After rattling off all of the attributes that make Purdue the top-ranked team in the nation, Juwan Howard resorted to a plea for help.
“So if you have any answers on how to stop them, or help us offensively, please, I’m all ears,” Howard said, smiling.
While Howard’s plea came in jest, the point is nonetheless clear: Michigan will have its hands full Thursday night, when the Boilermakers come to Crisler Center. For the Wolverines to pull off the monumental upset, well, a lot will have to break their way.
That effort starts and ends with attempting to contain Zach Edey, Purdue’s 7-foot-4 fulcrum. Edey — coming off a 24-point, 16-rebound effort Sunday against Maryland — has cemented himself as one of the nation’s preeminent players, an unstoppable force in the paint.
On paper, Hunter Dickinson — at 7-foot-1 — stands a chance to at least slow down Edey, merely because of his size. Not many teams are afforded that opportunity. Still, Howard stressed that it won’t be a traditional one-on-one matchup, at least not on Michigan’s end.
“We’re not gonna focus on one guy guarding him because it’s very challenging,” Howard said. “Everyone will get an opportunity. Hopefully, Dug doesn’t get matched up on him, but I guarantee Dug will give him his best shot.”