On Thursday night, we got an up close and personal look at the Michigan vs Purdue game in Mackey Arena. Purdue defeated Michigan 92-88 in a game that saw both teams shoot over 60% from the field. The offenses were operating at full capacity. Purdue senior Vince Edwards after the game said, "Basketball is a game of runs." Well, this one was one huge run from the tip. The Boilers were able to pull out the win because they were able to slow down the Wolverines during a late game stretch of 6 possessions.
What makes a #1 seed? A balanced scoring attack, solid defense and senior leadership. A #1 seed can win games when one aspect of their game is off for a night. Thursday night the Boilermaker defense struggled, but it did not affect their offense. "It's a sign of maturity when your team doesn't allow defensive struggles to affect them on the offensive end," Matt Painter said in a rather happy post game interview.
Purdue can score in many ways. Led by Vince Edwards' career high 30 points, the Boilers were tough to guard. Michigan came into the game wanting to shut down Purdue's perimeter game. However, there is Isaac Haas to deal with in the post. Haas added 24 points to the winning effort last night. Coach Beilein of Michigan said, "It's hard to guard a team with 5 pure shooters and that Big inside." The balanced attack poses fits for Purdue's opponents.
Defense. Purdue had one of its toughest defensive games of the season. Credit John Beilein, a class man and coach. Painter on Beilein, "I always learn something when playing a Beilein coached team, just don't want it to happen in a loss." Despite the excellent Michigan offense, Purdue was able to find enough stops in the last 7 minutes to win the game. This team can guard and guard well.
In a day of early entrants and transfers, Purdue is blessed with a senior laden team that has spent a lot of time on campus working toward this season. It shows on the floor, and it shows when you get a chance to listen in the press room. Vince Edwards and Isaac Haas both talked about the game in a team fashion, by answering personal questions in a mature way. "This is why you come to a BIG 10 campus, to play for a school with a great atmosphere," stated Vince Edwards. Haas added, "I believe we are the best team in the nation." This type of leadership is hard to come by in today's NCAA. Purdue has it!
Scoring, defense, senior leadership - Purdue has all three. We at Delphi Bracketology rank the teams on data and stats. The eye test is not something we use a lot. Thursday night, however, we learned what a number 1 seed looked like. Still work to do, things can change, but right now the Purdue Boilermakers may just be what Isaac Haas believes. The best team in the nation.