West Lafayette, IN – The 20th-ranked Michigan Wolverines try to find success on the road tonight, as they head to Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Indiana for a Big Ten bout with the Purdue Boilermakers.
This will be the 144th meeting in the all-time series, and Michigan holds an 83-61 advantage in the rivalry. The Boilermakers dominated last year's only meeting, 80-57.
Michigan head coach John Beilein not only would like to get revenge against his Big Ten rival for last year's dismantling, but this game carries great importance as he needs his team to show that it can win on the road. Despite its 15-5 overall record and its 5-2 mark in league play, Michigan is just 1-4 on the road after suffering a 66-64 loss to the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday. The Wolverines' outside shooting woes continued as they went just 8- of-28 from beyond the arc in the loss. Michigan has shot 26.4 percent from three-point range over its last five games. The Wolverines provide a challenge for their opponents as they allow a mere 60.1 ppg, which is fourth best in the league.
Michigan has its best backcourt since the Fab Five days, as Tim Hardaway, Jr. and Trey Burke are two of the top guards in the Big Ten. Hardaway, Jr is the team's leading scorer with an average of 15.1 ppg, but he has been held to 10 points or fewer in his last three outings. Despite the slump, the sophomore has a big impact every time he steps on the floor due to his athleticism, which he utilizes at both ends. Despite being a freshman, Burke is third in the conference in assists (4.9 apg) and second on the team in scoring (14.6 ppg). Evan Smotrycz is leading Michigan on the boards with 5.9 rpg and Zack Novak is a third scoring option as he is netting just under 10 ppg.
Coach Matt Painter's Purdue team is 14-6 overall, and 4-3 in league play after an 83-58 loss to Michigan State in East Lansing on Saturday. The Boilermakers' much-needed return home should help ease any woes as they sport a 10-1 record in Mackey Arena so far this year. PU is coming off a season-worst shooting performance as the team made just 29 percent of its field goals and only 3- of-20 from three-point range against the Spartans. Purdue will have some off nights, but it has yet to lose two in a row this season. Painter has stressed ball handling, and his team has responded by ranking second in the Big Ten in turnover margin at +4.7.
Robbie Hummel has returned from the injury that caused him to miss 2010-2011 to lead his team by example. The senior forward is fifth in the Big Ten in scoring with 15.4 ppg and he is also leading the team with 6.3 boards per game. Hummel is coming off of the worst performance of his career, as he went 0-of-11 from the field against Michigan State. Lewis Jackson is the team's second-leading scorer with 10.0 ppg and he leads the team with 3.7 apg. Ryne Smith is a gunner from downtown as 87 percent of his attempts have been from beyond the arc, which has given him a team-leading 53 treys at the point.