Final Horn: Purdue 76, Michigan 59

Zach Shaw

INDIANAPOLIS — Through two games of the Big Ten Tournament, the Michigan basketball team had thrown fatigue, personnel gaps and a bad finish to the regular season out the window, and had instead ridden last-second heroics to the tournament’s semifinals.

But on Saturday, reality returned to the Wolverines.

Dominated in the post and unable to counter offensively, Michigan put its NCAA Tournament bid in jeopardy with a 76-59 loss to No. 13 Purdue. The result advanced the Boilermakers (12-6 Big Ten, 26-7 overall) into Sunday’s championship, while the Wolverines (10-8, 22-12) are left waiting for Selection Sunday to decide their fate.

Here are our immediate reactions from today’s action in Indianapolis.

MVP: A.J. Hammons. Purdue’s first team All-Big Ten star was as good as advertised Saturday. The 7-foot center dominated both ends of the glass, scoring 15 points in the first half and finishing with a game-high 27 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks. On both ends of the court, Hammons could do whatever he wanted to down low, putting Michigan’s four big men in foul trouble and holding them to a combined 10 points and four rebounds.

It was over when… In some ways, Michigan was lucky to be down just eight points at halftime. The Boilermakers had dominated in the post, the Wolverines weren’t making threes and it looked like a game was teetering on a blowout. And right on cue, it took less than two minutes for Purdue to push its lead to 16 in the second half. Riding’s mismatches on Hammons and shooting struggles for Michigan, the Boilermakers put it away early.

Though junior guard Derrick Walton Jr. sparked a mini comeback midway through the second half, the Wolverines never pulled to within closer than six points.

Key Stat: It was almost a given that Purdue would dominate in the paint against Michigan, but the Wolverines lost in large part because their alleged strength — perimeter shooting — collapsed to the tune of 6-of-24 3-point shooting. Michigan just couldn’t knock down perimeter shots and managed just .87 points per possession of offense in their third game in as manydays..

Unsung hero: Derrick Walton Jr. . For the second game in a row, the junior guard was the team’s vocal leader and top defender. And this time, he brought some scoring with him. Walton led the team with 14 points, while chipping in six rebounds, five assists and three steals.

Room for improvement: Michigan will win few games when it allows opponent’s big men to dominate the way Hammons did. The All-Big Ten First Team big man is far from the first post player to put up monstrous numbers on the Wolverines, but he had a dominant performance on Saturday.

Four Factors

purdue factors btt
  • maxwells_demon

    Where can I find +/- data for Robinson?

  • Fab 5 Legends

    good effort..Purdue was the better team…whether we get into the NCAA tourny or not…you have to be impressed with the effort these previous games…if we played like yesterday for most of the season we would not be in this situation…and NIT experience will also be beneficial for this team coming back next year….go BLUE!

    • Tony DeMaria

      This. I was super down on this team coming into the tourney. I think I referred to it as “hate watching”. And the NW game didn’t help. But I saw something even today that I haven’t seen all year from them. Heart hustle and cohesiveness for the most part. This is a team you can be proud of even if they get snubbed.

  • GTFOmycourt

    I am wondering what other people’s opinions are. It seemed like Wagner, DJ, and Donnal were told not to shoot threes. You could tell that Wagner wanted to shoot threes but did not, I think. The thing is those guys are all pretty decent shooters and Hammonds made it clear that they can have the shot all day. Is it really better to have Robinson, Irvin, Walton shoot under defensive pressure or have those guys let some fly completely wide open. Poor strategy because Hammonds needed to be forced out and away from the paint.

    • GTFOmycourt

      A related question: Is Robinson an elite shooter when he is closely guarded? Average? Below average?

      • maxwells_demon

        I’d like to know why Chatman can only be subbed for Irvin and not Robinson. When Robinson can’t hit a 3, like pretty much all of 2016, he is a major negative and treated like he is indispensable.

        • GTFOmycourt

          I have kind of an unorthodox opinion of him. I think he is an average 3 point shooter against any sort of good defensive pressure. But I actually think his defense is not as horrible as people make it out to be. I think he is a decent passer. Decent but conservative ball handler. ok rebounder. But again, he is just average at shooting 3’s against good defensive pressure. He is also very sub par at getting himself ready to shoot–very bad actually. If he is not rested, set, shoulders square and totally balanced a lot of people could outshoot him. So, I like him ok but and I don’t mind him playing a lot but we need to be real about him being some great shooter like Stauskas. Maybe he could just be sort of a role player?

          • jemblue

            I think he’s a good shooter (that shot against Northwestern wasn’t exactly easy), but the transition to facing D-I defenses hasn’t been simple for him, and I think he also went through a stretch where he lost confidence and it affected his mechanics. Next year I expect him to be more consistent.

          • GTFOmycourt

            I think he will only get better. My point more than anything is I think he is a better all around player than most think he is. I just don’t think is that great of a shooter under these intense defenses yet.

  • Carl

    It’s 50-50 now.. Another double digit loss won’t help.

    • Tony DeMaria

      Supposedly margin of victory (or loss) doesn’t matter to committee. Ignore those talking heads on TV.

      • jemblue

        I don’t see why it should. We lost four games this year by either 10 or 11 points. One more basket in each game and they’d all be single-digit losses. Would that really matter?

  • gobluemd16

    Almost impossible to beat a team like this when we recruit bigs the way we have — they have to be off like they were in Ann Arbor. And now we wait… We are at the peril of the selection committee

  • Chezaroo

    What was our team percentage from three the last 10 games of the year? Anybody got the stats?

  • Joel_C

    Root hard for Steve Fisher & SDSU tonight – a Fresno St win could steal an at-large bid if the Aztecs get in as well.

  • Under The Bridge

    If M doesn’t make it into the tournament the selection process is very, very broken. i think that the B1G gets 7 teams in the tournament and that Michigan is the 7th because we didn’t lose at home to Texas-Arlington and Ohio State did.

  • gobluemd16

    We will see how good the committee really is, in my opinion. Some bracketologists throw out the 4-11 v top 100 as why we shouldnt be in. But, 8 of the losses are to the top 25 and 10/11 are top 40. We played only one team RI 50-100 and thats it and it was a road loss. No other bubble teams have 4 top 25 wins and most have a few bad losses — we have zero.