Preview: #6 Purdue vs #3 Ohio State

By Corey Carpenter on March 9, 2012 at 1:00p
Robbie Hummel is trying to win his second title.The last holdover from the Keady era.
Ohio State Buckeyes #7 Ohio State 25-6, 13-5 Big Ten Roster | Schedule 8:55 PM ET - BTN —— Bankers Life Fieldhouse Indianapolis, IN Purdue Boilermakers Purdue 21-11, 10-8 Big Ten Roster | Schedule

After a thrilling victory in East Lansing Sunday to capture their third straight B1G title, the Buckeyes look to accomplish the same feat in Indianapolis this weekend. Winners of six straight and 13 of their last 16 in the tournament, Thad's squad enters as the three seed for the first time. 

The matchup pits two teams who met only once this year and went down different paths after the Ohio State 87-84 home win. Since that game on Feb. 7, the Boilermakers have played their way into the NCAA Tourney by winning six of eight, with the only losses coming to MSU and Indiana, both by double digits.

Meanwhile, the Buckeyes fought through a stretch where they lost three of five, but battled last week for two road wins. Willie B hit the game winner Sunday and had a career high 29 against the Boilers the first time around. We've all been saying for weeks, this team goes as far as he takes them, so here's hoping for a Randolph Childress type tourney in his final go round.

4 A. Craft SO 6-2/190 8.6 3.0 4.5 G 23 L. Jackson SR 5-9/165 10.5 3.2 4.2
32 L. Smith, Jr. SO 6-4/205 6.0 4.6 2.1 G 0 T. Johnson SO 6-2/207 8.4 3.2 1.8
44 W. Buford SR 6-6/220 15.1 4.9 2.9 F 21 R. Smith SR 6-3/189 9.4 2.6 1.2
1 D. Thomas SO 6-7/225 15.1 4.9 0.9 F 4 R. Hummel SR 6-8/215 16.8 7.0 2.0
0 J. Sullinger SO 6-9/265 16.9 9.3 1.2 C 50 T. Carrol SO 6-9/231 2.6 3.0 0.5


Purdue easily took down Nebraska yesterday, 79-61, lead by Anthony Johnson's career high 17 off the bench and Terone Johnson's 16 points, six boards and six dimes. Hummel had a quiet day, going for 10 points on 3/7 shooting, while Ryan Smith hit five from behind the arc, accounting for all 15 of his points. The Boilers were scorching from deep, connecting on 13/25 and were 28/50 overall.

The first matchup between these two schools was one of the more entertaining games of the season. Each team took it to the rack with consistency, as both hit over 50% of their shots and attempted a combined 59 FT's, with Ohio State making 26/34. Purdue made 11/19 from deep, while the Buckeyes tried to keep pace with a 9/16 effort. I would expect nothing different tonight.

This may not be Painter's toughest defensive team, as they rank near the bottom in most statistical categories, but they handle the rock with great efficiency and make enough threes to be dangerous. During B1G play, Purdue gave up an average of 69.7 PPG, while allowing teams to connect on 47.5% from the floor, both put them at 11th in the league. They ranked third behind Indiana and OSU with 70.4 PPG, making 43.6% overall from the floor and 37.5% from deep in conference play.

As you can see, the Buckeyes will enjoy a height advantage tonight. Purdue ranked in the bottom half in rebounding, snagging just 31 a game, while allowing opponents to get just over 33. OSU won the battle of the boards, 31-21 the first time. As mentioned, the Boilers take great care of the ball, averaging just 8.1 TO's during B1G play. It's quite remarkable if you think about it, less than 10 TO's a game in the toughest conference, that alone will keep them in most games.

Painter will probably bring just two players off the bench. Kelsey Barlow was kicked off the team back on Feb. 17, while B1G sixth man of the year, D.J. Byrd was suspended for the MSU game, but remains the first guard off the pine. He hit 7/9 from downtown in the first matchup, en route to a career high 24 and chipped in with 10 points yesterday on 3/7 from deep. On the season, the 6'5" JR., averaged 8.5 PPG and connected on 43% from the arc. Also seeing significant action will be the aforementioned, Anthony Johnson. The 6'3" FR. scored five PPG this season and reached double figures only one other time in league play.

I think we all were impressed with Purdue the first time around, as they played with an aggressive attitude that seemed to rub off on the Buckeyes that night. Teams that can hit the three have given OSU fits this year and there is no reason to believe the Boilers aren't going to stay in this one. The game is less than an hour from their campus and the fans will have had all day to get good and saucy.

