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Posts Tagged ‘Caleb Swanigan’

Michigan hoops preview: #13 (4) Purdue

Saturday, March 12th, 2016

Michigan vs #13 Purdue
Saturday, March 12 | Indianapolis, Ind.. | 12 p.m. ET | CBS
Line: Purdue -6.5
74.8 Points/gm 78.3
(875-1,865) 46.9 Field Goal % 47.3 (884-1,870)
(320-824) 38.8 3-pt FG % 37.3 (252-676)
(397-536) 74.1 Free Throw % 73.9 (485-656)
12.0 FT Made/gm 15.2
32.4 Reb/gm 41.2
15.0 Assists/gm 17.8
9.8 Turnovers/gm 12.2
67.2 Points/gm 64.7
(815-1,841) 44.3 Field Goal % 39.1 (746-1,908)
(236-683) 34.6 3-pt FG % 31.4 (196-624)
32.8 Opp. Reb/gm 30.1
5.5 Steals/gm 4.3
2.2 Blocks/gm 4.7
Individual Leaders
Caris LeVert (16.5), Zak Irvin (11.8) Points/gm A.J. Hammons (14.7), Vince Edwards (10.7)
Derick Walton (5.6), Caris LeVert (5.3) Reb/gm Caleb Swanigan (8.4), A.J. Hammons (7.8)

Michigan pulled off the upset it needed to give it a shot at an at-large bid come Sunday. But the work isn’t done yet. ESPN projects the Wolverines’ chances to be 50-50, but a win over Purdue in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals on Saturday would likely be enough to push John Beilein’s squad into the Big Dance.

Michigan and Purdue split a pair of regular season meetings with each team winning on its home floor. Purdue won in West Lafayette, 87-70, on Jan. 7, while Michigan won 61-56 in Ann Arbor on Feb. 13.

In the first, Michigan stayed within striking distance until the 5:11 mark in the second half when Purdue scored 12 straight during a three minute Michigan scoring drought to pull away. In the second, Michigan held Purdue scoreless for the final 3:17, turning a 56-50 deficit at the time into a 61-56 win.

Big men A.J. Hammons and Caleb Swanigan combined for 48 points and 20 rebounds in the two games, but the big difference was guard Raphael Davis and forward Vince Edwards, who scored a combined 27 points in the win but just nine in the loss on 2-of-14 shooting. Michigan will need to limit those two again on Saturday if it wants to advance to the Big Ten Tournament championship game.

Michigan 61 – Purdue 56: Wolverines honor ChadTough with key win

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

UM vs Purdue(Dustin Johnson, UM Hoops)

After getting blown out at home two straight times within the last two weeks, Michigan needed an answer today as they welcomed another ranked opponent, Purdue, to the Crisler Center. It never looked or felt like that answer would come, but when the final buzzer sounded, the Wolverines had indeed finished on top, 61-56, thanks to an 11-0 run to end the game.

Neither team was able to find any sort of offensive rhythm this afternoon, and both teams shot worse than 40 percent from the floor, but Michigan looked like a team dead-set on defending their home floor after being embarrassed twice.

The Wolverines also looked like a team fighting for their NCAA Tournament lives; this win certainly bolsters their resume and gives them a second top-tier conference win. Paired with no bad losses and a couple other solid wins, Michigan looks the part of a safe bet to be dancing come March.

Perhaps the Maize and Blue looked like a group excited to have their veteran star back on the court too. Caris LeVert, of course, is that long lost star who made his return to the floor after missing 11 straight conference games with a mysterious left foot or ankle injury.

Regardless of the motivations behind the victory, Michigan fought tough in a crucial matchup that turned into a bizarre battle.

