The 5th seeded Ohio State Buckeyes (23-8, 10-8) will begin defense of their 2013 Big Ten Tournament Championship with a Thursday afternoon game against the 12th seeded Purdue Boilermakers (15-16, 5-13). This is the second game of the day and is scheduled to start 25 minutes after conclusion of the first game. Tip-off is scheduled for 2:30 or so, and television coverage will be provided by BTN.
The Boilermakers staggered home at the end of the season; they went 2-11 over the last seven weeks, and ended the regular season on a 6-game losing streak. So, it’s safe to say that the Boilermakers aren’t exactly peaking going into the B1G Tournament. This is the first time that Purdue has finished last in the Conference, so it’s been a season-long challenge for them. Here’s the aggregate statistics of key players against Ohio State in regular season play:
A.J. Hammons also blocked 8 shots in the two games. Clearly, Hammons will continue to present a challenge to Williams/McDonald. Let’s hope that LQR doesn’t get matched up defensively against AJ.
The Ohio State Buckeyes (14-11, 4-5) travel to Mackey Arena to try to sweep the season series with the Purdue Boilermakers (15-7, 5-5). Since the beginning of January, including a January 2nd home win against Purdue, the Buckeyes have been basically alternating wins and losses. Meanwhile, the Boilermakers had a four game win streak to close out January, but have now lost two straight games.
Here’s their Profile
The next session of roundtable participants is a dandy and we’re privileged to have them with us! Our longtime friend who always takes time to help us out is Purdue graduate Robby Donoho who is the Sports Anchor/Reporter at WCBI in Columbus, Mississippi ; Adam Johnson who is the lead writer for the Crimson Quarry representing the Hoosiers; Hondo Carpenter representing the Michigan State Spartans and is the founder and publisher of Spartan Nation.
Who did you lose from last season and how big of a loss will it be?
In terms of production, the loss of these five guys isn’t tremendous. Purdue will miss Byrd’s ability from the perimeter as he really seemed to hone in his 3-point shot. Anthony Johnson just never seemed to click with Matt Painter and that also goes for Donnie Hale and Jacob Lawson. All three transferred in the offseason. Anthrop came off the bench and gave Purdue minutes towards the end but the Boilers will miss Sandi Marcius, who decided to use his 5th year waiver to play for DePaul this upcoming season. No one blames Sandi for his decision, but his beef inside and his effort on the glass will be greatly missed with a team that still needs to find its killer instinct in the rebounding department.
Adam - Everyone. Indiana lost 2 top 4 draft picks and 2 major contributing seniors. It’s going to take some time to get used to playing with Zeller, Oladipo, Hulls and Watford. All of them were major contributors in one way or another. I can’t argue that Indiana will be able to replace Zeller and Oladipo just like that, but I think Jeremy Hollowell can fill the Christian Watford role. Indiana won’t be able to fill Hulls’ role as a shooter, but I think an increase in ability from Yogi Ferrell plus adding a lot of size at the 2 guard will make it a net neutral change.
Hondo - Derrick Nix graduated and is now playing in Europe. He was a backup center and although he is a great young man his loss is nominal at best.
Who are your returners from last year? Which one will be the team leader?
Robby - Terone Johnson, AJ Hammons, Ronnie Johnson, Rapheal Davis
Those four are the big ones that are back in the old gold and black this year for coach Painter. Terone really began to find his shot last season and he’ll be depended upon to keep that jumper going this year. Hammons is the most crucial part of the puzzle for Purdue. He’s the lone returning player that is a true center and takes up space inside. His post game continues to be his most valuable asset for the Boilermakers going forward. With his play inside gives the ability to Purdue’s perimeter shooters to linger on the 3-point line and be ready to hoist up the treys. Ronnie brings back much-needed experience at point and Rapheal has to become the scorer the Boilers desperately need.
Adam - Yogi Ferrell and Will Sheehey are the two key returnees. Yogi was a starting point guard whose sole responsibility was to get guys the ball and get out of the way. That’s going to change as he will now expected to shoulder a scoring load. Will Sheehey for three years has been the spark off the bench, but will now also be forced to take an on-court leadership role to go along with his fiery play.
