Last season, Nik Stauskas was somewhat of a role player on a Michigan squad that reached the Final Four led by Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Mitch McGary. Now with Burke and Hardaway in the NBA and McGary (back) out indefinitely, Stauskas will look to continue his superb sophomore season Thursday when the 14th-ranked Wolverines host Purdue in search of their 10th straight victory. "He's the best player in the league," Boilermakers coach Matt Painter said to the Detroit Free Press. "He's No. 1 in our league in assist-to-turnover ratio in Big Ten play and that's a big-time stat for someone who's not the point guard." Michigan coach John Beilein told the media this week that if his team rebounds effectively against Purdue, the Wolverines should be able to defeat the Boilermakers, who lead the Big 10 in offensive boards. "Big emphasis on keeping them off the backboard," said Beilein, whose team has defeated three ranked opponents in the last two weeks. The Boilermakers, meanwhile, have lost back-to-back games amid some serious offensive issues and could struggle to reach 60 points against the surging Wolverines.TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPNABOUT PURDUE (13-7, 3-4 Big Ten): Painter knows that his team's offense must go through center A.J. Hammons, who has made just 4-of-17 shots over his last three games. "We always try to establish our big kid, no matter who we play, always trying to get into the paint whether we're driving or with the post feed, so I think that's important," Painter said earlier this week. Over the Boilermakers' last six games, their scoring output has dipped steadily from 79 to 70 to 66 to 65 to 60 and finally 58 in a 14-point loss to Wisconsin on Saturday.ABOUT MICHIGAN (15-4, 7-0): Stauskas is averaging a conference-best 18.5 points with terrific shooting percentages across the board - 50 percent from the field, 46.2 percent from 3-point range and 80 percent from the foul line. He has averaged 22.7 points over his last three games in wins against No. 13 Wisconsin, No. 12 Iowa and No. 6 Michigan State. The Wolverines continue to get solid play out of their center combination of Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford, who combined for 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in Saturday's 80-75 victory at Michigan State.TIP-INS1. Stauskas has 69 assists with only 27 turnovers this season, including nine straight games with at least four assists and no more than two turnovers.2. The Wolverines are 27-0 under Beilein when scoring at least 80 points.3. Four of Purdue's top five scorers, with the exception of Hammons (52.7) shoot below 43 percent from the field.PREDICTION: Michigan 68, Purdue 57