Purdue’s game revolves around the play of big men A.J. Hammons, Isaac Haas, and Caleb Swanigan, who are all skilled around the rim, shot blocking threats, and good rebounders. In addition to senior guard Raphael Davis, the big trio is the reason Purdue is one of the best defensive teams in the country, limiting the opposition to just 41.4 percent shooting from two-point range and a meager 30.9 percent from distance. They are also the reason the Boilermakers had outgained every single opponent in rebounding this year.

Four Factors
Michigan Purdue
41 eFG% 45
28 OReb% 20
10 TO% 15
40 FTR 26

Michigan, on the other hand, is all about guard play and offense. While their defensive rebounding numbers are pretty solid, the Wolverines are certainly not known to clean up the glass with any consistency, and in fact point guard Derrick Walton is actually their best defensive rebounder. They also can struggle to score inside on occasion, which was evident both in Michigan’s earlier loss at Purdue and in today’s win. And because of John Beilein’s offensive system, Michigan almost always has a size disadvantage at the four position, with 6-foot-6 junior Zak Irvin getting most of their minutes there.

Yet somehow, Michigan today managed to both outscore Purdue in the paint (24-22, 66.7%-45.8% on shots in the paint) and outrebound them overall (39-35). And while I’m of the belief that straight up rebounding margin doesn’t mean much, that is certainly an impressive stat, bolstered by the fact that the difference in rebounding today was with the Wolverines grabbing four more of the offensive variety.

It’s not every day you see a Beilein squad out-physical a high quality team for a win – especially one with such inside prowess as Purdue – but today was not every day either.

In another strange occurrence, Zak Irvin was the only Michigan player to crack double digits, and he couldn’t have done it in a crazier way. The Indiana native was ice cold in the first half, having scored just six (2-of-5 2pt, 0-of-2 3pt, 2-of-3 FT) of his game-high 22 points in the opening 20 minutes before catching fire in the second half with 16 points on 2-of-6 shooting inside the arc and 4-of-6 from long range.

Walton, coming off a career night in a victory at Minnesota earlier this week, could not get a shot to fall until finally ending a 0-of-9 streak with 2:06 to play on a beautiful and-1 finish. He did, however, make his free throws to seal the deal and grabbed a pair of crucial rebounds on Purdue’s final two misses.

You want more strange? How about Duncan Robinson, Michigan’s leading three-point shooter, attempting only one three on the afternoon, and missing that one, but scoring four points inside the arc? And, to make things interesting, he only played 21 minutes because of foul trouble.

Don’t worry, there’s more. LeVert, who was Michigan’s leader in many statistical categories before falling prey to injury and losing so many games, played 11 minutes, all in the first half, and had five more rebounds than he had points – of which he had none on only one shot attempt.

The strange continues on and on: Kameron Chatman and D.J. Wilson, usually seen riding the pine, saw six minutes of combined action and scored two points apiece, but were chosen to lead the team in The Victors following the win in the locker room.

And, oh yeah – did I mention that Michigan won a game making 36.4 percent of their shots and only five of 20 threes? And that the Wolverines pulled it out despite only leading for about 6:30 of playing time, with most of that coming shortly after the tip? How about that Michigan trailed by 10 points roughly halfway into the first half and looked primed for another home beatdown before clawing back?

It was bizarre in many ways, and I never thought Michigan would come out on top until the very end. But the Wolverines deserve plenty of credit. They never seemed to be in the game, but they were almost always within 4-6 points despite their epic shooting woes. There were plenty of times that they could have seen their shot not fall and proceed to wilt away because it wasn’t their day.

So you could look at this game and cry that it was a fluke.

But you could also look at it and see some toughness, some grit, some fight. You could see a team that can win in more than one way.

I’ll choose the latter.

Quick Hitters

• John Beilein said after the game that he didn’t expect LeVert to be ready to play before yesterday’s practice, but LeVert had a good practice where he was able to go full-court for a while and “got gassed” pretty quickly. Following that practice, LeVert told his coach that he wanted to give it a go. Before letting that happen, Beilein wanted to make sure it was the right decision and checked back with him a few times. He also insisted that LeVert participate in regular warmups to see how his ankle/foot held up.

