Game 30: Michigan at Purdue Recap

Dylan Burkhardt

Michigan 80, Purdue 75-21
Dustin Johnston

MICH 80 1.16 25-59 42% 18-41 44% 7-18 39% 23-29 79% 9 21 15 5 9 0 18
PU 75 1.09 26-60 43% 21-45 47% 5-15 33% 18-21 86% 13 29 15 13 3 3 22

Michigan will play for a share of the Big Ten Championship on Sunday and Trey Burke wouldn’t have it any other way.

Trailing Purdue by 12 points with 12 minutes to play, it appeared that Michigan’s regular season dreams had been dashed once and for all. The Boilermakers were controlling the game, stymieing Michigan’s patented ball screen offense, and looking to close their rebuilding season on a high note.

Burke had just five points and appeared frustrated as he sat on the bench while Purdue took its largest lead of the game. Then Burke returned to the floor and for the second time in as many games simply willed the Wolverines to victory.

It started with a three pointer off of the dribble and a jump shot in the lane but that was only the beginning. Burke unleashed his full repertoire of offensive moves – dishes for open threes, drop off passes, mid-range jumpers in transition, and everything in between – over the game’s final 11 minutes. When the smoke cleared, Michigan’s point guard had facilitated a 40-23 run and allowed Michigan to escape with a coveted road victory.

Four Factors: Michigan 80, Purdue 75


Having (arguably) the best player in the country is a great luxury but it masks a lot of flaws. Michigan’s defense was still bad and for long stretches of the game its offense wasn’t much better. The Wolverines won thanks to Burke’s heroic contributions and timely production from Nik Stauskas and Tim Hardaway Jr. down the stretch but this wasn’t a great performance.

Michigan’s offense scored 1.16 points per possession for the game but that was due to nearly flawless play down the stretch. Michigan scored 40 points in its final 21 offensive possessions – 1.90 points per trip. The Wolverines scored on an extremely impressive 18 of those final 21 trips down the court. As perfect as the Michigan offense was down the stretch, that also means Michigan also only scored 40 points in the game’s first 48 possessions – .83 points per trip.

The offensive performance in the first half was marred by dreadful finishing around the basket. Michigan missed at least 10 opportunities at the rim and shot just 35% on twos in the first half – a far cry from its Big Ten leading 53% two point shooting. The Wolverines corrected those woes in the second, finishing an impressive 60 percent of their twos. Michigan survived the early shooting woes because it got to the free throw line often (29 FTA to 59 FGA) and valued the basketball (7% turnover rate). The Wolverines’ productive offensive rebounding from earlier this season has all but disappeared lately and for the seventh time in nine games, Michigan rebounded fewer than 30% of its misses.

That perfect offense down the stretch also disguised the fact that Michigan had no one that was capable of staying in front of Terone Johnson, who finished with 32 points on 12-of-17 shooting. Michigan’s defense surrendered over a point per possession – 1.09 points per trip – for the sixth time in its last nine Big Ten games. Purdue controlled the offensive glass, rebounding 38% of its misses for 12 second chance points.The Boilermakers turned the ball over six times in their first 17 offensive possessions and managed just nine points over that stretch. But once Purdue cut back on turnovers, just seven over the final 52 possessions of play, its offense began to flow. The Boilermakers scored 68 points on their final 52 possessions – 1.31 points per trip.

It doesn’t look like Michigan is playing Big Ten Championship quality basketball but for the second consecutive year the Wolverines enter the final Sunday of league play with a chance. This time around Michigan controls its own destiny, beat Indiana at home and share the crown.

