The Big Ten only has one game on Friday, but it’s a huge one with Michigan going on the road to face off against Purdue. This not only projects as one of Michigan’s toughest remaining games of the year, but will put first place in the Big Ten on the line.
Let’s take a look at the schedule.
Game of the Day:
-No. 7 Michigan Wolverines at Purdue Boilermakers
- Time/TV: 7:00PM ET (FS1)
- KenPom Spread: Michigan by 3
A month or two ago, this looked like a relatively average game on the slate. Michigan and Purdue looked like middle-tier Big Ten teams who might have to sweat out the final weeks of the regular season to make the NCAA Tournament.
However, with Michigan’s fast start and Purdue’s recent rise, this game suddenly has renewed importance nationally and in the Big Ten regular season title race. Michigan leads the conference standings by a full game as of Friday morning, but there’s plenty of competition close behind. Iowa and Wisconsin are just one game back and Illinois and Purdue are only a game behind two those. This is all to say that Friday’s game will almost certainly have a big impact on where things sit moving forward.
For Michigan, this game also offers an opportunity to get the team’s best road win over the season. The Wolverines have beaten Maryland and Nebraska away from home, but fell in embarrassing fashion to Minnesota on the road last Saturday. A win could also set up quite a run for Michigan in the coming weeks with what projects as a pretty manageable schedule moving forward:
Michigan’s Next Five Games (KenPom Odds To Win):
- 1/22 - at Purdue (60%)
- 1/30 - Indiana (73%)
- 2/3 - at Northwestern (77%)
- 2/6 - Michigan State (80%)
- 2/11 - Illinois (63%)
None of those are anything close to guarantees, but it wouldn’t exactly be a stretch for Michigan to go 3-1 or 4-0 in the games following Friday night. And if so, Michigan could set itself up really well for a high seed in March. Of course, the only thing standing between it and that slate is Friday night’s battle against Purdue.
On the other side, this is a great opportunity for the Boilermakers to build off the team’s recent four-game winning streak and rise up the Big Ten standings. Some of those wins came in dramatic fashion, but the team is finding a way to get it done. A win on Friday would unequivocally establish Purdue as a conference title contender.
The matchup to watch here will be upfront. Who wins the battle between Hunter Dickinson and Trevion Williams? Moreover, can Purdue’s guards avoid the turnovers that have plagued other teams against the Wolverines when feeding it inside? Expect a tough and physical battle down low.
- Pick Against The Spread: Purdue
Record Against The Spread: 18-12-2