Because of the late decision, Beilein mentioned that there was not much offense drawn up for LeVert, and they were aiming to give him 10-15 minutes of playing time to loosen him up and help him get back in the flow of things. He did not specify whether LeVert sitting for the entire second half was planned, but Beilein also did not seem worried about it at all and said he would have been available in an emergency situation, and seemed to indicate that he will be on track to give it a go again at Ohio State on Tuesday. LeVert was not available to the media following the game, but there were no indications that he aggravated his injury or did not feel well enough to go play in the second half.

• After Derrick Walton missed his first three open looks, Beilein said he gave Walton motivation or confidence by telling him to “make the shots, damn it”. It did not necessarily work, as Walton missed plenty more open shots along the way, but his layup and free throws down the stretch with critical.

• Mark Donnal had another serviceable game, with eight points on 2-of-6 shooting and 4-of-4 free throws. He also dunked for the second straight game, which I believe are his only two dunks in conference play despite seeing drastically increased playing time and a much larger role in the offense.

• I also thought Ricky Doyle had another pretty solid game with four points on 2-of-2 shooting in 14 minutes, but his free throws continue to disappoint. He missed his only two attempts from the line today to bring his average to 60.5 percent on the season.

• Speaking of free throws, you’ll never guess who the only Wolverine to have attempted at least 15 free throws and have a worse percentage than Doyle is. Well, you probably will because if you are reading this you’ve probably seen most of Michigan’s games…but the answer is Zak Irvin, who is inexplicably shooting a woeful 60.4% at the charity stripe. In one of the stranger things I saw today (and it was a strange day indeed – see above), I looked up Irvin’s career numbers at the free throw line after he missed his first attempt today – a front-end of a 1-and-1 – badly and saw a statistical oddity: Irvin’s numbers at the line have gotten worse year-over-year since his freshman season. As a pure shooter in his first year, Irvin made 71.4% of his free throws. As a sophomore, the number dropped slightly to a still-respectable 68.9 percent. Now in his junior season, the mark has plummeted by a whopping 8.5 percent. It’s rare to see a pure shooter have such poor shooting numbers, and even rarer to see someone’s free throw percentage drop two consecutive years.

• A couple won a $500 jewelry gift card during a timeout contest…and then got engaged immediately after at center court. I have never seen a ring purchased so quickly in my life.

Michigan’s Three Stars

***Zak Irvin***
22 points (8-of-19 2pt, 4-of-8 3pt, 2-of-3 FT), five rebounds (one offensive), one assist in 35 minutes

**Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman**
9 points (2-of-4 2pt, 0-of-1 3pt, 0-of-0 FT), four rebounds (three offensive), two assists, three steals, one turnover in 36 minutes

*Mark Donnal*
8 points (2-of-6 2pt, 0-of-1 3pt, 4-of-4 FT), one rebound (one offensive), one turnover in 20 minutes

Season Three-Stars Standings

Derrick Walton Jr – 26
Duncan Robinson – 17
Caris LeVert – 15
Zak Irvin – 13
Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman – 8
Aubrey Dawkins – 5
Mark Donnal – 2
Spike Albrecht – 1
Moritz Wagner – 1
Final Game Stats
34 Mark Donnal* 2-6 0-1 4-4 1 0 1 4 8 0 1 0 0 20
10 Derrick Walton* 1-10 0-6 4-5 0 7 7 4 6 1 2 0 2 36
21 Zak Irvin* 8-19 4-8 2-3 1 4 5 1 22 1 0 0 0 35
22 Duncan Robinson* 2-4 0-1 0-0 1 2 3 3 4 2 0 0 0 21
12 Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman* 3-6 1-1 2-3 3 1 4 1 9 2 1 0 3 36
03 Kameron Chatman 0-2 0-2 2-2 1 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 4
05 D.J. Wilson 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 1 2 0 0 1 0 2
13 Moritz Wagner 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
23 Caris LeVert 0-1 0-0 0-1 0 5 5 0 0 1 1 0 0 11
24 Aubrey Dawkins 1-4 0-1 2-2 1 3 4 1 4 0 1 0 0 17
32 Ricky Doyle 2-2 0-0 0-2 1 2 3 3 4 0 0 0 0 14
Totals 20-55 5-20 16-22 11 28 39 15 61 7 6 1 5 200
Purdue 21-53 6-12 8-14 7 28 35 18 56 8 9 3 2
Full Stats
Beilein Tie Watch
(Sam Sedlecky, M&GB)

