Game 19: Michigan at Purdue Preview

Dylan Burkhardt


Who: Michigan (10-8, 3-3) vs Purdue (15-3, 3-3)
Where: Mackey Arena, West Lafayette, IN
When: January 23rd, 4:00 PM EST
: MGoBlue, WWJ 950 AM/WTKA 1050 AM
Stats: Live TFS
Opposition Blogs: Purdue BBall Blog
Pomeroy Profile
Preview Content: Interview


Before the season, Pat Forde listed Michigan and Purdue as one of his ten “red hot rivalries”. The game being on that list felt weird and there was certainly exaggeration involved but “red hot” is the last phrase I would use to describe today’s game. Michigan’s season has been extremely underwhelming and Purdue limps into Saturday’s game after losing three of their last four games.

Sure there is intrigue. Manny Harris’ elbow connected with Chris Kramer’s face last year and video of the blow will probably be played more than necessary throughout ESPN’s telecast. Later, Michigan played one of their best games of last season and knocked off the highly ranked Boilermakers, inching closing to the NCAA tournament. But at the end of the day, the lack of excitement surround this game is a sign of just how disappointing Michigan’s season has been.

Pete summed up the Boilers pretty well in our Q&A yesterday so I’ll keep this preview a bit light.

jajuan-johnson hummel moore

Statistically Purdue is very strong across the board. Their offensive and defensive adjusted efficiencies both rank in Pomeroy’s top 25. Their game revolves around turnovers. Purdue doesn’t turn it over (16.5% of possessions) and forces a bunch (25% forced turnovers). They are great at making twos (52.2%) and defending twos (41.6%) but they have struggled behind the arc, shooting only 30.7% and allowing opponents to shoot 36.6%.

Purdue relies on the three headed monster of E’Twaun Moore (17 ppg), Robbie Hummel (16 points and 7 rebounds), and JaJuan Johnson (14 points and 7 rebounds). Michigan doesn’t really have a great answer for any of them defensively but they will have to figure out a way to at least slow them down.

Outside of the big three, Purdue doesn’t have much more. Chris Kramer and Keaton Grant have been underwhelming and were actually benched versus Illinois. Last game Kelsey Barlow and John Hart came out of nowhere and gave the Boilers an unexpected boost.

The key for Michigan is to get JaJuan Johnson in foul trouble. Michigan managed to negate Johnson in their win last year and it allowed Sims to go wild for 29 points. Johnson is a defender who is capable of forcing Sims into an off night but Sims has been playing first team All Big Ten basketball in conference play so Michigan needs to get him the ball.

I’m off to West Lafayette for this one, hoping that Michigan’s inability to win on the road has something to do with me not being there.

PS: Is Kelvin Grady returning? Message board rumors say yes. I am definitely a bit surprised but it seems like this is actually going to happen.

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  • Tweeter

    just saw that post at mgoblog and was coming over here to comment. As usual Dylan already has his finger on the trigger. Seems kinda strange to me in a number of ways.

    First, the timing. I would have thought that if this was a possibility that it would have happenned sooner. The football team has been done for some time now, so why now? UM has been playing their best basketball as of late (second half collapses against NW and Wisky aside), so why the sudden seemingly mutual interest here? There obviously could be any number of things going on that only those in the know, know, but still seems odd to me.

    Second, where does Grady fit in? Douglass seems to have a pretty good hold on the starting job and Morris is starting to figure out his game as well. Now if Douglass is just going to be pushed back to the two, then fine. But what happens to LLP then? Minutes are already somewhat thin in the backcourt and its not like there are minutes to be gained at the three spot. I guess you could take the 2-4 minutes that Vogrich gets at the three away, but I really think that those are important to his development even if he is struggling.

    Third, what kind of basketball shape is Grady even in? Not just from a pure physical standpoint, but from a being used to playing, shooting, dribbling, etc. Its kinda late in the game to be getting all those things back done. Plus if he has been lifting weights for football, which I have to assume he has been, his shot could be bonkers right now.

    This team has shown that the key to them playing their best is getting it done on defense first, then worrying about the offense. Anyone who watched the team with Grady out there last year knows that D was not exactly his speciality. So I cant see them making a move and giving big minutes to Grady at the expense of one of the main reasons this team has been playing better, especially considering it is going to take him to time to find his game and mesh with the other players.

    My first guess is that this is not going to happen. But if it does, I would have to think that Grady would only be used as a situational player if at all. Coming in sometimes to give the offense a shot in the arm when other players are struggling or if Manny gets in foul trouble. Coming in other times to help break pressure against teams that are overaggressive. In whatever scenario I just dont see him getting more than a few minutes here and there, and I dont know if it is worth doing if that is the case. But I guess letting him come out and practice and seeing where he is at and where he could potentially help, cant really hurt anything.