Hondo - Tom Izzo has said he might not have any captains because of so many returning key players. Branden Dawson & Gary Harris could both leave early for the NBA after this season. Harris is a sure 1st rounder as is senior Adreian Payne who chose to return for his senior campaign.
Who are your newcomers? Which one do you think will contribute right away? Read More
It’s hard to believe that such a competitive season has culminated to this. One tournament, the week before the big dance. For the first time in it’s history, the B1G Tourney has sold out before play even starts. We have seen some great opening round games the last few years, that have set up teams to a championship game run. Today, we don’t expect much different. We have a slate full of competitive games with huge implications on the line. Here is a look at today’s opening round games with a short preview of what to expect on the hardwood in Chicago in the opening round.
#8 Illinois vs. #9 Minnesota
This will be a hard game to figure out; both teams come in with similar records and both play schizophrenic (due respect to those diagnosed) basketball. Illinois comes into this game losers of 3 of their last 4 games. Further, they have failed to cover the spread in their last five games, meaning they won by fewer than expected and lost by more than expected. Not exactly the performance of a team peaking for post-season. These teams split the season series, so this game is the tie breaker with the opportunity to play #1 seed Indiana in next round.
Illinois is led in the backcourt by Brandon Paul (G, 6’4”, 15.7 ppg, 2.8 apg) and in the frontcourt by Nnanna Egwu (F/C, 6’11”, 6.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg). Minnesota is led in the backcourt by Andre Hollins (G, 6’1”, , 3.5 apg) and in the frontcourt by Trevor Mbakwe (F, 6’8”, 10.0 ppg, 8.7 rpg). Both teams shoot about the same, but Minnesota is a far superior rebounding team (Off Reb % of 44.3), although they are far more prone to turn the ball over (21% of possessions). Best bet for a good game is for Paul to light it up from long range paint while Mbakwe has his way in the paint. Minnesota is favored by 2, sounds about right.
Tip-off is at 12 Noon EST on BTN.
With basketball season rapidly approaching and a lot of information to digest from around the conference, I thought it was high time we here from bloggers representing them. We kick off a series in roundtables with our first five today and we are doing our very best to round up the rest of the B1G for you! We hope you enjoy the feature and give us plenty of feedback!
We’re doing our best attempt at giving everyone a good picture of each team with a variety of questions. I want to take this opportunity to thank our first four panelist; Covering Purdue and a great video guy that you can catch here exclusively to tBBC at times, WCBI TV’s own Robby Donoho and his latest video ; covering Spartan Nation is one of the best in that state up north in Hondo Carpenter; taking care of the Hoosiers for us from Crimson Quarry is John M. featured blogger for them and very well respected in the state just west of us; getting us straight with Bucky Badger will be Andy from Mad Town Badgers a great blog for Wisconsin; and finally but certainly not least, my old writing partner here at tBBC and current Buckeye Empire member Joe Dexter.
Hondo S. Carpenter Sr.. Spartan Nation. Keith Appling (G) is a key player back for the Spartans. He is Tom Izzo’s “guy” on this team and with that comes a lot of minutes. Not a natural point, that is the only spot he could play at the next level and Izzo is committed to him playing there.
Adreian Payne (C) is a native of Ohio and if you are a Buckeye fan, you would think he is all world. Against the Buckeyes he lives up to the hype he had coming out of high school. Against every other team, he is a key role player.
Derrick Nix (C) is the best of the MSU big men. Not as athletic as Payne, he can bang with anyone and take the ball and the game to the rim.
Branden Dawson (F/G) is listed by MSU as a G, but he is a SF. He is the real deal. Arguably, Dawson is the best player on the team. He suffered a late season injury, but he will for sure be 100% by conference play. They say before that, but MSU in my opinion has a history of rushing players back too fast. He is too valuable with too much basketball ahead of him to rush it. He is a complete player. Read More