(Sam Sedlecky, M&GB)

Michigan hoops preview: #18 Purdue

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

Michigan vs Purdue
Saturday, Feb. 13 | Ann Arbor, Mich. | 2 p.m. ET | ESPN2
Line: Purdue -1.5
77.0 Points/gm 78.4
(681-1,406) 48.4 Field Goal % 46.1 (689-1,493)
(262-641) 40.9 3-pt FG % 35.4 (196-554)
(300-408) 73.5 Free Throw % 74.7 (387-518)
12.0 FT Made/gm 15.5
32.0 Reb/gm 42.5
15.6 Assists/gm 17.8
9.8 Turnovers/gm 12.6
66.4 Points/gm 63.7
(610-1,395) 43.7 Field Goal % 38.2 (573-1,501)
(179-522) 34.3 3-pt FG % 31.1 (146-469)
32.3 Opp. Reb/gm 31.1
5.8 Steals/gm 4.8
2.3 Blocks/gm 5.2
Individual Leaders
Caris LeVert (17.6), Derrick Walton (12.3) Points/gm A.J. Hammons (14.7), Vince Edwards (10.4)
Derick Walton (5.7), Caris LeVert (5.4) Reb/gm Caleb Swanigan (8.8), A.J. Hammons (8.2)

Michigan stopped the bleeding with a 82-74 win at Minnesota on Wednesday night, but it was far from convincing. The Wolverines blew a 17-point lead and had to hang on to avoid handing Minnesota its first win in nearly two months. That would have assuredly placed Michigan on the outside of the NCAA Tournament bubble, but as for now the Wolverines are still likely in barring a meltdown in the final six games. A win over 18th-ranked Purdue this afternoon would go a long way toward helping that cause.

Purdue won the season’s first meeting in West Lafayette, 87-70, despite a 25-point performance from Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman. Three Zak Irvin free throws pulled Michigan within six with 5:20 remaining, but Purdue went on a 12-0 run over the next three minutes to put the game away.

Four Purdue players scored in double figures, led by center A.J. Hammons’ 17 points. The 7-foot-0, 250-pound senior leads the team with an average of 14.7 points and 2.7 blocked shots per game and ranks second with 8.2 rebounds. In his last four games he has averaged 21.3 points and 10.5 rebounds while shooting 60 percent from the field. In the Boilermakers’ overtime win over Michigan State on Tuesday, Hammons nearly had a triple-double with 19 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocks.

Sophomore forward Vince Edwards (6-foot-8, 225) is the team’s second leading scorer, averaging 10.4 points and third leading rebounder with 5.2 boards per game. He recorded 11 points and seven rebounds in the first meeting. However, Edwards has been in a slump the last two weeks, shooting just 25.9 percent from the field (7-of-27) and 16.7 percent from three-point range (2-of-12) while averaging just 7.7 points.

Freshman forward Caleb Swanigan (6-foot-9, 250) and sophomore center Isaac Haas (7-foot-2, 282) each scored just seven points in the Jan. 7 meeting, but add to Purdue’s significant size advantage. Swanigan averages 9.8 points and a Big Ten-leading 8.8 rebounds per game. Haas averages 10 points and four boards.

