Feb 23, 2014; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines guard Caris LeVert (23) celebrates his three point shot in the second half against the Michigan State Spartans at Crisler Arena. Michigan 79-70. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan Basketball: Michigan at Purdue -- Preview

GBMWolverine Basketball TidbitsPosted at 4:00pm — 2/26/2014

Michigan Basketball: Michigan at Purdue — Preview

Traps, As Bad as a Gauntlet? Can Michigan Hang On?

The Siberian Traps eruptions took out most of the life on Earth as the splendid Paleozoic Era slammed to a halt. So, we all got as a result dinosaurs, birds, and mammals. Goodbye, trilobites, and hello the little, nasty shrew.

Today, Michigan plays the first of four trap games in a quest to win the Big Ten regular season basketball title. The task is far from easy, but the reward, a win, would be great. Purdue is playing better than three weeks ago. The reasons are for debate, but one factor that cannot be discounted is hard play. Purdue always has hard play. At home Purdue feeds off of big runs spurred by an upbeat, emotional, basketball-hungry home crowd. Last week, Indiana got kicked all over the floor in the second half resulting in a clear Boiler victory. Indiana became disjointed.

Michigan may need more focus going down the stretch run of trap games than during the two notable gauntlets within the league schedule. Purdue has nothing to lose, the Boilers are playing better, the game is at home, and the team should play with lots of energy.

Feb 23, 2014; Lincoln, NE, USA; Purdue Boilermakers head coach Matt Painter watches the game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the first half at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan has the big, not-so-blue bulls-eye painted in totality all over those pretty uniforms. The stretch run will come down to execution, poise, and mental toughness, as much or more than pure talent. One can bet the farm that Coach Beilein and his staff have preached on high what has been presented in this article to the team. It will now be up to the team to get it done. There are no secrets; each team in the league is well acquainted with each nemesis. There is no time for major shifts in philosophy or game planning, the two or three days between games provides time for putting in the basics needed for each individual opponent.

Purdue will start the assault with the Johnson Brothers, Terone and Ronnie. The worst thing Michigan can do is let the Purdue outside game, read Terone Johnson and the other perimeter shooters, waltz down the floor and take softly defended shots. Purdue will drive the ball against Michigan, as do all teams with good guards. A. J. Hammons could be a handful inside, and Michigan may have to spread out some fouls just like against MSU.

In the first game at Crisler, Purdue hit some cold streaks, more by just missing shots than good defense. Michigan must play as intensely as in the big wins this season. Purdue shoots better at home, so beware.

Feb 23, 2014; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines forward Jon Horford (15) blocks a shot by Michigan State Spartans forward Adreian Payne (5) in the second half at Crisler Arena. Michigan 79-70. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Upper class leadership is not of quantity, but there is quality. There will be times in this stretch that the pressure mounts and the focus wanes. It will be the task of the leaders and the coaches to put aside any fear, any doubts, any confusion, and just play; play hard, play well. Standing around, getting caught in bad spots with excessive dribbling, and giving up too early on the offense needs to improve. The great turnover ratio needs to remain.

Sounds simply, yes it does. But the aggressive nature of the Wolverines must ascend if this title is to become a reality. There really are miles to go, and no time to sleep on the court in important moments.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu

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