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Game 17 Preview: Purdue vs. #7 Michigan

PURDUE (11-5, 6-3 B1G) VS. #7 MICHIGAN (12-1, 7-1)

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Big Ten season


Jan. 22

7 p.m. ET


Purdue Radio Network

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More: 2020-2021 Purdue Basketball Information Page


Riding a four-game winning streak, Purdue faces its biggest challenge of the season, hosting seventh-ranked and Big Ten-leading Michigan, which has won 12 of 13 this season. It's relatively early in the season still, but a victory might put the Boilermakers squarely on the periphery of the conference title hunt and would solidify an NCAA Tournament résumé that's really starting to take shape.

Team Top 25 NET KenPom KenPom — Win % Line*



Coaches: —






AP: 7

Coaches: 7





* According to (Consensus)


Schedule | Statistics | Roster

Three of Purdue's four consecutive wins came on the road. ... This will be just the Boilermakers' fourth Big Ten home game. ... Purdue now has three Quad 1 victories, with the possibility of Michigan State moving into Quad 1 range, as well. Michigan would obviously be another. ... Purdue is now third in Big Ten games in scoring defense, allowing 67.4 points per game and fifth in field goal percentage defense, at 32.8 percent. ... As of now, Purdue will have an eight-day layoff following the Michigan game. ... Big man Trevion Williams now ranks second nationally, per KenPom, in usage, "used" on 35.3 percent of Purdue's possessions. In Big Ten play, he's averaging 16.9 points and 9.2 rebounds and shooting 57.5 percent.


C — 50 TREVION WILLIAMS (6-10, 265, Junior)

15.4 PPG • 9.5 RPG • 2.2 APG • 54% FG

Williams has been exceptional lately. That's the good news. The bad news: He's only had chances to be in second halves, because the foul trouble big as bitten him the past two games, limiting him to just six minutes each of the past two first halves he's played in. That won't fly against Hunter Dickinson and Michigan.

F — 0 MASON GILLIS (6-6, 230, Redshirt Freshman)

5.1 PPG • 3.1 RPG

If Gillis draws the matchup with Isaiah Livers — last year, Purdue used guards on him — he will have perhaps the game's most difficult defensive assignment, because Livers is so dynamic and so good away from the basket. Rebounding, too, will really matter in this game, and Gillis always looms large there. Purdue's 4s typically double the post, so helping on Hunter Dickinson and keeping on Livers will be a dangerously fine line to walk.

G — 55 SASHA STEFANOVIC (6-5, 200, Junior)

11.1PPG • 3.2 RPG • 2.4 APG • 45.6% 3-PT

A marked man at Ohio State, Stefanovic burned the Buckeyes off the dribble, scoring a dozen points before making his first and only three of the game. And when that shot came, it was a big one.

G — 2 ERIC HUNTER JR. (6-4, 170, Junior)

10.5 PPG • 31.4% 3-PT • 3.3 APG

Hunter's aggressiveness as a scorer made a big difference at Ohio State and really helped keep Purdue afloat before halftime. Purdue may want to see more of it.

G — 5 BRANDON NEWMAN (6-5, 195, Redshirt Freshman)

9.1 PPG • 3.5 RPG • 38.3% 3-PT • 95% FT

Newman went scoreless at Ohio State in just 17 minutes. He's been excellent on the whole this season, but there are still going to be ups and downs. Jaden Ivey played well in Columbus, but Newman's shot-making ability and defensive upside will be needed vs. Michigan.


C — 15 ZACH EDEY (7-4, 285, Freshman)

8.1 PPG • 3.9 RPG • 57.8% FG

Edey played his best game of the Big Ten season at Ohio State, scoring on the interior, being physical and impacting the game defensively. Needless to say, Purdue would love that to be his normal from here on out. He's been a revelation for the Boilermakers as a freshman.

G — 23 JADEN IVEY (6-4, 200, Freshman)

7.2 PPG • 2.6 RPG

Coming off the biggest game of his young college career, Ivey seems to have some momentum. We'll see if he can build on it. Good things happen when he attacks off the dribble.

G — 11 ISAIAH THOMPSON (6-1, 160, Sophomore)

4.9 PPG • 40.5% 3-PT

Thompson's opportunities have dipped, but he's been giving the Boilermakers solid minutes and he made a big three in the first half at OSU. Defensively, all of Purdue's guards are going to have to be solid vs. Michigan, because there will be a lot of bases to cover.

F — 1 AARON WHEELER (6-9, 205, Junior)

3.8 PPG • 4.8 RPG

Wheeler made a bunch of winning plays for Purdue at Ohio State, most of them in the final minute after Gillis fouled out.