The backcourt is lead by senior guard Raphael Davis (6-foot-6, 217) and junior guard Kendall Stephens (6-foot-7, 205). Davis scored 16 in the first meeting and is the team’s best three-point shooter, averaging 40.6 percent. He made 6-of-8 three-point attempts on his way to 24 points against Michigan State on Tuesday. Stephens missed four games for personal reasons, but returned against Michigan State and played just three minutes. His absence has yielded increased minutes for sophomore guard P.J. Thompson (5-foot-10, 188), who scored eight points in the first meeting, and senior guard Johnny Hill (6-foot-3, 187), who scored 10.

Michigan and Purdue are tied for fourth in the Big Ten at 8-4, but the Boilers are a bad matchup for Michigan. They rank second in the Big Ten with 42.5 rebounds per game, while Michigan ranks last with 32. And Purdue’s defense — second-best field goal percentage defense in the conference — will undoubtedly force Michigan into one of the extended scoring droughts that have become all too common this season. Perhaps Michigan can harness the power of the sold out home crowd that will be honoring and raising awareness for the ChadTough Foundation. But after last week’s gaffes against Indiana and Michigan State I wouldn’t count on it.

#20 Purdue 87 – Michigan 70

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

MAAR vs Purdue(Dustin Johnson, UM Hoops)

Tonight started with bad news for the visiting Michigan Wolverines when Caris LeVert was deemed unable to play for the second straight game.

Unfortunately, the news never got much better, as the senior-less Wolverines dropped their first Big Ten road game this season by an 87-70 mark to Purdue in West Lafayette, Indiana. And while the final score is a bit deceiving, given that the Maize and Blue never trailed by more than 11 points before the 4:13 mark of the second half, and cut the deficit to as little as five points thrice in the second half, it never fully felt like they had much of a chance in a matchup against the stifling Boilermaker different.

One of the few bright spots for Michigan would prove to be sophomore Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, who ducked, drove, shot, and weaved his way to an impressive and career best 25-point showing. But the majority of his teammates never got it going from the floor versus the statistically best defensive team in the country when it comes to opponents’ field goal percentage, and Purdue’s size and timely shooting were too much to overcome for the short-handed visitors.

A.J. Hammons, the behemoth star senior Boilermaker, was a terror all night on both ends of the floor. Michigan players tried time and again to find their way into the paint, but they either quickly thought better of it and turned around, put up an altered prayer of a shot, or had it swatted right back in their faces. Offensively, Hammons was able to use his wide frame to get and maintain great post position, helping him to make six of his nine two-point attempts from close range while also putting a cherry on top of his performance with a three from the top of the key (putting him at a perfect 4-of-4 from deep on the season). When Michigan double- or triple-teamed him, he remained calm and found open shooters on the perimeter. Hammons final line – 17 points, five rebounds, four blocks, and three assists – looks unspectacular, but showcases his efficiency and supremely improved all-around game.

Senior Raphael Davis also joined the party for Purdue with 16 points on nine shots, six assists, five rebounds, and a block of his own while locking down Duncan Robinson, Zak Irvin, and Derrick Walton intermittently throughout the evening. Davis dished out a game-high six assists as well to help his squad record dimes on a mind-blowing 86.7 percent of their made field goals (26-of-30).

The loss is certainly not unexpected for the Maize and Blue, but it is an opportunity unseized after starting conference play with two convincing wins (albeit against lesser opponents) and having a fighter’s chance for most of tonight. At the same time, this will likely go down as one of their toughest games all year, and with LeVert watching from the bench, it was going to require a mammoth effort and a pristine shooting night – and at 37.7 percent from the field for John Beilein’s vaunted offense, it was anything but that.

