The No. 7 Michigan Wolverines will host the No. 19 Purdue Boilermakers on Saturday as both teams will compete in their first Big Ten matchup.
Michigan is looking to stay undefeated while Purdue is hoping to bounce back after a one-point loss to Florida State University. Here are the preview and prediction for this early season battle between these two teams.
What: Michigan (7-0) vs. Purdue (5-2)
When: Saturday, December 1, 3:30 PM on ESPN
Where: Crisler Center, University of Michigan
Keys to Victory for Michigan:
Given that this game is being played in Ann Arbor, the sold-out arena will undoubtedly give the Wolverines an edge. The crowd will be on their side, and the team will use that energy to generate momentum.
Purdue averages around 83 points-per-game while Michigan averages less, at about 73. Although the Wolverines average fewer points than the Boilermakers, their defense will be the difference between a win or a loss.
At the moment, Michigan is the number one ranked defense in the country. They only give up 51 points-per-game, which is tied for first. This defense is anchored in the paint by 7-footer Jon Teske. Against UNC, Teske had five blocks, and it was almost like nobody could score on him. Surprisingly, Teske also leads the team in steals at 1.1 steals-per-game.
However, the player that causes the most havoc for opposing offenses is Zavier Simpson. He is never caught taking a quick break on defense and is always active. Simpson compensates for his under-sized stature by not backing down from anyone.
In addition to the defense, Michigan also requires that Charles Matthews, Ignas “Iggy” Brazdeikis, and Jordan Poole influence the team on offense. Simpon, who leads the team in assists, at six assists-per-game, will find the open shooter. Realistically, if Matthews, Iggy, and Poole score roughly 15-points each, then the offense will be in great shape.
Michigan will need these five players to perform at their best to remain undefeated.
Keys to Victory for Purdue:
Purdue’s standout player is Carsen Edwards, who is averaging 25.1 this season.
The only way the Boilermakers can counter the Michigan defense is by having Edwards score well over his season average. He will most likely need to drop at least 30-points.
Additionally, Edwards is managing his team in assists, with four assists-per-game. Thus, he will also find his teammates and warm them up, so they can have a significant impact on the game.
Therefore, Purdue’s fate lies on the hand on Carsen Edwards. Paired with solid defense from his team, Edwards can then focus on scoring and passing to give the Boilermakers a chance at leaving Ann Arbor victorious.
All in all, everything must be perfect for Purdue to win. Carsen Edwards needs to have a career night against the nation’s top defense.
In the end, the Boilermakers will stay close with the Wolverines until halftime is a few minutes away. From this moment on, Michigan will be locked in and ride their home court advantage for the remainder of the match.
Final Score: Michigan 72 – Purdue 59