G — 25 ETHAN MORTON (6-6, 215, Freshman)

Purdue's getting Morton spurts of first-half minutes, hoping to involve him more.

C — 4 EMMANUEL DOWUONA (6-10, 245, Sophomore) (O)

Michigan's Hunter Dickinson
Hunter Dickinson is already one of the great big men in a league full of them. (USA Today Sports)


Schedule | Statistics | Roster

Michigan's been one of the best teams in college basketball this season, enjoying a first half to this year much like their first half to last year. ... It wasn't 'til two games ago, at Minnesota, that the Wolverines absorbed their first loss of the season. ... Michigan didn't face a high-major program in non-conference play because its Big Ten/ACC game vs. N.C. State was postponed, and the Wolverines' Big Ten schedule thus far has been relatively light, but they did blast three ranked opponents in Ann Arbor — 85-66 over then-ranked Northwestern; 82-57 over Minnesota; and 77-54 over top-10 Wisconsin. ... In Big Ten play, Michigan's averaging 80.5 points (third in the Big Ten) and allowing 66.3 (second). ... Michigan is seventh nationally in offensive efficiency and eighth in defensive efficiency, per KenPom. ... Michigan's effective field goal percentage of 58.2 percent is ninth nationally and opponents' of 43.9 is 13th-lowest nationally. ...The Wolverines have held opponents to just 40.8-percent shooting from two-point range. ... Michigan's No. 1 in the Big Ten in conference games in blocking shots. ... The Wolverines do average a league-high 13.3 turnovers in Big Ten games.


F — 2 ISAIAH LIVERS (6-7, 230, Senior)

14.1 PPG • 5.7 RPG • 49.5% FG • 2.3 AST • 48.8% FG • 43.5% 3-PT

Livers may not even be Michigan's best player, but he may be the most difficult matchup for Purdue, because he's a load physically but also a deadly three-point shooter who can drive past closeouts and finish at the basket. He's probably the best 4 man Purdue has seen to date this season.

C — 1 HUNTER DICKINSON (7-1, 255, Freshman)

15.7 PPG • 7.5 RPG • 70.3% FG

The Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Year-to-be has been dominant as a rookie, a big and skilled old-school center who's an outstanding scorer and rebounder, a fine passer and a soon-to-be pro. Dickinson's been named Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Week five times.

G — 12 MIKE SMITH (5-11, 185, Senior)

8.6 PPG • 5.8 AST • 45.5% 3-PT

The grad transfer from Columbia has been a shot in the arm for the Wolverine backcourt. He's been hot from three all season long and has recorded a half dozen or more assists in seven consecutive games. Smith leads the Big Ten at 6.1 assists per game in conference action.

G— 21 FRANZ WAGNER (6-9, 220, Sophomore)

12.3 PPG • 7.2 RPG • 50.4% FG • 2.9 AST • 52.2% FG • 34.1% 3-PT

1.3 STL • 1.3 BLK

One of the most complete players in the Big Ten, Wagner is another NBA prospect who can score from every level.

G — 55 ELI BROOKS (6-1, 185, Senior)

8.6 PPG • 3.8 AST • 37% 3-PT

After missing the Minnesota loss with a foot injury, Brooks returned to the lineup for Michigan's rout of Maryland. Another three-point threat, one of many.


G — 15 CHAUNDREE BROWN (6-5, 215, Senior)

9.2 PPG • 39.2% 3-PT

The Wake Forest transfer is essentially a starter who comes off the bench. Another scoring and long-range threat.

F — 23 BRANDON JOHNS (6-8, 240, Junior)

4.7 PPG • 5-8 3-PT

F — 51 AUSTIN DAVIS (6-10, 250, Senior)

6.1 PPG • 3.0 RPG • 70% FG


These are the two most turnover-vulnerable teams in the Big Ten statistically. The need for Purdue to keep its transgressions to a bare minimum goes without saying at this point, but if it's sound on defense, maybe the Boilermakers can flip it and generate some of their own.

Michigan's going to run a ton of ball-screen action to try to get in the paint. Purdue works to protect the paint at all costs, but the Wolverines' shooting threats make that tricky. Purdue's going to need to be good in help to stop the dribble. Doubling Dickinson, too.

Purdue's guards were assertive against Ohio State and it was a game-changer. If the Boilermakers push the ball up the floor and attack off the bounce against Michigan as they did the Buckeyes, there may be advantages to be found.


Yes, Michigan's one of the best teams in college basketball, has been to this point, at least. The Boilermakers, though, are probably the hottest team in the conference and building momentum. Purdue owes Michigan one, as well. It might take one of the Boilermakers' best defensive games of the season and one of those nights from three-point range, but this may set up for an upset.

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