The Purdue Boilermakers are back atop the AP Poll and will look to keep that top spot as they hit the road to face the Michigan Wolverines on Thursday.
Purdue Boilermakers (-5, 136) vs. Michigan Wolverines
This game features the consensus betting favorite to win the Wooden Award, 7-foot-4 Zach Edey, who ranks top 10 in the nation among qualifying Division I players in both points and rebounds per game. Edey is registering 21.5 points, 13.2 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game with a double-double in 11 of his last 12 games.
Edey is the backbone of a Boilermakers team that ranks 21st in the nation in points allowed on a per-possession basis that plays well on the road, ranking 10th in defensive efficiency in away games.
On the other end, Michigan has held six of its last eight opponents to fewer than 70 points with much of their defensive success coming at home.
Despite ranking just 123rd in the nation in points allowed on a per-possession basis, Michigan is allowing 14.5 points per 100 possessions fewer at home than on the road or at a neutral court. Much of this is thanks to Michigan’s stout 3-point defense, allowing teams to shoot just 26.4% from beyond the arc at home, good for 30th in the nation.
There’s also been a shortage of outside shots made in Boilermakers games, ranking 231st in 3-point shooting percentage while ranking 19th in opposing 3-point shooting.
The size of Edey and overall roster build has Purdue playing at one of the slowest paces in the nation, ranking 340th out of 363 Division I teams in possessions per game.
The combination of size and perimeter defense has resulted in Purdue allowing 66 points or fewer in 11 of its last 12 games and holding every opponent to 70 points or fewer.
With the Boilermakers also ranking fifth in the nation in defensive rebound rate, allowing opponents to grab rebounds only 20% of the time after missed shots, the stout defense will be the catalyst and will be on full display from the nation’s top team on Thursday.
The Play: Purdue vs. Michigan Under 136
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