Michigan 80, Purdue 75-26
Dustin Johnston

Player Bullets:

  • Trey Burke: Burke looked well on his way to his first sub-15-point performance of Big Ten play. He missed some shots he usually makes, took two or three very poor shots and had just five points. His performance in the final 11 minutes was every bit of what you’d expect from a player of the year candidate. Michigan was dead in the water and Burke simply carried Michigan to the win. Burke’s averages in Big Ten games are now 20.2 points and 6.6 assists with a 3.5 A:T ratio. All are league leading and at this point it’s tough to make an argument for a different player of the year candidate.
  • Nik Stauskas: Stauskas played probably his best offensive game since January. He attacked the basket (7-8 FT) but also knocked down two critical threes during Michigan’s comeback. His help defense still leaves something to be desired, at one point he was pulled from the game early in the second half because he was so late on a rotation, but he did a good job of chasing DJ Byrd (1-7 fg) through screens and around the perimeter.
  • Tim Hardaway Jr.: Hardaway scored 11 first half points and made a number of strong offensive plays from a great first half take in transition to a critical three cold off of the bench in the final minutes. Defensively, he seemed to struggle and was late to a number of rotations and close outs during Purdue’s first half run.
  • Glenn Robinson III: Robinson scored six points (2-7 fg) and grabbed seven rebounds with one assist in 35 minutes. He’s lacking sorely in confidence with his jumpshot and there are many times where it seems that he’s unable to corral loose balls one would expect. For what could be the first time this season, Michigan ran a high ball screen with Robinson – as the ball handler – and he scored on a nice drive to the basket. Robinson has faced a lot of mismatches at the four position this year but Rapheal Davis – a 6-foot-5 freshman – shouldn’t be the kind of player that goes for 15 points and nine rebounds against Robinson.
  • Jordan Morgan: Morgan’s only miss from the field was a layup attempt where he seemed to get flustered by the presence of 6-foot Ronnie Johnson. That’s definitely one he’ll want back. Although he struggled offensively, it continues to be more reassuring to watch Michigan play defense with Morgan on the floor compared to Michigan’s other bigs.
  • Spike Albrecht: Albrecht gave Michigan quality minutes off of the bench, getting a layup in transition, handing out an assist and grabbing a steal in his 12 minutes of playing time. He’s very much a “singles hitter” as John Beilein would describe him but he played well when Michigan needed him off the bench with Hardaway sidelined with fouls.
  • Mitch McGary: McGary is Michigan’s most versatile offensive big man and finished with six points on 3-of-4 shooting but he’s struggling on the glass (0 rebounds), with turnovers (2). McGary struggled defending the ball screen in the first half and still has the tendency to take himself out of plays defensively – continually going for blocks and losing position for rebounds.
  • Caris LeVert: LeVert seems to alternate between looking overwhelmed and looking great. Today, he struggled. He missed a three and forced a tough shot in the lane, finishing 0-of-2 but did hand out two assists and grab two boards.
  • Matt Vogrich: Vogrich checked into the game and buried a three with a foul. He missed the free throw and was beaten defensively on the other end but that was still a big play to help fight some of the Purdue momentum.
  • Max Bielfeldt: Bielfeldt missed a bunny and had two fouls in three minutes of play in the first half. He did have a nice deflection on an entry pass to grab a steal and looked okay in his short stint.
  • Jon Horford: Horford was the fourth big in the first half, taking the floor after Max Bielfeldt and did not play in the second.

    Was expecting a much easier win. However, I was impressed by the team’s resiliency. It looked like we could have closed up shop about 3 or 4 times, but the team fought hard and did the job.

  • CCalltheway

    Coaching was the difference tonight. Albrecht and Burke in the game together was a move that sparked the offense. For as much as people say that coaching is a reason to lose a game, here was an instance where really good coaching won a game.

  • CB

    It’d be interesting to read a Burke vs Oladipo POY comparison, maybe have an ITH guy give his argument for Oladipo.

  • ChathaM

    It was good to see an efficient offensive performance down the stretch. At Wisky, at PSU, and vs. MSU, the offence hit a roadblock in the final several minutes of the game, and that was a worrisome trend. Last night, the game was won with the efficiency down the stretch, consistently getting good looks and getting to the FT line.