Michigan entered the night as the best effective field goal percentage (calculated by (FGM + 0.5 * 3PM) / FGA to account for the added value of triples) offense in the country, but struggled to penetrate or shoot over the strong Purdue defense. Rahk emerged as one of the few brave enough to drive into Hammons and fellow seven-footer Isaac Haas, and was the only one to make more than half of his field goal attempts (10-of-16 total), while the only two others to reach double figures – Derrick Walton Jr. and Duncan Robinson – needed nine and eight shots to score 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Mark Donnal, coming off two breakout showings to kick off conference play, managed seven points, but did so by making his two triple tries and one free throw while going 0-of-4 from two-point range. He also grabbed three offensive rebounds and five total to help the Wolverines mitigate Purdue’s advantage on the glass, for what it was worth.

Zak Irvin also managed only seven points on a miserable 2-of-10 shooting night (0-of-3 from deep) riddled with poor shot selection and led the team with both four turnovers and three assists.

Luckily for Michigan, tonight’s loss was of the house money variety. Purdue’s size and defensive prowess were bound to give a more finesse Wolverine team problems and only the least knowledgeable or most demanding of fans can be too disappointed in the outcome. Beilein will likely watch the tape once, glean any small bits of positive information out of it (perhaps a bit more isolation play for Rahk), and then chalk it up to a brutally difficult matchup.

But some quality wins will be needed in the not-so-distant future if Michigan is to be watching comfortably on Selection Sunday. There will be more chances on that front – the Wolverines welcome Maryland to Ann Arbor next Tuesday before traveling to Iowa City the following Sunday – but it’s going to take a battle.

Enter Caris LeVert and a bit of a softer defensive opponent and those chances look a lot more obtainable.

Michigan’s Three Stars

***Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman***
25 points (8-of-11 2pt, 2-of-5 3pt, 3-of-3 FT), two assists, four rebounds (one offensive), two steals, zero turnovers in 39 minutes

**Duncan Robinson**
10 points (1-of-3 2pt, 2-of-5 3pt, 2-of-2 FT), five rebounds, one assist, one steal, zero turnovers in 30 minutes

*Derrick Walton Jr.*
12 points (1-of-6 2pt, 2-of-3 3pt, 4-of-6 FT), six rebounds (one offensive), one assist, one turnover in 33 minutes

Season Three-Stars Standings

Caris LeVert – 15
Duncan Robinson – 12
Derrick Walton – 8
Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman – 3
Aubrey Dawkins – 2
Spike Albrecht – 1
Moritz Wagner – 1
Final Game Stats
34 Mark Donnal* 2-6 2-2 1-2 3 2 5 1 7 0 1 0 1 13
10 Derrick Walton* 3-9 2-3 4-6 1 5 6 3 12 1 1 0 0 33
21 Zak Irvin* 2-10 0-3 3-3 1 1 2 1 7 3 4 0 1 38
22 Duncan Robinson* 3-8 2-5 2-2 0 5 5 3 10 1 0 0 1 30
12 Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman* 10-16 2-5 3-3 1 3 4 4 25 2 0 0 2 39
05 D.J. Wilson 1-5 1-5 0-0 0 0 0 3 3 2 0 1 1 15
11 Andrew Dakich 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 1 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 8
13 Moritz Wagner 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 4
24 Aubrey Dawkins 2-5 2-4 0-0 1 0 1 0 6 0 0 0 1 12
32 Ricky Doyle 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 8
Totals 23-61 11-27 13-16 9 19 28 21 70 10 8 2 7 200
Purdue 30-54 9-18 18-21 6 30 36 13 87 26 9 7 5 200
Full Stats

