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March 6, 2013

Game 30: Michigan





Last time Purdue faced Michigan, it led with 16 minutes remaining on the floor of the then-No. 2 Wolverines.

Michigan went on to win by more than a dozen, and Purdue players came off the Crisler Arena floor insisting they didn't play "well," even though they led at halftime in a game they were overwhelming underdogs in.

"The reason I said we didn't play well was because we only played half a game, I thought," Terone Johnson said. "There's 40 minutes to a game. At Wisconsin, we played a full 40 minutes."

Purdue gets another crack at the Wolverines at 7 p.m. Wednesday, when now-seventh-ranked Michigan visits Mackey Arena.

To win - to compete, really - the Boilermakers will have to maintain the effort and solid play that resulted in their improbable win at No. 17 Wisconsin Sunday afternoon.

That game, if nothing else, reinforced for Purdue that it's capable of such wins.

"We just have to do what we did last game," point guard Ronnie Johnson said, "and build off that confidence we got then."

It helps, maybe, that Purdue showed in Ann Arbor that it could play with Michigan, even if it was just for a little more than a half.

"I thought we played pretty well, but in the second half, they made it a lot harder for certain people to get good looks and that was difficult for us, then they started really scoring at the other end," senior D.J. Byrd said. "The combination of Trey Burke, their shooters in the corners and their big guys rolling to the basketball, we didn't handle it very well last game. Hopefully we will this time."

At no point this season has Purdue looked to be in better shape leading into a game like this than it is now, after Byrd, Terone Johnson and fellow upperclassman Sandi Marcius played so well in Madison and Ronnie Johnson has shown improvement down the home stretch of this season.

When Purdue turned the Wisconsin game on its side with its game-changing second-half run, it put the Boilermakers in a position they've been unable to maintain often this season, a situation similar to the one they faced at Michigan. This time, Purdue finished.

"After our last game at Wisconsin," Byrd said. "I think we can do anything in this league and all our guys are ready to go."

Michigan, which has lost its last four games on the road, should have plenty of motivation, though. By virtue of Ohio State denying Indiana an outright championship with its win in Bloomington Tuesday night, the Wolverines are still in the running for a share of the Big Ten championship. A loss to Purdue would eliminate it.

Projected Lineups
Purdue
G: Terone Johnson
G: Ronnie Johnson
F: D.J. Byrd
F: Rapheal Davis
C: A.J. Hammons

Michigan
G: Trey Burke (6-0, 190, So.)
G: Tim Hardaway Jr. (6-6, 205, Jr.)
G: Nik Stauskas (6-6, 190, Fr.)
F: Glenn Robinson III (6-6, 210, Fr.)
C: Jordan Morgan (6-8, 250, Jr.)

Michigan's coming off a big home win over then-seventh-ranked Michigan State, earning a series split with the Spartans in a game that came down to the final seconds. ... The Wolverines have struggled mightily on the road of late, losing their last four games away from Crisler Arena, most recently their stunning 84-78 loss at Penn State, which earned its first Big Ten win. Michigan is 3-5 on the road in the Big Ten. ... Burke is the Big Ten's second-leading scorer at 18.9 points and leader in assists at just under seven per game. ... Hardaway averages just under 15 points per game, making him and Burke the Big Ten's highest-scoring tandem at a combined 33.8 points per outing. ... As of Tuesday, Michigan was second to just Indiana in the Big Ten in scoring (75.4), field-goal percentage (49.2) and three-point shooting (38.5) in overall games and is one of just two teams in the league averaging fewer than 10 turnovers per game (9.6). ... Freshman sharp-shooter Nik Stauskas' status is up in the air after he caught an elbow to the face against Michigan State. He's Michigan's third-leading scorer at 11.4 points per game and a 46-percent three-point shooter. Stauskas is expected to play. How much and how effectively, we'll see.

About Purdue: Roster | Schedule | Statistics

About Michigan: Roster | Schedule | Statistics

Broadcast Info
Game time: 7 p.m.
Radio: Purdue Sports Network (95.7 FM locally)
TV: BTN
Internet: GoldandBlack.com subscribers can follow along live with our in-game blog, "Game Day Live."

Things to think about

1. How does Purdue handle success? After an improbable win at Wisconsin, does it build on that momentum or take a step backward as it has at times this season after victories?

2. Was the Boilermakers' collective defense and rebounding at Wisconsin a sign of how they'll close the season or a one-game anomaly? Purdue looked like Purdue's supposed to look in Madison. Such glimpses have been few and far between this year.

3. Can Purdue throw Burke off his game? As so few have been able to do.

"Stopping Burke is a big thing," Terone Johnson said. "He's the focal point of their offense and accounts for like 50 percent of their offense, shooting or passing. We have to try to get him stopped, but they have other great players, too."

GoldandBlack.com Prediction: Purdue's coming off its biggest win of the season, by far, and showed signs of a return to its traditional identity. Michigan is outstanding, but has been very pedestrian away from Crisler Arena. The stage may be set for another upset, but until we see it in back-to-back games from the Boilermakers, it's hard to expect anything.

Michigan 72, Purdue 68




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