    Beilein must base a good chunk of his bench rotation on practice performance, as it seems to change game by game. I think I remember him saying something about how good Max has been in practice lately. Max must also be relatively be healthy now. Spike must also practice really well, given how much time he spent on the floor in crucial minutes last night. If that’s what happening, I love it; good practice habits should be rewarded.

    You have to give Terone more credit than you slag UM’s defence re: that scoring outburst. There were possessions where he simply physically overmatched his defender (eg.- the 2 possessions where Vogrich had to try and check him), but he also hit a number of tough shots that he doesn’t normally make. It shouldn’t be any surprise that Purdue was in this one until the end, given their huge weekend win at Kohl. As with a number of lower tier B1G teams, they’ve been playing their best ball of the year over the past couple of weeks.

    • Adam St Patrick

      That kid had an amazing game. Looks to me like that strong move of his capped by a floater isn’t luck — looks like a forced shot but he made it enough to say that it’s something he can do. Or maybe last night was just a career night for him.

      I like having Spike in there for his ballhandling and cool.

  • UM Hoops Fan

    Burke is great, but he’s getting disproportionate credit. He got killed on D all game, missed a free throw and a layup late after a meh first 30 minutes even on O. Also, his falling down now extends to baseline jumpers, and we are not good enough on D to go 4 on 5. Nik was our best player last night. Played great on O, shut down Bird, was our best perimeter defender on getting through screens and not losing his man.

    Burke’s a great player but had only a decent game for a player of his ilk.

    • Champswest

      Maybe he didn’t play a great defensive game, but we don’t win that game without him. I’m sure you can find a lot of other players who didn’t play very good defense last night. Sounds like you are just out to get Burke.

      • UM Hoops Fan

        I’m not out to get him — I think he’s one of the best players in the nation. But when you’re the supposed leader and the best player on the floor, you should play better on D. Also, I do think THJr played pretty poorly on D, but he’s not getting accolades like “he willed the team to a victory by himself,” or that type of thing. Even late Burke missed a free throw and a layup — and other UM players kept the ball alive, it went to Burke, and then he got fouled.

        We don’t win this game without Burke, but he also contributed to the closeness. We do rely on him a ton, but it’s a bit of a chicken and egg thing — he doesn’t give the ball up much for hockey assists. A good example — it was 55-50, McGary tried to get get ball to Burke but couldn’t. He turned, fired it to a back-cutting Stauskas, who fired it to GRIII, who got fouled. Trey doesn’t seem to be involved in those sorts of plays very often for the amount of time he has the ball in his hands.

        Also, on D we put him on Terone Johnson late and he got blistered consistently. Now, we’re asking a TON of Trey here, and Terone Johnson hit some crazy shots — but it doesn’t change the fact that Trey’s man kept scoring on him late.
        Trey is great — one of the best players in college hoops. We don’t win this game without him. But just like you don’t want to go too down when the team loses in your player assessment, you don’t want to ignore reality when the team wins.

        • Mattski

          You could have confined yourself to your last couple of observations about Trey on Johnson and found a more receptive audience. I agree that Stauskas contributed mightily last night but best player? What I see as huge positives, having heard the Beilein interview, was that the coaches put in several offensive sets to counteract the way that Purdue was keeping the ball out of Trey’s hands. (Beilein also notes that he TOLD Burke to take the game into his own hands, so that when fans accuse him of playing hero ball. . . this is a matter of confidence, experience, and will, not just execution.) And we got glimpses of how the ball could be in Nik’s hands more next year, taking some of the pressure off of Walton and Spike.

          When we are counting on Trey to guard the other team’s sizzling hot player AND lead the charge on offense, that’s gonna be a challenge.

          • UM Hoops Fan

            JB basically said Trey was so-so for the first big chuck of the game: “I sensed at the beginning of the game he had a little trouble getting the ball –
            he waved off and Tim [Hardaway] ended up bringing the ball up and I thought,
            ‘wait a minute.'” “The 38 minutes he played at MSU – that was an emotional, tough game. For us to
            bounce back in two days – Purdue had the same, but for the point guards it’s
            really hard.” “As the game went on and it came down to crunch time, he was excellent.”

