Preview: Ohio State at #16 Purdue

By Corey Carpenter on February 27, 2009 at 7:00a
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Ohio State Buckeyes Ohio State 18-8, 8-7 Big Ten Roster | Schedule 4:00 PM ET - ESPN —— Mackey Arena West Lafayette, IN Purdue Boilermakers #16 Purdue 10-4, 21-6 Big Ten Roster | Schedule

Ohio State may have caught a scheduling break when they travel to Purdue on Saturday, as the Boilermakers will be playing their second game in less than 48 hours, after getting beat 87-78 at Michigan on Thursday night.

The Bucks took down the Robbie Hummel-less Boilermakers in their first meeting, 80-72 in overtime. Turner went off for 26, 12 and 7, while JaJuan Johnson scorched OSU's bigs for 30 points.

The Buckeyes have a chance to set the pace for fourth place in the conference. Minnesota lost last night, while Penn State and Wisconsin play their games later in the weekend.

#NamePTSREBASSTPOS#NamePTSREBASST
4 PJ Hill 2.5 1.4 1.6 G 23 Lewis Jackson 5.7 2.3 3.4
33 Jon Diebler 11.4 3.3 2.5 G 3 Chris Kramer 4.8 2.9 2.4
21 Evan Turner 16.7 7.3 3.7 F 33 E'Twaun Moore 14.0 4.8 2.9
44 William Buford 11.5 3.3 1.2 F 4 Robbie Hummel 11.9 6.9 2.1
52 Dallas Lauderdale 4.7 3.8 0.3 C 25 JaJuan Johnson 13.6 6.0 0.8

Opponent

Purdue's stats don't include their game against Michigan last night, I'm old and can't stay up that late. Matt Painter's crew is one of the best defensive teams in the country, holding conference opponents to just 60 points and 40 percent shooting. Their season total of 37.6 defensive FG percent ranks them 4th in the country, a stat they lead the country in before the first meeting, but OSU was able to connect on 60 percent in that game.

The Boilers come in scoring 65.6 points a game in league play, ranking them right behind OSU and MSU. They are second in B10 shooting at 46 percent, including a 36 clip from deep and 67 percent from the line.

The starting lineup may change from the chart above, with Keaton Grant possibly getting in over Jackson and the possibility of Hummel's back flaring up with the short turnaround. Nemania Calasan, a 6'9" senior was unable to go against Michigan due to an illness, so his status is questionable, but Marcus Green and Bobby Riddell will also see some action off the bench.

Purdue is going to be a tired, pissed off bunch, seeking revenge on the Bucks. They slipped into a tie for second with Illinois, after they allowed Manny Harris and Deshawn Sims to combine for 56 points last night. They still have to play at Michigan State in the finale, so back to back losses here could push them towards fourth.

Buckeye Breakdown:

I really like the line up change Simmons and Matta implemented against Penn State. PJ Hill is growing on me and his energy to start the game is just what Thad's young troops need. Simmons suggested the switch, so let's hope it is the jolt of energy required to carry this team into the NCAA tourney. You can't argue with a combined 27 points, on 10-17 shooting, but I'm a little concerned with the 3 assists.

It will be interesting to see if Matta makes the switch at center too. The fact that Lauderdale has morphed into Invisidale is disappointing, but I really think Thad tries to protect Mullens from picking up quick fouls, especially when you have the likes of Ed Hightower and Ted Valentine wearing the striped shirts. However, if Kyle Madsen can give the type of quality minutes he has shown in two of the last three, it is going to give Thad a couple more options.

Evan Turner was named 1 of 15 finalist for the Oscar Robertson trophy this week, given to the player of the year as chosen by the USBWA. Matta has showcased ET's versatility by moving him to the point in the closing minutes against Illinois and Penn State. The move could be dangerous with Turner's history of turnovers, but teams are going to double him, leaving Simmons and Turner open. Spreading the court and letting Evan create will open things up for him and the PG's.

Going into the season, I didn't chalk the trip to West Lafayette as a win and even though Purdue will have some tough circumstances, I still think they will pull out a close win, 65-61. The Buckeyes haven't played consistently in their last 2 road games, but the recent changes could be the catalyst for an upset. Ohio State had to win 3 of their last 4, so they can still take the games at Iowa and home against Northwestern if they fall here.

Etc

  • Hill has set a career high for points in his last two games (9 and 13).
  • Diebler has played 40 or more minutes in the last 7 games.
  • Ohio State is 18-1 this season and 112-5 under Matta when leading with 5 minutes left to play.
  • If you have HBO and have not seen Eastbound and Down, you are depriving yourself of some serious laughs.
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