Northwestern (17-10 overall, 5-9 Big Ten) travels to Ann Arbor on Wednesday to take on a Michigan (19-9, 9-6) team that is firmly on the NCAA Tournament bubble.
The Wildcats haven't played since last Tuesday, when they lost 71-61 to Purdue in West Lafayette. It was a game that was never really close, as the Boilermakers scored the first eight points and led from the tip until the final buzzer. Tre Demps and Bryant McIntosh combined for 30 points—and Alex Olah added 12—but no one else really contributed much in the losing effort. Purdue's A.J. Hammons (18 points and 12 rebounds) led the way for the Boilermakers, who dominated Northwestern with their remarkable size.
Michigan has lost its last two games, with the most recent defeat coming on Saturday afternoon at Maryland. The Wolverines have managed to stay afloat even without star senior guard Caris LeVert, who has been limited to just two Big Ten games this season due to a leg injury. Mark Donnal, who scored 25 points against Maryland, and Derrick Walton Jr. have shouldered much of the offensive burden in LeVert's absence.
It also should be noted that even without LeVert for much of the season, the Wolverines are still No. 19 in the country—per KenPom—in offensive efficiency which is partly due to them being No. 7 in effective field goal percentage. Michigan may be undermanned, but John Beilein's team can certainly score. A big part of its offensive efficiency is the fact that the Wolverines don't turn the ball over though. Their opponent steal percentage of 6.0 percent is tops in the nation.
If you're in search of preview content, we have you covered for Wednesday's game from all angles:
Is Northwestern's offense too predictable? Josh Rosenblat goes to the film to examine the Wildcats' less-than-stellar scoring attack.
Zach Pereles previews the matchup and notes how Northwestern needs to control the paint in order to pull off the upset.
WNUR Sports' Ben Goren and our Henry Bushnell and Josh Rosenblat were on Pound The Talk this week to discuss the game (as well as spring football).