            It is a big challenge what we ask of Trey. Huge. But people are not, in my view, being realistic about his performance that game. People are giving him credit for a “game-winning steal,” when, while it was a heads up play, the ball bounced of Terone’s hands right to Trey.

            Here’s what I mean about Nik — he did what was asked of him the best. He chased Byrd around really tight and was our most efficient offensive player when he touched the ball. Now, we asked a lot more of Trey, for sure. But if we’re talking about POY, or “one of the all time Michigan greats,” etc., this wouldn’t be a game I’d showcase for Trey overall. not that he doesn’t deserve to be in those conversations overall.

            I could be judging Trey on too tough a scale, but that’s the scale people are putting him on. If they said, “Trey showed a lot of heart and guts and played great offensively for the last 10 minutes,” I’d say “damn right, we pulled one out that we needed even though we didn’t play our best. and Trey’s our leader and best player.” If you say, “he’s cementing his legacy with another all-time great performance,” I will disagree. If Terone hits that 3 are we talking about how Trey bricked the FT and heaping all kinds of blame on him? Important not to let the end result cloud your assessment completely.

          • UM Hoops Fan

            For the record, here are some amazing things about Trey: BTN said that, if Trey scores 15 or more against IU, he’ll be the first player in 15 yeras to score at least 15 in every conference game. If he gets 9 assists he’ll be the first B1G player ato average 17 (18?) and 7 since Magic. He stepped in as a fringe top 100 freshman and was the best player on possibly back-to-back B1G co-champs when the B1G is at it’s best in years and the best conference in the country. He’ll be a top 15 pick, probably the POY, and rightfully so. He has made a ton of clutch plays on O and D over the year, despite being the focus of every other team’s game plan and playing a ton of minutes.

            Trey is amazing, and thank goodness he came to and stayed this year in Ann Arbor.

          • jakelam2116

            Bottom line: Michigan was dead in the water with 12 minutes left until Trey led them back. The plays made by Nik and others in the last 5 minutes? All a result of Trey’s leadership. He inspired them to make that comeback. His defense wasn’t great, but, guys, Terone was playing in another universe. Some of his shots were ridiculous. Give the kid credit.

          • UM Hoops Fan

            See, this is exactly what I’m talking about. I’m supposed to give Trey all the credit for Nik’s offense, but give him none of the responsibility for defensive problems? Doesn’t work that way.

            I want to give Trey credit. His 5-point outburst that took the lead down from 12 to 7 was a huge shot in the arm. His offense was great down the stretch. But Nik was making plays in which Trey was barely involved. And it was GRIII and maybe McGary who kept the ball alive after Trey missed a layup with a minute left that Trey scooped up and then got fouled. Trey is the most important part of what we do, but everything good does not get attributed to him.

            And on D, sure Terone was throwing in some crazy shots. But Trey was also getting caught up seemingly in every screen for Ronnie Johnson over the first 30 minutes. As our leader and on ball defender, that hurts us.
            Trey, and the rest of the team, gutted out a victory even though they play inconsistently last night.

            I saw a stat where Trey has three games this year of 25-5-5, and no other NCAA player has more than one. Trey’s been great! And no player had gone for 26-7-5-3 since Mateen Cleaves in 1998! My goodness. We can truly appreciate Trey while being slighlty realistic. It’s actually better that way.

  • blackie6

    One odd thing of late is our ability to get steals, yet still play terrible defense overall…. 9 steals last night, and we needed every one of them to get the W. 11 vs. MSU, 6 vs. PSU and 9 vs. Illinois…. We are getting more deflections and I guess we are using our hands much better…. but we are still allowing so much dribble drive, it’s pathetic, and it’s on everyone including Tim and Trey big time last night…..