  • maxwell’s demon

    So I don’t know how long it would take for Grady to get back up to speed, but say if he could do it in a couple weeks, I think it could actually work out well. While Tweeter I agree Stu is handling PG reasonably well, I still think he fits better as a pure SG. A Morris/Stu starting line up with Kelvin/LLP coming off the bench sounds pretty good to me. You do make a good point about his defense though…

  • I was disappointed Grady left, and from the simple point of view of experience he brings (back) something to the court. He had the second-highest 3-pt avg. on the team, someone posted, so if he could put the danged thing in the hole, it could help. (Someone at mgoblog also noted that he’d been shooting well at the IM.) Dunno what this does for team chemistry, but LLP–as Dylan has pointed out–may be best in the “microwave” role. And Darius has a little way to go, as does Vogrich.

    I think this team could use a little spark.

  • I don’t understand this, I thought Beilein didn’t want Grady back last year. Now he is letting him potentially back on the team. I would sure like to know the true story. Timing of this is weird.

  • maxwell’s demon

    In connection to Dylan’s comment about this game being way less cool than it looked pre-season: ESPN (Bilas) has a preview of the 11 games to watch today, we are not one of them (and we are even on ESPN!).

  • michigan hoops 4eva

    I think re-adding Grady certainly doesn’t hurt;if anything he’s at least a more experienced point guard than Douglass and Morris.

  • AG2

    Frankly, we need all the shooters we can get at this point. Douglass has been struggling playing point and nothing would bring Morris along like having Kels back.

  • TK

    Hey guys, off-topic but I have a few questions about next year. With Sims leaving, who will start up front? Deshawn is the only one capable of starting as it is. Do you think Smotrycz is good enough to start every game as a freshman and be competitive? The way we’re getting beat on the glass, will we ever move away from a four guard offense? Will McLimans be ready? He needs to get bigger and tougher.

    Do you think the starting five looks like:
    Morris PG
    Novak G
    Douglass G
    LLP G
    Smotrycz or McLimans C/F

    And what do you think Tim Hardaway, Jr’s role on the team will be? Will he see significant minutes?

    Who besides Smotrycz and Hardaway do you see commiting?


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  • Jon

    Well this will change everything:

    Manny harris did not make the trip and will not play. Just saw it on College Gameday.

  • aMaized

    !!!!! ESPN Breaking News !!!!

    Manny did not make trip to Purdue due to disciplinary reasons.

  • The Berg

    As per ESPN just now on College Gameday, Manny Harris will not be playing today due to “disciplinary reasons.”


  • Jimmy

    Well I guess we need to hope for a 40 point outburst by Deshawn Sims today.

  • Tweeter

    @TK: As of right now, projecting with only the players that are on the team and those currently committed, I would say that Morgan probably starts at the five next year. He is really the only 4/5 that we have. Smotrycz and McLimans are both more 3/4 types players.

    However, from all accounts, it sounds like Horford is close to committing to UM. If he does, then I would not be surprised to see him challenge for the starting center spot. Besides Horford, the only other guy that I know of for sure that we have a chance with is Zeigler, but Im not sure anyone knows exactly what those chances are.

    I would also like to point out that although we were very poor in the rebounding department through the non-conference, the team has been solid in conference play and against Uconn. I believe in conference they have the third best rebounding margin.

    In the future I think Beilein wants to have a true big at center, a four with versatility, such as a McLimans/Smotrycz or even Horford, then a wing player and two guards. Right now we are stuck and will probably continue to be stuck next year, because our top players are all under 6’5 besides Sims.

    As for Hardaway, I think he does see significant mintues next year. From what I have heard about him from scouts and what I have seen on the limited tapes, he looks like a decent athlete that can shoot. I believe one the Illinois scouts said he would be one of the top players in Illinois if he played their (he plays AAU ball w/ Illinois team) and that is pretty high praise considering the talent that is in Illinois this year.

  • Tweeter

    F. Manny being Manny?

  • KurtD

    Feel bad that Dylan spent gas money on the trip.

  • maxwell’s demon

    There is nothing College Gameday likes discussing more than Manny Harris – Kramer incident.

    Our chances of a win today just went out the window. Learning experience for Vogrich if nothing else?

  • JalenIsEmbarrassed

    Re: Tweeter

    Are you seriously concerned with poor Stu and LLP losing playing time? As I stated last month Grady was the biggest loss from the 2008-2009 team, not to mention our best 3pt shooter by percentage behind CJ Lee. This is a huge recruit for Beilein just landed his best recruit for the ’10-’11 season.

    Michigan just got quicker and more athletic.

  • Tweeter

    Absolutely pure speculation with no foundation in known fact whatsoever, but could the odd timing of the Grady talk be due to the fact that Manny may be suspended longer than just today’s game?

