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Game Thread: Michigan Basketball vs. #18 Purdue

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Join us for one of Michigan's most important remaining games as the Wolverines host #18 Purdue at the Crisler Center on Saturday afternoon.

Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

The Basics

Who: #18 Purdue Boilermakers (20-5, 8-4 Big Ten)

When: Saturday, February 13th, at 2:00 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Where: Crisler Center -- Ann Arbor, Mich.

Spread: Vegas: +1.5 | KenPom: L, 71-72 (47% WP)

***

To feel safe about its at-large NCAA Tournament bid hopes, Michigan likely needs to win three of its final six games. Assuming that Michigan takes care of business at home against Northwestern and games against Maryland and Iowa are long shots, that means Michigan needs to win two of its three games against Purdue, at Ohio State, and at Wisconsin. The first of those three games is this afternoon, and it's the only one at home.

The problem, though, is that Purdue is not a good matchup for Michigan whatsoever:

Purdue still is the worst Big Ten matchup for Michigan. Offensively, the Boilermakers have the slashers and big men to get the ball into the paint for easy twos against a defense that is not a cohesive unit. And it's hard to expect that Michigan will pack in its defense and tempt Purdue to win with jumpers since that's what they should have done but did not do against Minnesota earlier this week. Defensively, the Boilermakers should have fun against a Michigan offense that's been stagnant lately. Michigan should have trouble going inside and scoring over the top of A.J. Hammons and Isaac Haas, while Purdue likely will put Rapheal Davis on Duncan Robinson to take him out of the game completely. Unless Derrick Walton has a second straight virtuoso performance, that will put a whole bunch of pressure on Zak Irvin to carry this offense, and he won't be able to tomorrow.

Purdue 82, Michigan 72

Click here to read my in-depth Purdue preview.

What do you think? Will Michigan earn a huge win? Or will it crack vs. a top team again?