Preview: Ohio State vs. #23 Purdue

By Corey Carpenter on March 15, 2009 at 10:18a
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Evan Turner, the real B10 POYB10 Turner-ment MVP? So far, so good. (AP:Darron Cummings)
Ohio State Buckeyes Ohio State 22-9, 12-8 Big Ten Roster | Schedule 3:30 PM ET - CBS —— Conseco Fieldhouse Indianapolis, IN Purdue Boilermakers #24 Purdue 24-9, 13-7 Big Ten Roster | Schedule

For the third time in four years, the Buckeyes will play for the Big Ten Tournament title. They were successful capturing the crown 2 years ago, but lost to Iowa 3 years ago.

Everyone expected Purdue in this position before the season started and even tough they stumbled down the stretch a little, they still have one of the most talented teams in the conference now that Hummel is back healthy.

Purdue hasn't been to the title game since 1998, a feat Ohio State has pulled off 5 times in that span. The game will be played about 45 minutes from the Purdue campus, so a partisan crowd is to be expected.

#NamePTSREBASSTPOS#NamePTSREBASST
4 PJ Hill 3.1 1.4 1.7 G 23 Lewis Jackson 5.8 2.4 3.4
33 Jon Diebler 11.3 3.5 2.5 G 3 Chris Kramer 5.1 2.8 2.5
21 Evan Turner 16.9 6.9 3.9 F 33 E'Twuan Moore 13.8 4.8 3.1
44 William Buford 11.2 3.7 1.1 F 4 Robbie Hummel 12.8 6.8 1.9
52 Dallas Lauderdale 4.6 3.5 0.2 C 25 JuJuan Johnson 13.1 5.7 0.7

Opponent

Purdue has been a tricky team to figure out lately. They thrashed the Buckeyes by 25 just a couple of weeks ago, but then lost to Northwestern and MSU to close out the season. They have easily won their first two games of the tourney, taking down Penn State by 14 and building a 20 point halftime lead on Illinois, before beating them by 10. In those games, Purdue has hit 19 threes and committed just 10 turnovers.

The Boilermakers come in scoring 65.7 points a game, on 45 percent shooting overall and 35 percent from deep. Matt Painter will rotate up to 8 guys today, with Keaton Grant and Marcus Green leading the way off the bench.

Robbie Hummel seems to be feeling much better these days and with him healthy, this is a different Purdue team. Hummel is battling Evan Turner for the tourney MVP, going for 39 points and 17 boards thus far. JaJuan Johnson had a quiet first round game, but he went for 20 yesterday and if you've forgotten, he torched OSU for 30 points in Cbus and 12 at Purdue.

Buckeye Breakdown:

It's been a great weekend hasn't it? This is the Ohio State team we have expected from the beginning, playing with intensity, rebounding consistently, driving to the lane and covering up the 3-point shooter. Every single player has stepped up their game this weekend and you can bet that 25 point loss to Purdue is still fresh in their minds, especially since they gave up in the 2nd half after numerous calls were missed.

Again, all of us know what the Buckeyes need to do in order to bring home their 2nd title in 3 years, so I want to take a moment to point out another spectacular coaching job by Thad Matta. For me personally, I don't know how anyone can question this guy's recruiting philosophy or his coaching. In the last 4 seasons, OSU has played in 8 different tournaments (B10, NIT, Pre-season NIT, NCAA), going to the finals 6 times and winning 3 of them. This will be Thad's 6th conference tournament final in his 9 years as a head coach, he is 4-1 in his previous 5 title games.

In the last 2 years, he has lost 5 players that should be in his current rotation; Eric Wallace, Kosta Koufos, David Lighty, Nicola Kecman and Nappy Crater, but yet her we are, playing for another title. Thad is 127-44 at OSU, only 7 NCAA teams have a better record over the last 3 years and his teams are 113-5 when leading with 5:00 left in the game. In time, I hope all Buckeye fans appreciate what he has done for Ohio State hoops, as I have said before, the year before he arrived OSU was 13-16.

I'm sticking with no predictions this weekend, it has worked thus far, but for what it's worth I still have that gut feeling Evan Turner is not going to let OSU lose and will be named B10 Turnerment MVP.

Etc

  • This is the first time a 5 seed has reached the B10 finals.
  • Ohio State's 82 points yesterday was the first time any team has scored 80+ points in the B10 tournament, since Indiana beat OSU 84-69 in the 2004 first round.
  • Jim Nantz and Clark Kellog will call the game again for CBS and don't be surprised to see Ed Hightower in the striped shirt.
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