury when these teams first met. He had 11 points and six boards in that Game, but for this team to have a chance, he needs to do more. He scored 27 points in the win at Michigan State and if he doesn’t attack the basket similar to that performance, Michigan doesn’t have the quality to beat top teams.

The problem for Wagner is that this isn’t a great matchup for him. Defensively, he was exploited by Isaac Haas almost every time down the cOurt. And if Wagner isn’t making shots from deep, he’ll struggle to do anything down low against Haas and Matt Haarms. Even in that first Game, Charles Matthews and Zavier Simpson played well combining for 29 points, but it still wasn’t enough. On the road, those guys will have to play well to go with better Games from Wagner and Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman.

The other path for a Michigan road win is to play better defense. The problem is that, as said above, Purdue has one of the best offenses in the country. The Boilers don’t have one guy that dominates. They have a balanced team with numerous options. Haas can’t be stopped by many because of his size and he’s surrounded by Four great outside shooters. Carsen Edwards is a perfect shooting guard in this offense that can get to the hoop whenever he wants, while Vincent Edwards bails out the offense when needed. Throw in Dakota Mathias and P.J. Thompson, both of whom can shoot and rarely turn it over, and it’s easy to see why this team is so good.

The Wolverines will need to mix up their defenses and play a high line in order to limit easy looks from distance. Unfortunately, they still don’t have anyone to stop Haas and if he continues to eat in the paint, Michigan will have to help on him, which in turn opens up easy threes. Purdue has absolutely dismantled every team at home in the last month and it’ll be hard to go against them here. That said, the spread is big enough and if Michigan shows up like it did at Michigan State, this one could be competitive. That all depends on which Wagner shows up for the Wolverines.

Our pick – Purdue -11

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