Just two days after reclaiming a share of the Big Ten lead with a convincing 16-point win over No. 13 Illinois, No. 3 Purdue turned in a dud on Thursday night in an 82-58 loss at Michigan. The outcome ends a six-game winning streak for the Boilermakers (21-4, 10-4 Big Ten) and gives Michigan’s NCAA Tournament resume a much-needed boost.
The outcome bumps Purdue from the projected No. 1 seed line in the projected NCAA Tournament field, according to CBS Sports Bracketology Expert Jerry Palm, with Kentucky jumping up to a No. 1 seed in the projected bracket. The stunning 24-point margin of defeat also marks an unusual type of defeat for the Boilermakers, whose previous three losses had come by a combined 10 points.
It’s just the second Quad 1 victory of the season for the Wolverines (13-9, 7-5), who not only entered the night outside Palm’s projected NCAA Tournament field, but were not even considered in the bubble.
Michigan got 22 points from sophomore big man Hunter Dickinson. The Wolverines entered ranked 13th in the conference in average made 3-pointers per game but made 12 of 21 in the contest. Dickinson hit a career-high four of them on six attempts to stretch the Purdue defense. The Boilermakers finished just 4 of 18 from beyond the arc.
The outcome leaves Wisconsin and Illinois tied atop the Big Ten standings at 10-3 each as the Badgers prepare to host Rutgers on Saturday and Illinois prepares to host Northwestern on Sunday. The Boilermakers will also be back in action Sunday against Maryland. Michigan will look to keep the momentum rolling with a rivalry showdown on Saturday.
The top teams in the updated Big Ten standings after Thursday’s games:
Here are three takeaways from Michigan’s victory vs. Purdue:
Purdue’s problematic defense
Purdue’s defense is a problem. That was true before Thursday’s blowout loss, but there is no denying it now. The Boilermakers ranked No. 101 in defensive efficiency according to KenPom.com as of late Thursday night. While their often spellbinding offense led by Jaden Ivey, Trevion Williams and Zach Edey is elite, the defense will hold this team back from reaching its national championship potential unless something changes.
There have been seasons under 17th-year coach Matt Painter when the Boilermakers have ranked among the nation’s better defense, so it is somewhere in the program’s DNA. Finding it may be the key to making the most of a gifted team.
Dickinson’s big game led the way, and the Wolverines also got 18 points from senior guard Eli Brooks. But the most encouraging aspect of the team’s performance was perhaps the play of freshmen Moussa Diabate and and Caleb Houstan. The pair of touted prospects combined for 29 points on 12 of 22 shooting.
Houston joined Dickinson in hitting 4 of 6 attempts from 3-point range, and Diabate’s 13 points in the first half helped set the tone for the game. If Michigan can get more consistent, efficient contributions from those two talented freshmen down the stretch, the Wolverines will win more big games.
Another top-10 team goes down
Saturday isn’t even here yet and it’s already been a crazy week in college basketball as Purdue became the sixth top-10 team to lose since Monday. Others to fall include No. 1 Auburn (Tuesday at Arkansas), No. 6 Houston (Wednesday at SMU), No. 7 Duke (Monday vs. Virginia), No. 8 Kansas (Monday at Texas) and No. 9 Texas Tech (Wednesday at Oklahoma).
Perhaps No. 2 Gonzaga, No. 4 Arizona, No. 5 Kentucky and No. 10 Baylor should be on upset alert this weekend. The Zags face what could be their toughest foe in the WCC with No. 22 Saint Mary’s on Saturday. Kentucky hosts Florida, Arizona travels to Washington and Baylor welcomes No. 20 Texas.
The top-10 teams should be fairly heavy favorites in each of those games. But this week has shown how parity abounds this season and how no one is safe from an upset bid.