|12:30 PM PT1:30 PM MT2:30 PM CT3:30 PM ET8:30 PM GMT4:30 PM 北京时间1:30 PM MST3:30 PM EST, Dec 1, 2018
Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan Attendance: 12,707
No. 7 Michigan, No. 19 Purdue get Big 10 play under way
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Heading into the start of conference play, expectations have certainly changed for Michigan's basketball team for when nonconference play started less than a month ago.
The Wolverines entered the season ranked No. 19 and not on the radar of many, despite coming off an appearance in the national title game last year.
Boy, things sure are different now.
Following seven wins to open the season by an average of 21.7 points per win, Michigan has quickly morphed into a Final Four contender and preseason favorite in the Big 10 as conference play begins.
The first challenger in the Big 10 for Michigan will be No. 19 Purdue, which visits Ann Arbor for a 3:30 p.m. tip on Saturday.
The most impressive of Michigan's blowout wins to start the season came on Wednesday, when the Wolverines routed No. 11 North Carolina at home, 84-67.
"It's just incredible to have this schedule here," Michigan head coach John Beilein said. "It was a good November. Each month, the schedule has more importance to it. There couldn't be a tougher opponent to play year in and year out over my time here than Purdue. They are just going to bring you the same thing every year. Everything they have with a great plan. A good mix of inside and outside and their guys just get better in the program every year."
Unlike Michigan, Purdue comes somewhat reeling following a heartbreaking 73-72 loss at No. 15 Florida State on Wednesday.
The Boilermakers are 5-2, but as of now are absent a signature win early in the season. Purdue has lost its two toughest games to Virginia Tech and Florida State, but a win against what might be the hottest team in the country would be a big feather in the cap early on for Purdue.
"We've got to be consistent," Purdue head coach Matt Painter told the Lafayette Journal & Courier after the Florida State loss. "It's a 40-minute game and we have to play better for 40 minutes. It's just maturity -- just being disciplined. It's not like the guys we're asking to do that haven't done it before."
The most intriguing matchup between Purdue and Michigan figures to be at the point guard position.
Purdue junior Carsen Edwards is one of the top scoring guards in the nation who is averaging 25.1 points a game thus far, but he will be matched up against one of the country's premier defenders, Michigan junior point guard Zavier Simpson.
Michigan as a team has been dogged defensively, allowing just 51.0 points per game. The Wolverines limited a high-octane North Carolina offense that entered Wednesday's game averaging 96.3 points a game, to just 67.
Purdue enters averaging 83.4 points a game and has gotten nice contributions thus far from senior guard Ryan Cline, who is averaging 15.3 points a game.
Defensively, Purdue will have to figure out how to slow down Michigan's top-scoring duo of freshman Ignas Brazdeikis and senior Charles Matthews.
Brazdeikis has been a breakout star so far this season, averaging 16.9 points a game. Matthews is averaging 15.4 points a game and like Simpson, has also played lockdown defense.
Purdue swept the regular-season series last year by winning two close games, but Michigan earned payback with a lopsided win in the championship game of the Big 10 tournament.
Updated December 1, 2018