Michigan hoops preview: #20 Purdue

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

Michigan vs #20 Purdue
Thursday, Jan. 7 | West Lafayette, Ind. | 7 p.m. EST | ESPNU
79.3 Points/gm 78.5
(434-852) 50.9 Field Goal % 46.3 (405-875)
(163-381) 42.8 3-pt FG % 35.2 (125-355)
(158-221) 71.5 Free Throw % 74.2 (242-326)
10.9 FT Made/gm 16.1
33.4 Reb/gm 43.7
16.9 Assists/gm 18.0
10.0 Turnovers/gm 13.0
60.9 Points/gm 59.1
(330-819) 40.3 Field Goal % 34.8 (323-928)
(102-296) 34.5 3-pt FG % 28.3 (79-279)
31.3 Opp. Reb/gm 32.5
6.0 Steals/gm 4.9
2.5 Blocks/gm 5.8
Individual Leaders
Caris LeVert (17.6), Duncan Robinson (11.9) Points/gm A.J. Hammons (13.9), Isaac Haas (11.4)
Caris LeVert (5.4), Derrick Walton (5.1) Reb/gm Caleb Swanigan (8.9), A.J. Hammons (8.0)

The easiest stretch of Michigan’s season is over and the Big Ten season will offer its first real test Thursday in West Lafayette. John Beilein’s team bounced back from a tough 4-3 stretch with six straight wins, including conference victories over Illinois and Penn State.

But No. 20 Purdue offers a much greater challenge. Michigan has lost its three biggest games of the season up to this point, so Thursday will be another chance to pick up a quality win.

Here are some keys to tonight’s game.

1. Size matters

Unfortunately, Purdue is one of the toughest matchups in the country for Michigan on paper. The Boilermakers’ top three scorers average just under 7 feet tall, a height advantage the Wolverines can’t hope to match inside.

A.J. Hammons, Matt Painter’s senior leader, is 7 feet tall and averages 13.9 points and eight rebounds per game. Hammons shoots 63 percent from the floor and over 75 percent from the charity stripe. He’s also a force on defense, averaging 2.7 blocks.

Behind Hammons is 7-2 center Isaac Haas. Haas isn’t a typical second-option in the paint. The sophomore is second on the team in scoring – 11.4 points per game – and picks up 5.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game.

Michigan’s tallest player is Mo Wagner, at 6-10, but the majority of Michigan’s front court production comes from 6-9 forwards Mark Donnal and Ricky Doyle. That means the Wolverines will be giving up 3-5 inches of height and even more in strength.

2. Freshman force

On Thursday, Michigan will get its first look at the best freshman in the Big Ten this season: Caleb Swanigan. Despite being a true freshman, Swanigan plays more minutes than any other Purdue player and nearly averages a double-double.

Swanigan scores 10.2 points and rips down 8.9 rebounds per game, but he’s also the Boilermakers’ best passer inside the paint. With Hammons and Haas sharing time around the basket, Swanigan plays a huge role in dishing for easy buckets.

If Michigan can slow down Swanigan, it’ll go a long way toward slowing down an efficient Boilermaker offense. But that’s easier said than done, especially for an undersized Michigan frontcourt.

3. Steal the show

Purdue is the 20th-ranked team in the country, but there’s one glaring weakness for Painter’s team midway through the season.

In their 13 wins, the Boilermakers have taken solid care of the ball, averaging 13 turnovers per game. But in both of its losses, Purdue’s opponents had a significant advantage in turnovers.

Butler (6th) and Iowa (29th) are two of the country’s best teams in steals-to-turnover ratio. Butler, which picks up .78 steals per turnover committed, slaughtered Purdue in the turnover battle, 18-8. Eleven of those 18 Purdue turnovers were forced by Butler steals, the deciding factor in the 6-point Bulldog win.

On Saturday, when Iowa pulled off a 70-63 upset over Purdue, the Hawkeyes had 10 steals and forced 14 total turnovers, while committing only nine turnovers of their own.

Michigan steals only six passes per game, but if it can ramp up the defense Thursday night and win the turnover battle, it’ll have a chance to pick up a big win.

Thursday’s game is a tough matchup for Michigan, especially if top scorer Caris LeVert isn’t available to return from his leg injury. Without LeVert’s 17.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.2 assists, it’ll be extremely difficult for Michigan to overcome Purdue’s size advantage.