For the first time since a triumphant run through the Battle 4 Atlantis, the Wolverines have their backs against the wall. That early tournament run provided plenty of schedule capital, but the pressure is back on Juwan Howard’s team after losing four of their last five games against high-major foes.
Michigan still doesn’t have a bad loss — it was only favored in one defeat — but it would feel a lot better about itself if it could pick up a critical win tonight. The Wolverines welcome Purdue to the Crisler Center (7:00 p.m., FS1), a team that might be just as hungry for a win to rescue a season teetering on the brink.
Over the last two and a half seasons, Michigan has lost three games at home, to Purdue, Michigan State and Oregon. Purdue’s roster has been recycled almost entirely since, only Nojel Eastern saw the floor in that win, but Matt Painter has a program that is capable of defending at the highest level. That’s a scary proposition for a Wolverine team searching for confidence and battling injuries.