Buckeye Breakdown:

It's amazing what one shot will do. The Buckeyes were up against the ropes heading into the final week of B1G play, but fought hard in two highly contested games and William Buford stroked a beauty to cap off another conference title and give OSU some serious momentum heading into both tournaments. There had been something off for a couple weeks with this team and the grumblings of another early exit from the tournament were starting to surface once again. But one shot stopped all that.

William Buford could win three titles.Can you say Threepeat?

This is the time of year Thad thrives. In his seven previous B1G conference tourneys, he is 14-4, playing in five championship games and wining three. In his career as a head coach, Thad has played in eight title games in his eleven seasons, winning six of them. No one questions his shortened bench in March and his teams have simply elevated their game in the B1G tourney.

I talked last week before the Northwestern game, about Ohio State being able to "flip the switch" now that it's March and get out of the funk they were in. They played with determination last week and seemed to be more focused. The talent has been there all year, but the collective minds necessarily haven't been.

All the bad referees we have been complaining about this year are in one place this weekend, so Sully is going to have to focus solely on his play. Travis Carroll has played him well in the past and he got into a bit of foul trouble against Purdue the first time, but he has a chance to dominate this tournament and put up numbers similar to last year, where he scored 16.3 PPG and snagged 14 RPG over the weekend. The refs were kind to him last year, giving him 38 FT attempts in the three games and Sully took advantage, hitting 25 of them. He was named B1G POW for his performance last week and who knows, perhaps there is a burning desire inside him, knowing this is his last conference tourney and his OSU career is coming to a close.

We do know that this is the last tournament for the lone senior, Willie B., who gave us fans a rare collective jump-off-the-couch moment when he drained the 19 foot jumper and stared down the Iz-zone, as he won his third B1G regular season crown. It's hard to believe he was held below double digits in three of his last seven, including Wednesday, but he too should have that sense of urgency and he has averaged 14.3 PPG in nine BTT games, playing an average of 40.4 minutes per contest. Buford is 8-1, with two titles and if memory serves me correct, would become the first player to win three B1G titles.

First and foremost, the main key for tonight is to have the good Ohio State team show up. I have little doubt this won't happen, for the reasons mentioned above. Second, Purdue is going to make their threes, so OSU needs to be aggressive driving to the rim, looking to get PU in foul trouble and get to the line. The ball should be fed to the paint all night, looking to get Sully and Thomas going down low early on. Carroll is the only decent big guy they have, so sending him to the bench early, gives OSU a bigger advantage in the paint.

Finally, Thomas and Craft have to continue their hot shooting and take nothing but good shots. Buford and Sully are each good for a couple of questionable shots a game, so OSU can't afford to have Craft and DT follow suit. Matta always talks about the importance of valuing EVERY possession and the emphasis grows in March, as one bad shot or TO can end your season.

I think Ohio State got a nice draw, having to face Purdue and Michigan on the way to the title game, versus facing Whisky, MSU or Indiana on the other side of the bracket. There is no doubt they can win this tournament, but the focus must be on their play, not the refs and each possession has to be viewed as if it is the last one of the season. If they take care of the rock, take good shots, stay aggressive on offense and continue doing what they do on the defensive side, OSU should be cutting down the nets for the third straight season.


  • Thankfully, Gus Johnson get the call tonight and Ted Valentine is currently doing the Iowa/MSU game. Haha, as I type this, Teddy V. just T'd up Fran McCaffery and now McCaffery is mocking Valentine across the way.
  • Chris is making it rain in Indy courtside, so if you're in the area, hit him up @Chris11w. He's claiming the first round is on him.

Comments Show All Comments

RecruitBuck's picture

Banker's Life Fieldhouse is in Indy :p not Columbus...

Chris Lauderback's picture

Ha. Yeah, Corey stayed up too late! Fixed. 

njc2o's picture

"First and foremost, the main key for tonight is to have the good Ohio State team show up. I have little doubt this won't happen, for the reasons mentioned above."



thatlillefty's picture

Watched the MSU game again last night. One thing that really stood out to me in first half was what little value Shannon Scott brings to the floor on offense. He can slash to the paint but can't make a bucket for anything. Now, I have nothing against the kid (I bet he stars for tOSU in the coming years), but I believe Sam Thompson Jr. is the MUCH better 6th man coming off the bench. He might not bring much on offense right now, but his defense is excellent and his ridiculous athleticism makes him valuable on the boards.

