ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Purdue leads the Big Ten in offensive rebounds, which has the full attention of Michigan coach John Beilein.
“(They) are averaging 15 offensive rebounds a game,” Beilein said. “That has been a difficult thing for us to stop at times this year. There is a big emphasis of got to keep them off the back board.”
No. 10 Michigan (15-4, 7-0 Big Ten) is riding a nine game winning streak, three straight wins versus top-ten teams and are currently sitting atop the Big Ten standings. And while they have been led by Nik Stauskas’ 18.5 points per game, who is also the current Big Ten player of the week, it’s the Wolverines ability to rebound in key wins versus Iowa and at Michigan State that has led to their success.
And if the Wolverines are going to have success versus Boilermakers, they better win their fair share of the rebounds says Beilein.
“Purdue leads the league in offensive rebounding,” Beilein said. “This is how they are getting their extra possessions. So we really got to get a body on people. It’s the ones below the rim we got to get to. We’ve been pretty good at that.”
Purdue (13-7, 3-4) is led by sophomore center A.J. Hmmons 6.8 rebounds and Big Ten best 3.3 blocks per game.
Michigan counters with fifth-year senior center Jordan Morgan, who is averaging 5.1 rebounds in Big Ten play. Junior center Jon Horford leads the Wolverines with 5.4 rebounds in Big Ten play.
Morgan and Horford’s combinded rebounding effort has been huge part of the Wolverines success in conference play. And more will be needed if U-M wants to continue their winning ways says Beilein.
“We can’t stop because these games are all going to be so tight,” Beilein said. “It could be that one rebound that you didn’t box out or didn’t grab the ball with two hands in a 50-50 makes a difference.”
Tip-off is scheduled at 9 p.m. on ESPN.