The tough week the No. 3-ranked Boilermakers is coming to an end, but first, they will face the No. 4-ranked Michigan State Spartans today at 4:00 PM Eastern on ESPN. Considering the outcome of their last game and with the Big Ten games coming to a close, this is another must-win for Purdue.
Coming into the game, Purdue, unfortunately, lost their last time out when their 19-game win streak was ended by a late-second put back from Ohio State to knock off the Boilers 64-63. To make matters worse, this game was pretty much in the bag with around ten minutes left in the game and Purdue held a 14-point lead. The Buckeyes just broke down their defense and especially the loose balls which contributed to their outstanding win. Carsen Edwards would have 28 points to lead all scorers on Purdue, which was only a group of four who scored. For a loss, Purdue’s shooting was actually very good. They shot 42.6 percent from the field, 40.0% from deep, and 78.9 percent from the charity stripe. Like we mentioned earlier, the defense and loose balls just cost Purdue down the stretch.
For Michigan State coming into the contest, they won a way too close game with Iowa, narrowly defeating the Hawkeyes 96-93. Now while their offense was splendid, the Spartans defense did not cut it. This is the same Iowa team Purdue blew out 87-64 just about one month ago in the same arena. Miles Bridges would lead Michigan State in scoring with 25 points on an 8-14 shooting effort to help the Spartans go 32-57 (56.1%) from the field and 8-17 (47.1%) from three. They did not deserve to win when Iowa held a 91-90 lead with under two minutes left in the game. Luckily, they were able to escape when the Hawkeyes missed the game-tying three with one second left.
The Numbers to Know (Purdue Athletics Department)
• 3: Number of Purdue wins in the last 10 meetings against Michigan 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.
• 3: Number of teams unbeaten in “true” road games this year (Purdue, Saint Mary’s, Ohio State).
• 4: Purdue has won 12 league games in four straight years for the second time in school history.
• 8: Consecutive road wins dating to last year, the second-longest streak in the country.
• 8: Purdue’s national rank in winning percentage since the start of 2015-16 season (.792).
• 9: Consecutive double-figure scoring games for Carsen Edwards (17.4 PPG in that span).
• 10: Largest deficit in Big Ten play this season.
• 23: Through Wednesday, Purdue and Michigan State both led the country in victories.
• 4,705: Combined career points by Purdue’s senior class (36.2 points per game for career).
PPG: Purdue 83.2, Michigan State 83.7
PA: Purdue 64.2, Michigan State 65.3
FG%: Purdue 50.0%, Michigan State 51.7%
RPG: Purdue 35.8, Michigan State 41.3
BPG: Purdue 5.4, Michigan State 8.0
SPG: Purdue 6.3, Michigan State 4.4
Purdue’s Projected Starting Lineup
G: P.J. Thompson
G: Carsen Edwards
F: Dakota Mathias
F: Vince Edwards
C: Isaac Haas
Michigan State’s Projected Starting Lineup
G: Josh Langford
G: Cassius Winston
F: Nick Ward
F: Jaren Jackson
C: Miles Bridges
Obviously, for the first time in a while, Purdue is outmatched in the team numbers, which reflects why they are a 3-point underdog. Granted, Michigan State is very talented, but so is Purdue. The Boilermakers are going to play a different game today then we have seen all season, because they know what’s on the line and know wins aren’t easy anymore. They certainly have made it look easy in the past, but they’ve had to face some adversity starting in the IU game which has caused concern. To be honest, there should not be any concern because this Purdue team is special and has a great chance of beating the Spartans. The only thing that would hold back the Boilers from flourishing in East Lansing would be the loose balls and rebounding which are two strong suits of the Spartans. Now the defensive numbers would favor Purdue, who has the second-best defensive rating in the conference of 93.8. This game will be another battle, but the Boilermakers can, should, and will win.