Also, some thoughts on DeShaun Thomas: He has been criticized at times for his defense, but he had at least three rips in the first half of the MSU game. He might not be as quick with his feet but he has good hands... just wish he would excersie more patience on offense.

Absolutely loved last year's squad, and didn't think it could be the same this year. But it is. I love these guys and I'm fully invested.

O-H !

Chris Lauderback's picture

Scott kills me too. 16 FGM for the year against 41 fouls. Shooting 6.3% from distance on the season (1/16) and shooting 13% from the field in in conference play (4/30). I pray the light comes on at some point. 

Steve Earle Bruce Springsteen's picture

Is it me or has every Ohio State game up until the MSU one started at 8 PM or later? Looking forward to earlier starts (and yes, I have the sleeping schedule of a 90 year old man) 

The North remembers.

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

Kelsey Barlow kicked off the team!?  Wasn't he the guy that dunked all over Sully when Sully was trying to flop/take a charge?  If so, that's a help.

I think we got an average draw here.  To me, this is actually the scariest matchup of the B1G tourney.  Our first B1G tourney games the last couple of years have been major scares, with the miracle shot by ET to beat TSUN 2 years ago and needing OT to get by NW last year.  Purdue is my dark horse to win this tourney if we don't do it.  They've played well recently, they took us to the wire, dropped 84 points on our D, and destroyed TSUN on senior day in Ann Armpit.  It is good that we'll only have to face one of Wiscy/MSU (I'm not including Indiana here because I'd trade them for Purdue on our side of the bracket).  I don't think TSUN is really that much of a threat.  It took an absolute debacle of shooting and officiating for them to beat us by 5 points in their house.  Unless the officiating is that bad again, which I doubt, I like us by 8-13 points.  And if Purdue upsets us tonight, well, they've proven they can woodshed TSUN.  So either way, TSUN won't make it past tomorrow.  I wouldn't be that shocked if we end up playing for a shot at Minnesota tomorrow. 

Class of 2010.

snoodogg22's picture

Just saw that Shannon Scott only averaged 14 points his senior year and was a McDonald's All American. I'm wondering if he will ever be much on offense....I don't need see much to be optimistic about right now.

Tough times never last, tough people do

baddogmaine's picture

The guy who has to stay on the floor is Craft. Thompson may be a better sub than Scott, but neither can lead the offense or disrupt a defense like Aaron. If this becomes a track meet, as the first game was, Ravanel and the other bigs can probably replace Sully's point as long as Craft is on the floor to distribute.

Last time Pudue high-ball-screened us to death. This is the time for us to show if we have learned how to defend it. If not, I expect Painter to play a lot more than two guys off the bench in an effort to generate another track meet and fatigue and frustrate us into the fouls that could kiill us.

I'm less worried about this than I am about several other B1G teams because while Pudue can shoot the 3 they don't have the point guard to really frustrate us. If we can defend the screens. If we can't defend the screens it doesn't much matter what happens tonight, we'll get blitzed in two weeks if not next week.

Jack Fu's picture

There had been something off for a couple weeks with this team and the grumblings of another early exit from the tournament were starting to surface once again. But one shot stopped all that.

Um ... it did?


RE: Scott

Kid has a great handle and makes very good decisions with the basketball. However, he appears to be completely incapable of making a wide-open jumpshot. If that changes in the next few years, he could be very, very good.

snoodogg22's picture

Watching this Wisconsin game now. I want to give Bo and Berrgren a shot in the chops! All they do is bitch.

Tough times never last, tough people do

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I'm at the office and couldn't watch. How the f' does a guy named Rob Wilson go off for 30? What the hell was Wisky doing in this game? Are we even sure it was Wisconsin and not some proxy players wearing the ugly Wisky uniforms in their place? 

Wisky went 13-26 on 3-pt shots and scored 79 points? The freakin' plodding Badgers give up 49 percent shooting and 71 points and still win by 8 pts? Huh?!?

I realize that Indy's offense is excellent and its defense is spotty, but man the Big Ten tourney is bizarre . . .  

snoodogg22's picture

And Rob Wilson is from Cleveland, the dude couldnt miss. He averages 3 points on the season. I'm convinced every team in the conference has an Ohio guy on there team!

Tough times never last, tough people do

Chris Lauderback's picture

Tonight's officials are Terry Wymer, Gene Steratore and Bill Elk.