|Ohio State 17-12, 8-8 Big Ten Roster | Schedule||March 4, 2008 7:00 PM ET - ESPN —— The Schott Columbus, OH||#15 Purdue 23-6, 14-2 Big Ten Roster | Schedule|
OPPONENT: Purdue sits atop the Big Ten standings at 14-2, with their only blemishes being at MSU and Indiana. However, Purdue is getting no love from the national voters ranking seven spots behind Wisconsin, a team they have beaten twice.
Matt Painter is coming into his own at Purdue and should get votes for National Coach of the year, this team is young and shouldn't have any defections to the NBA, so the view from atop might be a yearly occurrence.
The Boilers rank second in points allowed (59.9) and rank third in conference scoring at 67.8 per game. They lead the Big Ten in three's made per game at 8.3 and shoot over 39 percent from downtown, which also leads the league. Surprisingly, Purdue ranks eighth in overall shooting at 42.3 percent and carries a -2.5 rebounding margin into tonight's game, but I'm sure those stats won't hold true tonight. Throw in the fact Purdue shoots over 71 percent from the line and the makings of a blue print loss are forming.
KEY PLAYERS: Purdue doesn't have a single player who averages over 30 minutes a game on the season and their only senior, Terrance Crump, sees the least amount of floor time amongst the regulars. E'Twuan Moore and Robbie Hummel lead this team with 14.1 and 13.2 points, respectively and both are freshmen.
Moore is also second in rebounds and assists, while Hummel leads the team in rebounds and is third in helpers. They get scoring help from Keaton Grant, who chips in with over 11 points a game within conference play. Grant is a 6'4" sophomore who is making 91 percent of his free throws during league play.
Perhaps the heart and soul of this team is Chris Kramer, a 6'3" sophomore who leads this team in steals and assists. Kramer helps out with 6.5 points per game, but has hit only 4 of 20 threeballs within the conference. You might remember Marcus Green, the career 4 point a game shooter, who lit up OSU for 22 points in the first meeting. While he is still a key member, he has scored in double digits only two other times (all season) and averages 5.6 points in league games.
NOTES: Purdue leads the all time series 79-78... Purdue is 28-8 in their last 36 games... Matt Painter's squad went undefeated at home in conference play for the first time since 1987-88... The Boilermakers have only been ranked the last four weeks (23,15,19,15)...
BUCKEYE BREAKDOWN: OSU has lost four straight and perhaps their tournament dreams. This team has not resembled Thad's teams in the past and playing the role of spoilers is not what he is accustomed to. It seems this team has been worse in recent weeks and the Minnesota game was the epitome of it all, let's see where this senior leadership leads them tonight.
Oddly enough, OSU ranks third in the conference with 44.9 percent shooting, but rank tenth in 3point shooting at 31.3 percent. These two stats are a microcosm of this season. Ohio State shoots 53 percent from inside the arc, but never consistently shoots from there, especially in critical situations.
Unless we see a miracle, this team is staring down a NIT invitation and I am interested to see how the sophomore and freshmen respond. As 11W readers pointed out after Minnesota, Thad's team will be deep next year and he should be able to return to his man to man roots and up tempo play. However, a killer instinct must be developed amongst next year's leaders and the next 2-4 weeks could shed some light on which players are prepared to step up.
KEY PLAYERS: I unfortunately am not in the boat that believes Koufos is coming back. He has scored double figures in 12 straight games, taking 10 or more shots in the last seven. While Buckeye Nation is very familiar with Koufos's soft side, NBA officials having to be drooling over a 7 footer who not only makes three's, but also hits free throws at a 73 percent clip. Would you turn down millions of dollars in back to back summers? I know I would have the local Escalade dealer on speed dial.
Do you remember Randolph Childress and his heroics in the 1995 ACC tournament? The senior exploded for 36 points and 7 assists a game and the Deamon Deacons rode him to the conference title. That is what Jamar Butler is going to do, you heard it hear first. Somehow, Butler is going to put everything behind him, get his legs back, lead this team to the tourney and ride off into the sunset. Butler has just been too good his entire career to go out like he has lately. He has now made 8 of his last 33 three point attempts, it turns around tonight.
Diebler finished 9 of 40 from long range on the road in league play, Lighty finished 4 of 21. Diebler has attempted only 3 shots inside the arc in the last six games, Lighty has only 11 free throw attempts in his last 9 games. The mid range jumper should be there for both of these guys, let's hope they use it over the next few games.
NOTES: Tonight is an organized gray-out... Ohio State still rank seventh nationally in FG defense (38.2) and first with fewest fouls per game (14.2)... OSU has not won since Butler and the Wiggler tied the career wins mark...