It appeared as though Michigan’s chances for a Big Ten championship were dashed last week when the Wolverines lost to lowly Penn State, but Sunday’s win over Michigan State couple with Indiana’s loss to Ohio State has given Big Blue new life.
The road wouldn’t be easy — they needed to win on the road at Purdue then at home versus Indiana — but they entered Wednesday night’s game with their conference destiny resting in their own hands. It wouldn’t be an outright championship — the Indiana Hoosiers have already clinched their own share — but they would lay claim to a banner nonetheless. In fact, as many as four Big Ten teams — Indiana, Michigan Ohio State, and either Michigan State or Wisconsin (depending on the upcoming head-to-head winner) — could share the league championship.
But in order for those scenarios to have a chance at playing out, Michigan needed to hit the road and find a win — not an easy task in the Big Ten as Michigan has discovered — against the Purdue Boilermakers.
The Wolverines jumped out to a nice start. A basket by Glenn Robinson III with 10:25 to play in the first half gave them a 19-7 lead, but Purdue was able to use the remainder of the half to go on their own 27-11 run (thanks to some nice three point shooting) to take a 34-30 halftime lead.
The second half began with more of the same as Purdue built their lead up to 12 — 52-40 — with just over eleven minutes left to play in the game. Michigan, however, would turn the offense up to “11″ to close out the game, scoring 40 points — 21 of them by Trey Burke — in the final 11:07 to pull out the 80-75 victory.
Burke lead Michigan in scoring with 26 points, Nick Stauskas added 17, and Tim Hardaway Jr. chipped in 16. Purdue’s Terone Johnson lead all scorers with a game-high 32 points.
Michigan hosts Indiana on Sunday at 4 PM ET in what will be a de facto championship game. If the Hoosiers win, they’ll own the Big Ten title outright. If Michigan wins, they’ll share the crown.