  • arsenal926

    1)I don’t know if GWS (game winning steals) is a stat but they may need to consider making the category for Trey Burke.
    2) Obviously it would have been nice to have a comfortable win but as others have said I think it’s huge that they executed so efficient down the stretch.
    3) The way this year has gone I’ll take the win any way we can get it and it was nice to see the players looking like they were genuinely having fun on the court.
    4) Sunday is going to be the best atmosphere the Crisler Center has ever seen. I could be wrong but this has got to be the biggest home game in the last 30 years

  • Walt

    Great writeup but somebody needs to correct title in 4 factors chart – still says MSU.

  • MGoTweeter

    First of, again, I am sorry Dylan if I stepped out of bounds on some of my comments last night regarding a certain player. I understand that you try to keep the player/coach bashing off of here and I agree that is the best policy. What I thought in my mind was critiquing probably came off as bashing when the comments were made in the heat of a game, especially during a bad game.

    I know that I have been quite negative at times of late in regards to this team. I just want to make it clear to everyone that I do not think they are a bad team or bad players. Rather it is because I believe they have so much collective talent that when I see the players not playing to their capabilities, it drives me crazy. This is particularly true when it appears like they are loafing it up and down the floor. I can deal with players missing shots, committing turnovers off aggressive play, being overzealous on defense, but not giving your full effort on a consistent basis is a huge problem for me.

    In regards to last nights game, the most inexplicable thing to me was the shift during the last eight minutes or so of the first half. Up to that point Michigan had played well except for the incredible number of missed layups. But at least they were getting great shots and keeping Purdue out of the paint for the most part. Then they suddenly decided to start forcing runners and jump shots on offense and became a complete sieve on defense.

    Michigan basically went from playing great to playing awful to playing great again last night. I have no idea where these wild swings in play are coming from. If I had to guess, I think it is due to their limitations on defense. They just don’t have the ability to ramp up the defense to make up for subpar offensive stretches and I think they know that. Which in turn causes them to force some things on offense because they know they need to keep scoring.

    Stauskas was great last night. I thought he passed up some open shots on offense, but I will give him a pass on that since most of the time he either got to the rim or got fouled when he did. Would like to continue to see more of a distribution of the ball screen offense to the wings and away from Burke. On defense this was by far his best game. I was very tough on him against MSU in the first game and first few minutes last sunday, because he simply could not get through a screen to save his life. He was great at it last night. Sometimes fighting through a couple of screens to get to Byrd. As Dylan mentioned his helpside D still is not good and his on ball D is still a question mark (Byrd does not really provide a good test of an on ball defender). I also saw him make a few scouting report plays where he refused to leave Byrd when Byrd was a screener even though the other player popped open for a three.

    There is really very little you can add to the discussion on Burke. He was unreal over the last ten minutes. Wish he would have turned it on sooner but he got it done. His last few games have jumped him ahead of Olidipo in my mind for POY.

    • Mattski

      I can’t claim to know what’s going on with some of these kids’ psyches. But I can say that especially one or two of them have had some pretty difficult assignments laid on them, and have had to play major minutes that in ideal circumstances they would not have had to carry. If little or nothing is designed for you on offense, that can at times leave you a little adrift. And sometimes confusion and/or failure on defense can leave kids apathetic, or listless, which is different from laziness although often confused with it.

      If you’re the coach or teacher you have got to re-engage them, but what is in aggregate a feeling of uncertainty and being ground down can be read by onlookers as a failure to hump. It’s a long season, and I think that these kids have to be forgiven for their lapses. I can pretty much guarantee that with more muscle and knowledge behind them they will not look like this next year. Also–as I’m sure you know, mgo– getting angry at a kid you’re watching on TV for some perceived transgression of the great sports work ethic is in the end kind of a mug’s game.

      • Mattski

        I’m writing this because I feel like we’ve been witnessing a lot of it lately from M fans–not here and certainly not from you so much as at mgoblog–and I have been trying to get my finger on what it’s really all about. One perceptive commentator suggested it might be a kind of “fan entitlement,” and I think there’s a little something to that.

