The biggest game of the season for Purdue has arrived, as the No. 3 Boilermakers will face the No. 14 Ohio State Buckeyes in a packed Mackey Arena tonight at 8:30 PM Eastern. The game for sure will have potential seasons on the line, because right in the heart of a very tough week, Purdue has to play Ohio State whose just one game behind. Not to mention, they play No. 4 Michigan State on the road this Saturday.
In their last time out, Purdue beat Rutgers in a potential “trap game” out in Piscataway, escaping with a 78-76 win after the Scarlet Knights put up a tremendous effort. Vince Edwards would have an incredible game during the midst of a flu-week. Vince had 18 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists to lead Purdue in every statistical area listed. Rutgers defense was much better than we expected, but the Boilers still shot 45.1 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from three. Purdue really had to grind out the win, because Rutgers just would not go away and cut what was a 15-point lead at one point to just one point. The Boilermakers then scored seven of the next ten points, as they started to finally pull away. The win proved Purdue can win tight games down the stretch, hitting 12 free throws in the final 1:30.
Ohio State’s last time out was not their prettiest win, but they defeated Illinois 75-67 at home. The Buckeyes held off the pesky Fighting Illini who were only down 34-30 at halftime and then were only outscored 41-37 in the second half. For a team with a 2-8 Big Ten record at the time to come that close against a Big Ten powerhouse this season says something. Of course, the matchup everyone is waiting for tonight against Purdue, Keita Bates-Diop had a team-leading 35 points and 13 rebounds for the Buckeyes. Their shooting, in general, was not the prettiest, going 46.0 percent from the field and 18.8 percent from deep.
The Numbers to Know (Purdue Athletics Department)
• 2: Major-conference teams to be unbeaten in conference play through Monday (Purdue, Virginia).
• 3: Number of Purdue wins in the last 10 meetings against Ohio State, the fewest of any Big Ten team.
• 3: Purdue’s AP ranking — matching its highest since being ranked No. 2 on March 7, 1988.
• 5: Purdue’s national rank in winning percentage since the start of 2015-16 season (.800).
• 10: Largest deficit during Purdue’s 19-game winning streak (14-4 vs. Indiana).
• 12: Conference victories — the most of any team in America (through Sunday).
• 14: Consecutive wins in B1G play dating to last year, a new school record.
• 19: Nation’s-best and school-record winning streak.
• 21: Consecutive home victories, the second-longest streak in America.
• 51.0: Points per game combined from the four Purdue seniors (1,276 points — 60.8 percent).
PPG: Purdue 84.0, Ohio State 77.4
PA: Purdue 64.2, Ohio State 66.2
FG%: Purdue 50.2%, Ohio State 49.1%
RPG: Purdue 36.0, Ohio State 37.1
APG: Purdue 18.0, Ohio State 14.9
BPG: Purdue 5.5, Ohio State 3.9
SPG: Purdue 6.4, Ohio State 6.0
Purdue’s Projected Starting Lineup
G: P.J. Thompson
G: Carsen Edwards
F: Dakota Mathias
F: Vince Edwards
C: Isaac Haas
Ohio State’s Projected Starting Lineup
G: C.J. Jackson
G: Andre Wesson
F: Kaleb Wesson
F: Jae’Sean Tate
C: Keita Bates-Diop
Mackey will be rocking for this one as Purdue will face their toughest opponent to this date. Ohio State no doubt is a tougher matchup than Michigan whose still far superior than most. Keita Bates-Diop is an incredible playmaker for the Buckeyes who is the heart and soul of the team. Without him, Ohio State wouldn’t be 20-5 in Chris Holtmann’s first year with the program. Purdue’s versatility of an inside-outside-mid-range game really leaves opposing teams lost for words which is why they are a 9.5-point favorite in this one. Ohio State is already short of a key role player, Kam Williams who did not make the trip. They have the homecourt advantage and this game should be a battle down to the end.