|Ohio State 12-3, 3-0 Big Ten Roster | Schedule||January 12, 2008 4:00 PM ET ------ Mackey Arena West Lafayette, Ind.||Purdue 11-5, 1-2 Big Ten Roster | Schedule|
Purdue's noticeable win came against Louisville in December and they lost close games to Clemson, Iowa State, Missouri and Michigan St. They run nine players and will be much scrappier than Iowa was on Wednesday night.
Purdue is one of the worst shooting teams in the conference at 42.5 percent from the field and 33.5 percent from beyond the arc. They average 69.5 points a game, but surprisingly rank dead last in assists at 12.3 a game. Some of the points come off their 8.4 steals, 4.6 blocks or +4.4 turnover margin per game, but that positive TO margin can't create a positive assists/turnover margin.
Purdue's record ranks seventh overall in the conference and that is where they hover in most statistical categories, but three of Purdue's top freshmen played AAU ball together, so their learning curve might be shorter than most and Ohio State needs to be ready. In the end though, I expect their youth to become a factor against Ohio State's defense and they also don't have Jamar Butler.
Key Players: Scott Martin (#14 6'8" Fr.), Robbie Hummel (#4 6'8" Fr.) and E'Twaun Moore (#33 6'3" Fr.) are three of Purdue's leading scorers and were the high schoolers who played AAU together. Martin leads the team with 10.5 points a game, but only shoots 37.5 percent from the floor. He will shoot outside, but prefers the free throw line, where he has made 51 of 69 attempts thus far. He also ranks second on the team with just over 4 rebounds per game.
Hummel (absent @ MSU due to flu) leads the team in FG and free throw percentage at 50.6 and 84.3 respectively, which has lead to just over 10 point a contest. He also leads this team in rebounds (6.1) and assists (2.6). Moore scores 9.7 a game, but shoots only 39 percent from the floor and 41 percent from deep.
Keaton Grant (#5 6'4" So.) also averages in double digits at 10.4 and his "veteran" leadership paces the Boilermakers in 3point FG shooting at 45.6 percent. Chris Kramer (#3 6'3" So.) was voted to the all-defensive team last year after finishing second in steals within the conference. This year is no different as he comes in leading Purdue with 1.6 steals a game and chips in with 8 points.
Nemanja Calason (#21 6'9" Jr.), JaJuan Johnson (#25 6'10 Fr.) and Tarrance Crump (#12 6'1" Sr.) will see the most significant time off the bench. They have all been able to score between 6-8 points a game and will combine to grab almost 9 rebounds.
Notes: This game is sold out, meaning 14,123 shattered dreams... This is the 150th meeting, with Purdue leading 57-52... Matt Painter is 41-36 in his 3rd season.
Buckeye Breakdown: Ohio State is fresh off their 79-48 throttling of Iowa on Wednesday night, as this team continues their rise of self confidence and unselfish play. The current 19 game conference win streak is the second longest in school history, trailing only the 27 game streak of the early 60's.
Iowa was Ohio State's 11th opponent to shoot under 40%, connecting on only 33.9 percent of their field goal attempts, including a clanking 2-18 deep balls in the second half. Ohio State has to be one of the better teams nationally at forcing opponents to start their offense with 25 seconds on the shot clock and 30 feet from the hoop. Thad's defensive strategy this year has been brilliant as Ohio State leads the conference in defensive FG percentage at 36.8, including 27.9 from down town.
Ohio State will also look for their 8th straight road victory and 30th win in their last 33 games inside the conference. All 13 players saw action Tuesday and 8 of them scored at least 6 points. Ohio State continues to raise their shooting statistics, as they have shot over 45% in each of their last four games.
Key Players: David Lighty scored double figures against Iowa for the first time in his last 4 games and he needs to continue his shooting touch against Purdue, as Ohio State needs his points this week at Michigan St. and Tennessee. Ohio State is also 8-0 with Evan Turner is in the starting line up and Evan has scored double digits in four of those games. He has seen his scoring average rise to 6.9 points a game.
It was good to see Thad open up his bench Tuesday night. I have been an Eric Wallace fan since the first time I watched him jump. His skills are still raw, but he played hard that second half and came away with a career high 10 points and 8 rebounds. If Wallace learns to shoot of the dribble, he could instantly add 10 points a game next year.
Jamar Butler is simply amazing, recording 38 assists over the last four games and really helping install the unselfish play recently.
Notes: Ohio State beat Purdue three times last year and 8 straight overall... Eric Wallace and Mark Titus lead the nation in 3point FG percentage... Ohio State's three losses are still ranked #1 (UNC), #10 (Texas A&M) and #14 (Butler)