        • ChathaM

          My guess would be that fans, in general, seem to assume that “their team” is playing against a bunch of pylons, and they fail to recognize that the opponent makes plays, too.

          • Adam St Patrick

            Some probably do. “In general”? Seems reckless to simply lump everybody in a some category you see yourself transcending. There’s very likely a reasonable and fair middle ground to explore here…

          • ChathaM

            Just trying to lend some possible insight into a discussion; paint me as arrogant if you like. I know that when I watch a UM game, I find it very difficult to watch from anything other than a UM-centric angle. For example, if the opponent runs a set and scores, I tend to look for a defensive breakdown, as opposed to crediting the opponent for a nice set and execution. Often, a loss is interpreted as “UM lost” rather than “the opponent won”. If most fans of a given team, aren’t that way, then I would be extremely surprised.

          • Adam St Patrick

            Sure. Understood. Always good to take a look here and see what others are seeing and watch for that, and rewatch when you can, especially with the reffing. Etc. etc. Still, though, you can find valid points on both sides, and you don’t need to be a dispassionate observer to see that Michigan is playing very tight games with teams that are also in many cases young and also not nearly as talented.

    • Adam St Patrick

      Just IMO but at each step you added the “Burke is great but…” caveat. I agree that the baseline for analysis of this player starts out with the assumption that Burke is awesome, and that questioning him is basically a matter of determining from there whether he was simply our-best-player awesome, POY-candidate awesome, or retire-his-number awesome. All are attainable. So as long as you keep those caveats in there (some of us need them in there every single time) and mind your manners, hard to see what you have to apologize for.

      I also agree that it’s reasonable to have very high expectations for this team. Young or not, Michigan is on a regular basis playing very, very close games with teams that are just nowhere near as talented.

      I’m minded to give Trey a mulligan for defense last night. That kid was just having a career night. I like the hockey assists point you bring up a lot too. I’d like to see more swinging the ball around and making the extra pass myself. In particular that’s how you get good looks from 3, and this team needs more of those. Is that Burke’s fault though?

  • JeremyS

    This was a great win away from home. Burke was absolutely amazing in the last 10 minutes and it cannot be understated. With his play in the last 2 games and his new-found intensity, he has taken his game to another level. It really seems to me that something has clicked in him during the Michigan State game. He didn’t really show that type intensity and leadership during the rest of his career. What a pleasure he is to watch. There are a still a ton of concerns for the tourney, but maybe Burke now has the drive to make something happen for this team? I sense something even more special from him is about to happen.

    • Adam St Patrick

      He’s being more demonstrative, but he’s been a pretty gutty competitor the whole time. Maybe he thinks a little more arm-waving helps with the teammates?

      • JeremyS


  • chazer

    Hey guys all good comments from some very passionate fans. Remember it’s a great time to be a fan of this team and to be in the top 10 all year with such a great future.

    With that said, I keep reminding myself that the young men are just that….very young. They just played 30 games against some of the best teams in the country….and you know what? They got manhandled by some teams older, bigger and stronger…but also learned how to compete. No bad for playing without seniors and 5 freshman. I hope they will have the energy and mental toughness over the next 4 weeks. I’m concerned the B1G Tourney will suck the life out of them if they go deep. It seems like their energy level is up and down….they will learn but is there time?
    Go Blue!

  • mikey_mac

    I give this team a lot of credit for coming back and winning. I thought when they went down 12, and the defense was getting shredded and the team looked dead, that it was over … Best case was getting the margin in single digits.

    That MSU game was intense and seemed to really have an effect on the team’s energy. They came out playing with energy, but no results, and then the energy seemed to really sag as the game wore on. There was no crispness on offense and no anticipation on defense. They just looked tired. So, even if the game as a whole wasn’t pretty and was very unbalanced, congrats to UM for coming out with the win.

    One short rant, though: How in the world could Beilein put Vogrich on Terone Johnson? Vogrich’s +/- went from +3 after his immediate 3-pointer to -3 very quickly, and all six of that swing were scored right over or around him by Terone.