Pregame Glance: Purdue

Written February 6th, 2012 by Eric

The Buckeyes are on to the next game of their “Murderer’s Row Tour” of the Big Ten! The next stop is Columbus, Ohio to face the Purdue Boilermakers. Let’s take a look.

That's not a Boilermaker! That's a train silly!

School: Purdue University
Location: West Lafayette, Indiana
Founded: 1869
Student Population: 39,697
School Type: Public
Division: NCAA
Conference: Big Ten
Stadium: Mackey Arena
Seating: 14,123
Built: 1967
Head Coach: Matt Painter
Year: 6th


Purdue is not having the kind of season that 5th year senior forward Robbie Hummel (6-8, 215) dreamed about while sitting on the sidelines last year with an ACL tear. With the loss of E’Twaun Moore and JaJaun Johnson, the Purdue Boilermakers are struggling to keep their head above water in the Big Ten. The guys in Black and Gold have gone .500 since the start of conference play and their play has been so inconsistent that it’s starting to verge on consistent.

In fact, Robbie Hummel’s team has won more Big Ten games on the road than they have at home. Considering how difficult the road environment has been in conference this season, that’s a feat worthy of merit. However, they’ve lost games at Penn State (65-45) and at Michigan State (83-58) that make it look like they’re a bottom feeder. They’ve also lost to Wisconsin (67-62), Michigan (66-64), and rival Indiana (78-61) in home losses that would have been inexcusable the last few seasons. That said, the Indiana loss is probably inexcusable no matter what.

At 15-8, the Boilermaker’s need a few more wins to be considered for the NCAA Tournament – wins that they’ll likely get with home matchups against Northwestern, Nebraska, and Penn State. 18 will be enough to get them on the bubble, but in order to actually make it into the field of 68 they’ll have to win a couple of games against top opponents. They do not yet have a signature win on the season, and considering this is the only shot they have at the Buckeyes you can bet they’re going to try to make the most of it.

Obviously the name for the Boilers is Robbie Hummel. Hummel has to be one of my all-time favorite non-Buckeye basketball players. As much as he has been a thorn in OSU’s side since he first stepped on the court, he’s a great player who plays within himself and tries to make his team better. I can’t help but like him at least a little. When I heard that he tore his ACL for the second time back in October 2010 I reacted much the same as Jeff Goodman – my heart sank.

Hummel has made the most of his last season at Purdue. He’s leading his team in points and rebounds per game, knocking down more than 15 and scooping up more than 6 respectively. Unfortunately, the next closest in each of those categories is no-where near his level – which is making it hard for Hummel to do much for this team this season. He’s a great player, but he simply cannot do it on his own.

Fellow senior Lewis “LewJack” Jackson (5-9, 165) is another guy you probably remember. A scoring guard, Lewjack has a tendency to go nuts from game to game, but is very inconsistent about it. He’s scored as many as 20 points against Minnesota and 17 against Michigan, but only put in two against arch-rival Indiana and didn’t score at all against the Nittany Lions. He is clearly capable of taking advantage of a defense on occasion, but it’s hit-or-miss when it will actually happen.

Ohio State GP MIN PPG RPG APG SPG BPG TPG FG% FT% 3P%
Jared Sullinger

21

28.4

17.4

9.1

1

1.5

0.8

1.7

0.581

0.762

0.421

William Buford

23

32.7

14.9

4.7

3.2

0.8

0.1

2.2

0.425

0.881

0.371

Deshaun Thomas

23

28.5

14.7

4.4

1

0.4

0.1

1.3

0.54

0.721

0.329

Aaron Craft

23

29.6

7.9

3

4.9

2.3

0.1

2

0.488

0.657

0.333

Lenzelle Smith Jr.

23

23

6.2

4.7

2

1.1

0.1

1.1

0.505

0.553

0.447

Purdue GP MIN PPG RPG APG SPG BPG TPG FG% FT% 3P%
Robbie Hummel

23

30.9

15.2

6.2

1.8

0.7

1.3

0.7

0.39

0.8

0.344

Lewis Jackson

23

24.9

9.9

3.2

3.9

1.3

0

1.7

0.461

0.723

0.208

Ryne Smith

23

27.7

9.3

2.8

1.1

0.8

0.1

0.6

0.435

0.85

0.411

Terone Johnson

23

21.8

7.4

3.2

1.7

1.2

0.3

1.4

0.442

0.333

0.294

Travis Carroll

23

16.4

2.8

3.1

0.5

0.6

0.7

0.7

0.467

0.5

0.333

The Boilermaker’s come down to one fact this year. They have a lot of pieces, one or two of whom will show up on any given night for double digit points. Who that will be, outside of Robbie Hummel, is a mystery and likely dependent on the way the defense reacts to what the Boiler’s try to do. The Buckeyes will need to play solid defense at all positions and minimize the possibility of a Brandon Paul or E’Twaun Moore repeat. The simple fact that this is being played in Columbus is a huge help for the Buckeyes.

OSU’s defense has been outstanding the last few weeks. Since Indiana scored 63 on the Buckeyes at home (in a loss) no other team has managed to score more than 54 in a game. The Buckeyes are registering a defensive points per possession of 0.82 – that is, teams are scoring less than one point for every trip down the court. Consider that OSU is scoring 1.13 points per possession on offense and you get the sense for how amazing this team’s defense really is. In a 67 possession game (the OSU average during conference play) that accounts for a 20 point spread in score. You’re not going to lose too many games playing that kind of defense.

Of course, that’s not to say that the Buckeyes will win this game, only that Purdue has quite a mountain to climb in order to net a win in Columbus.

The Buckeyes will face the Boilermakers in Value City Arena on Tuesday, February 7th at 9:00 PM EST. You’ll be able to see that game on ESPN.

1 Comment

  1. KenNo Gravatar
    February 6th, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Good stuff, Eric, thanks. Hummel, of course is the key, IMO, to the Purdue success. The other player that worries me a bit, offensively, is Ryne Smith. He’s the team leader in 3′s; he’s had 161 FG attempts so far, and 141 of them have been 3′s. So you know where he likes to shoot from. And he makes them at a pretty good clip, as well. Good for him, could be not so good for us.

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