Posted February 24, 2012 on
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While helping transform Michigan into a Big Ten title contender in his fifth season as coach, John Beilein has the program on the verge of finishing unbeaten at home for the first time in 35 years.
Only one potentially desperate team stands in the way.
The 11th-ranked Wolverines look to keep pace in the chase for the regular-season conference title Saturday when it hosts Purdue, which seeks a signature victory to bolster its NCAA tournament resume.
Michigan fought off another opponent seeking a similar victory to post its fourth straight win Tuesday. The Wolverines' hopes for their first Big Ten regular-season championship since 1986 would have taken a big blow with a loss at Northwestern, and they trailed by seven at halftime before going on to win 67-55 in overtime.
Freshman Trey Burke finished with a game-high 19 points. Burke, Zack Novak and Stu Douglass opened overtime with back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers, and Michigan's 38 3-point attempts were its most since hoisting 40 in an overtime win at Indiana on Jan. 7, 2009.
"We have good enough shooters that we were going to make those shots eventually," said Beilein, whose squad made 14 from long range.
The Wolverines (21-7, 11-4) enter Saturday tied for second place in the Big Ten with No. 8 Ohio State, one game behind sixth-ranked Michigan State.
Douglass said a conference title would mean a great deal, especially to him and Novak - the only two seniors in Michigan's regular rotation.
"We've been through so much and seen so much. We have the same chip on our shoulder, and people have the same doubts about both of us," Douglass told the Wolverines' official website. "Just to bring this program along like we both have, to see where it's gone from our freshman year through the last four years; we're both really proud of it."
Douglass and Novak will be honored for Senior Night on Saturday as Michigan closes its home schedule. The Wolverines have won all 15 of their home games, most recently defeating the Buckeyes 56-51 last Saturday, and are looking to give the program its first perfect home record since going 14-0 in 1976-77.
"We know they're undefeated at home," Purdue's Lewis Jackson said. "We're still looking for that big-time, resume-(building) win, so why not be the team to go up there and give them their first loss for our resume?"
A win could go a long way to securing an NCAA tournament bid for the Boilermakers, who are 0-7 against Top 25 teams.
Purdue (18-10, 8-7) has won three of four after beating Nebraska 83-65 at home on Wednesday.
"I think we're clicking at the right time," said Robbie Hummel, who scored a season-high 29 points and is averaging 24.8 over his last four games.
"The team is really coming together. It's a thing where you don't want to peak too early, but we're peaking at the right time, and hopefully we can carry that into these last few games, into the Big Ten tournament and hopefully the NCAA tournament."
Hummel scored 16 points but missed a potential go-ahead 3-pointer with 12 seconds remaining in a 66-64 home loss to Michigan on Jan. 24. Jackson led Purdue with 17 points.
Burke scored a game-high 19 in that game, only Michigan's third win in the past 10 meetings.
Purdue has won two of the last three in Ann Arbor.
BEST OF MAXIM
Despite growing up in the basketball hotbed state of Indiana, neither Stu Douglass nor Zack Novak received a scholarship offer from any Big Ten school other than Michigan.
Douglass was ranked merely as a two-star prospect by Scout.com. Novak wasn't even ranked that high.
But here they are, about to play in their final home game for the Wolverines Saturday night against Purdue...
Both of Michigan’s senior captains, Zack Novak and Stu Douglass, will be honored during their final home game on Saturday evening. In honor of both careers, we take a look back at some of the most memorable photographs, videos and moments throughout their journeys from high school to the present. Full gallery after the jump.
Despite contending for the Big Ten title, Michigan is not loaded with potential conference award winners. The most likely candidate is Trey Burke, who has become No. 11 U-M's everyman as a freshman and is battling Indiana's Cody Zeller for Big Ten freshman of the year. Burke is the most reliable player. Even during his off shooting nights, he finds a way to impact the game.
Zack Novak, Stu Douglass and Trey Burke all met with the media after Michigan’s disappointing home loss on senior night. Watch the interviews in the embedded media players below.
Novak and Burke after the jump.
Both of Michigan’s senior captains, Zack Novak and Stu Douglass, will be honored during their final home game on Saturday evening. In honor of both careers, we take a look back at some of the most memorable photographs, videos and moments throughout their journeys from high school to the present. Full gallery after the jump. Stu Douglass gallery here.
Corey Person, Zack Novak and Stu Douglass met with the media this afternoon to discuss their feelings on their final home game at Michigan. Watch the videos in the embedded media players below:
Novak and Douglass after the jump.
The Detroit News
College basketball : MICHIGAN NOTEBOOK
Evanston, Ill. - With Tuesday's overtime win against Northwestern, Michigan has clinched a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament and can focus on finishing the season with momentum and improving its seeding in the NCAA Tournament.
And challenging for the regular-season conference title.
Although U-M (21-7, 11-4 Big...
One month ago, Michigan was still looking for its first conference road win of the season. The Wolverines had just lost by two at Arkansas, and a tough road trip to West Lafayette was just three days away.
The Maize and Blue played another two-point game against the Boilermakers, but this time they came out on top. Since that win at Mackey Arena, Michigan’s only losses have come...
Sean O’Mara is a 6-foot-8, 210-pound center out of Benet Academy in Lisle, Illinois. The sophomore has become a rather hot commodity in recent months and has already visited several big name schools, including Wisconsin, Northwestern, Purdue and Michigan. As it stands now, O’Mara said that Michigan is number one on his list although he still has plenty of time until he makes...
The end is coming. And for one of the most focused basketball coaches in the country, emotions are creeping in. Michigan senior guards Zack Novak and Stu Douglass, who have combined to start 185 games over the past four seasons, will play their final home game at 6 tonight against Purdue at Crisler Center.
Michigan entered Saturday on the verge of a landmark program night. A perfect home season, a chance to give impact seniors Zack Novak and Stu Douglass a dramatic Senior Night and sustaining momentum in the Big Ten title race all laid out for the Wolverines.
Who: Purdue (18-10, 8-7) at No. 13 Michigan (21-7, 11-4 B10)
Where: Crisler Center (Ann Arbor, MI)
When: 6:00 p.m. ET, Saturday, February 24th, 2012
TV: BTN / BTN2Go
Radio: MGoBlue, 950AM, 102.9 FM, Sirius/XM 91
With 258 games and 185 starts between them, Zack Novak and Stu Douglass will take the Crisler Center floor for the final time on Saturday...
Photos: Dustin Johnston
Michigan takes on Purdue this evening in its final home game of the 2011-12 season. The Wolverines look to remain perfect at home and keep their Big Ten championship hopes alive. Students are on spring break but the game is sold out and Michigan’s seniors will be honored before tip-off at 5:43 p.m.. Gus Johnson and Jim Jackson have the call on the Big...