What 2 watch 4: Purdue to battle Michigan in epic third rematch

Purdue center Isaac Haas (44) puts up a shot against Penn State forward Lamar Stevens (11) during the second half of a Big Ten Conference tournament semifinal game Saturday in New York. Purdue won 78-70. (By The Associated Press)
Michigan men's basketball coach John Beilein talks to players during a break in play during the second half of a Big Ten Conference tournament semifinal game against Michigan State Saturday in New York. Michigan won 75-64. (By The Associated Press)
Purdue guard Carsen Edwards (3) passes off the ball around Penn State forward Lamar Stevens (11) during the second half of a Big Ten Conference tournament semifinal game Saturday in New York. Purdue won 78-70. (By The Associated Press)

The Purdue men’s basketball squad has played a number of thrilling games this season, but none more as scintillating as the two Boilermaker wins over Michigan.

The Boilermakers got a late free throw by senior center Isaac Haas to win 70-69 in Ann Arbor in early January, before senior forward Vince Edwards dropped 30 on the Wolverines at Mackey Arena in an entertaining 92-88 victory later that month.

The two teams will face each other for a third time Sunday at 4:30 p.m. (CBS) for the Big Ten Tournament championship in Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The Boilermakers advanced to the title game by beating Penn State 78-70, while Michigan got by its rival, Michigan State, 75-64 Saturday.

Here are some keys for a Purdue (28-5) win over Michigan (27-7).

RELATED STORY:Purdue coach Matt Painter sees time off this month as a positive

Defending the movement

Veteran Michigan coach John Beilein is known for a number of things throughout his storied career, but intricate offensive movement is one of them.

The Wolverines shot 60 percent overall in the loss in West Lafayette and 56.5 percent from 3-point range.

The Boilermakers will not be – more than likely – lucky enough to simply outshoot Michigan, as it did twice this season. Barely.

“They run a good system with a lot of counters, a lot of options,” Boilermaker senior guard Dakota Mathias said following Saturday’s game. “(Michigan center) Moe Wagner is one of the best players in our league. They just have just a lot of different options.

“So just staying tight on some of their action, being disciplined on defense is going to be huge for us tomorrow.”

An active Isaac Haas

The Boilermaker guards were able to get Haas active offensively against the single-coverage by Michigan in both the earlier games.

The 7-foot-2 post player had 14 shots in each game and totaled 41 points.

He was effective in Saturday’s win and that will be needed again Sunday.

Haas hit 6 of 9 shots Saturday and finished with 17 points.

“We couldn’t get stops,” Penn State coach Pat Chambers said after the loss to Purdue. “We needed to get stops and (Purdue guard) Carsen Edwards played so well and Vince being out there, you try to take that away then they go to Haas.

“That’s a very, very good basketball team.”

Grab the basketball

Purdue has been outrebounded in both of its games in the Big Ten Tournament, including allowing Penn State to grab 16 offensive rebounds, which was a slight improvement from the 17 that Rutgers grabbed in a loss to the Boilers Friday.

Veteran Boilermaker coach Matt Painter said that has to stop on Sunday.

“We have to rebound the ball better,” Painter said. “We have to execute. From just how we’ve played here, I think we can do a much better job in our execution. But no matter who we’re playing we have to rebound the basketball better and I think that’s going to be imperative (Sunday).”

Offensive balance

The Boilermakers have gotten tremendous scoring from sophomore guard Carsen Edwards, who will probably be named as the tournament Most Valuable Player if Purdue wins Sunday.

Edwards had 26 against Rutgers and 27 Saturday. He has now scored at least 22 points in six of Purdue’s last eight games.

“Settling into the games is a good way to put it,” Painter said of his team’s offensive success. “I thought Carsen did a better job today than he did yesterday against Rutgers. He struggled in the first half and had a great second half. I thought he was solid in the first half today.

“I thought he settled into the game a little easier and then he was obviously great in the second half.”

In earlier games, Michigan shifted its focus to controlling the Purdue perimeter attack (Carsen) and not so much Haas.

On Sunday, Haas will have to be effective in order to open some looks up for Mathias and both Edwards’.

Mathias had 15 on Saturday and Vince Edwards had 26 against Rutgers. Strong games from everyone offensively will not only hinder Michigan, but it will help each other.

“In terms of our whole team,” Painter said, “we’re very confident and sometimes being overconfident, you take shots a little bit quicker, you take a quick contested one. We’ve got to be patient, have better movement when things don’t go our way or when we don’t get into something in one of our sets.”

For more on college basketball, follow Tom Davis on Twitter at Tom101010 and on Facebook at Thomas Davis.

COMMENTS