Michigan (14-7, 4-5) heads to West Lafayette on Saturday for a 1pm tip against the Boilermakers (16-4, 5-2). The game will be televised on CBS. Michigan comes in having lost 4 of 5. Purdue is riding a 5 game winning streak that includes back to back road wins at Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Purdue has three players averaging over 12 points per game; E’Twuan Moore 14.2, Robbie Hummel 12.9, and JaJuan Johnson 12.6. They are a tough team and will play very tough defensively.
Michigan is fresh of the disaster in Columbus. John Beilein has suspended Zack Novak for one game as a result of the elbowing. I have heard a wide range of opinions on what people think of that elbow. I know it looked bad but there are two sides to every story and so far we have only heard half the story. I would suggest to some that maybe they should wait before making hasty proclamations. By all accounts Zack Novak is a great young man who has been playing his heart and guts out for this team. I have heard analyst after analyst heap praise on Novak for the way he plays the game. One errant elbow doesn’t change that.
I think by now we all know what needs to happen for Michigan to win this game. They have to come out of the gates with more effort and intensity. They need more consistency on the three point shooting. They must avoid the turnovers that plagued them in Columbus. The one thing that I notice is Michigan wins when they are active defensively and creating turnovers which leads to transition points and momentum swings. In this recent skid that has really been missing. There were flashes of it in the second half against Ohio State.
The quick start that was launched by the UCLA and Duke wins has certainly raised the expectations for this team. An NCAA birth is still within reach. It was mentioned during the telecast of the Penn State game that Coach Beilein told the team water boils at 212 degrees and they needed to play at that level of intensity not 211 degrees but a steady 212 degrees.
Consider this: When heated to 212 degrees F the molecules which make up water are moving at a high enough speed that they overcome the air pressure above the water. As additional heat is added to liquid water at 212 degrees, the water begins to boil. As the water boils it is changing state from a liquid to a gas. In addition, during the boiling process the temperature remains the same (212 degrees F). There is no change in temperature during a change of state.
So what does that have to do with Michigan Basketball? What was Coach Beilein talking about? When a basketball team plays at 212 degrees the individuals which make up the team are moving at a high enough speed that they overcome good teams and win tough games. As additional heat is added to that team at 212 degrees, the team begins to gain momentum and confidence. As the team continues to boil it results in execution and people making plays. Can the Wolverines reach the boiling point against the Boilermakers? We saw them do it before. There is no reason they can’t do it again. Believe in what you are doing and you can beat anybody.