Let’s not beat around the bush here. Ohio State got it handed to them by Illinois on Saturday afternoon. The Buckeyes came out sluggish and were not ready to play as they fell to the Illini,74-55. Things in the Big Ten are not easy this season, least of all games played on the road. After a dismal performance against Illinois, Ohio State will look to rebound, on the road, against Purdue on Tuesday.
|Location:||West Lafayette, Indiana|
|Division:||NCAA Division 1|
|Head Coach:||Matt Painter|
A scary thing for Buckeye fans is that only last week Purdue defeated the same Illinois team which just blew out Ohio State. Purdue does not have the talent it has had in years past and the Boilermakers come into this game just 7-7 on the season. However, Mackey Arena has proven to be a difficult place to get a win.
This year the Boilermakers are looking to senior guard/forward D.J. Byrd (6-5, 228, #21) and junior guard Terone Johnson (6-2, 199, #0) for their scoring. This is a significant departure from a year ago, when a (finally) healthy Robbie Hummel was still on the prowl and scoring 16 points per game. Terone Johnson is doing a reasonable job filling the role with his 13 points per game (up from 9 a year ago), but replacing a guy like Hummel is not easy to do.
Take it as you will, but Purdue is coming off a blow-out loss of their own at the hands of the Spartans 84-61 in East Lansing. Now, the Boilermakers were in that game for most of the way before MSU finally took control late in the game. But moral victories are rarely heart-warming, and you can bet Purdue will be coming into this game thinking they can snatch a win.
Let’s take a look at each team’s top performers:
|#32||L. Smith Jr.||14||27.071||11.357||46.1||58.3||44.3||5.214||1.786||0.571||0.143||1.643|
On paper, the Buckeyes should be able to win this game. However we all know the games aren’t played on paper, so it will be interesting to see how OSU responds to the Illinois loss. If they come out with a little more fire defensively, they may not struggle quite as much as they did in Urbana-Champaign. If, however, they continue to get a slow start before lighting a fire under it, Purdue will likely take advantage of it.
The Buckeyes will need to get this win against Purdue because their schedule does not get any easier. After the game with the Boilermakers, OSU will host Michigan and then travel to East Lansing for a date with Sparty. OSU will likely be underdogs in both of those games, so if it wants to avoid a four-game skid at the beginning of the Big Ten season it must defeat Purdue.
The Buckeyes will play the Boilermakers on Tuesday, January 8th in Mackey Arena. You’ll be able to see that game on ESPN at 9:00 PM Eastern Time.