Why Purdue's Matt Painter Thinks Michigan is a Dangerous Team

Why Purdue's Matt Painter Thinks Michigan is a Dangerous Team

Basketball

Why Purdue's Matt Painter Thinks Michigan is a Dangerous Team

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Two ranked opponents in a row, and two decisive wins for Michigan basketball. Also — two opposing coaches who marvel at what the Wolverines are doing.

Three days after the maize and blue handed UNC a loss that was so ‘frustrating’ to head coach Roy Williams that he said it was the most frustrated he’s been in 31 years of coaching, Michigan took it to No. 19 Purdue, winning 76-57 at Crisler Center on Saturday afternoon. And Boilermakers head coach Matt Painter didn’t mince how much of a struggle it was for his team against the Wolverines.

“We just had such a tough start,” Painter said. “We weren’t clean in what we were doing. There’s certain things against a really good team that you’ll live with. But the things we were giving up early – that one stretch they missed like two or three layups – it could have been worse.

“But we just weren’t clean in what we did. You know, you have to be disciplined when you switch up against them. You have to be disciplined when you decide to guard them that way. And then, when you’re not disciplined, they’re gonna get you. They’re gonna get you anyways – it’s just kind of the lesser of two evils.”

Michigan rolled, taking a 44-28 halftime lead and ballooning it to 20 points early in the second half. The Wolverines held that lead for the first part, but halfway through the second, Purdue cut that deficit to 12.

But, back-to-back threes by center Jon Teske and Jordan Poole helped the maize and blue push the lead back to 20, just as Purdue started to make it look like it could be a game late.

Thus lies the conundrum: the Wolverines have multiple ways they can beat you.

The No. 1 defensive team in the country is also no slouch on offense. Michigan put up 84 on North Carolina, but if the offense cools off — as it did in the second half, as the Wolverines went from shooting 53% in the first half to just 39% in the second — the maize and blue can clamp down and beat you defensively.

Purdue entered the game with the nation’s No. 28 offense, but shot 36% from the floor each half.

Painter says that being so versatile is what makes this Michigan team so dangerous. And given that it’s done it to Villanova, Providence, North Carolina and now Purdue, there’s a track record of doing it against quality competition.

“They’ve come so far, not just defensively, but more of a mindset,” Painter said. “They can have a grind it out type mindset, not only an outscore you type mindset. So they can outscore you, but they can also grind it out on you. So that’s an unbelievable kind of one-two punch to have as a team. They have both of those qualities.

“So sometimes, like last year, when we get to the grind-it-out games, we probably outscored people more than we grinded it out. Even though we can do it a little bit – these guys, I think, can do both. They can beat you in the 90s and they can beat you in the 60s. And I think they can do it against quality people. So, it just depends on how they’re flowing. Tonight, it looked a little bit better because they made their threes, but I also think they’re a little more open, too. But you can’t let Jordan Poole get five open looks.”

Second-year guard Jordan Poole was part of the dagger for Michigan against Purdue, leading all scorers with 21 points, going 8 of 9 from the field and 5 of 5 from three.

Michigan next will travel to Northwestern, where it will attempt to reverse its fortunes in Evanston, as the Wolverines have lost the last three to the Wildcats on their home court.

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