  • Tweeter

    Oh come one Jalen, if its even true, best recruit of the 10-11 class? Smotrycz is ranked like 52 by rivals and Hardaway has been more highly regarded by scouts than Grady was. Grady was a decent player and he certainly brought shooting and a little athleticism to the offense, but CJ Lee was far important over the course of the season than Grady was. The team played leaps and bounds better with Lee starting than they did with Grady.

    My concern is not so much with who gets minutes, as it is with how well the team is going to play. They seem to have found their stride a little bit as of late, and it has been keyed by their defensive performances more than anything. Having more offense is always nice, but it doesnt do you any good if it costs you more points on the other end.

  • Dr. S

    If the Grady rumor is true, I think it means the Stu at PG experiment is over. I realize Stu has been at PG all year so it really hasn’t been an experiment as much as it has been out of necessity. We lost 3 PGs from last year’s team and therefore JB had no choice but to use Stu in that manner. Let’s face it, Stu is not a PG. Any time he penetrates it is forced (it’s unnatural for a SG) and he has proven he can’t finish at the hoop either. As I recall, Grady struggled with finishing last year also, but he was very effective at getting penetration and opening the middle up for Sims or dishing back out to the perimeter.

    Permanently moving Stu to SG allows Morris to take over the PG responsibilities and I think at this point of the season, regardless of how we finish, it is time for Darius to take over the PG position. He was recruited for that position and he needs to be allowed to assume that role for this team – he is going to be this team’s leader in that spot for the next 3 years. He will still make the freshman mistakes and even have bad games, but I think Coach B making the decison to “turn over the team” to him will be a tremondous boost of confidence because he will know he can make mistakes and not get benched. I believe it will pull his performance up to this higher level of expectation from Bielien.

    When Darius does revert to freshman moments Grady will provide an ample replacement – especially on offense because he will continue to provide the penetration that Darius provides when he is in the game. Yes defense will suffer while Grady is in, but no more so than when any of the other bench members come into the game to spell a starter. I would envision a Morris/Grady split of 30/10 per game. Another thing I always liked about Grady last year was that he seemed to get the team out running more – he is definitely a fast break initator. No, up tempo is not our main focus, but when we get into the offensive lulls he provides an excellent change of pace off the bench that can reignite the offense.

    Lastly, I have felt all season that the reason Stu’s shooting is out of sorts is because he is playing out of position. The PG has a lot of other responsibilities that detract from what Stu does best – whether starting or coming in off the bench – shoot threes. Alternating “microwaves” between Stu and LLP is a luxury most teams don’t have. Somebody mentioned Grady would take pt from Vogrich, but Vogrich has been spelling Manny lately and I think that is good way to get him a few minutes every game. Vogrich’s defense is not good enough for him to merit any more than 5-8 minutes a game anyway.

  • Tweeter

    Ok so at least it appears that the suspension is going to be short. Here are Beilein’s comments:

    “Unfortunately he used poor judgment on Friday. It is best for Manny’s future if he stays home and sits out this Purdue game. We will meet with Manny and the team again when we return to determine if he has learned enough from this suspension to rejoin the team for Tuesday’s game. I am confident that this learning experience will be valuable in the future to both Manny and our basketball program.”

  • Tweeter

    Dr. S dont necessarily disagree with what you are saying. As I said my concern is with how the team is playing, if Grady helps then great, I’m just not optimistic about his return really helping.

    I mentioned Vogrich loosing minutes, but it in regards to the fact that Stu would be taking more minutes now at the two, and then LLP would lose minutes. That could mean that LLP or Stu sees some minutes at the three in replace of the minutes that vogrich was getting. I dont want to see Vogrich lose minutes because as limited as they are right now for him, I believe they are important to his development.

  • ryan

    Manny is good, Do not get me wrong… I just do not see manny being as huge of a loss as everyone else does next year. Especially if we get Zeigler. But even if we do not I still dont see it as big as everyone else does. As much as manny is are best player some days… he also hurts us quite a bit by some dumb decisions he makes on shots. He is not a leader. I realize with out him this year we would be hurting even more… But next year with the recruits coming in.. I think we will be just fine.
    I am sorry since most of you will probably disagree with me… But I acctually would not care if he came back next year.
    I am acctually excited for the outlook of next years team and with the possible addition of Horford and Zeigler.

  • ryan

    What are your predictions on the starting 5 today?
    Will Novak start at the 3 or will Vogrich or wright?
    stu, LLP, Novak, Sims, Gibson?
    Stu, LLP, (vogrich or Wright), Novak, Sims?

  • Sam

    Well disheartening news to say the least per Manny. This feels eerily similar to his benching last year against Iowa. If he is not back for the State game, kiss the season goodbye.

    As for Grady, I like to hear this, but I just don’t know what kind of difference he can make at this point. However, for everyone wondering, if it means anything, I just saw him playing in an IM bball game on Monday night, so perhaps he has been playing for a little while now.