Our Boilers have a lot of momentum right now as they head into Columbus. But, this one is not easy, not by a long shot. aOSU's team is very talented...and in spite of a the injury to David Lighty, the Buckeyes are still in great position for the NCAA tournament. And the longer Light stays injured, the more P.T. someone else is getting and the youth movement in Columbus is getting stronger each game.
Matta's team only starts one Junior (Simmons), three Sophomores (Turner, Lauderdale & Diebler) and one Frosh (Buford). And with Lighty still out, they go eight deep (Hill, Madsen, Mullens), but have talent all the way down to number 12 on the bench. Matta's incoming class last year boasted two 5-star recruits, a few four stars and a three.
The Bucks are a tough match-up as they have very long players...and most players are around 6'6" who play regularly. In spite of their height, they hover around the lower-middle portion of the conference in rebounding. In fact, the Buckeyes are around the middle in most statistical categories in conference...and their 5-4 in conference record places them in the dead center of the conference race.
But, they lead the league in shooting percentage, but Purdue leads in percentage defense...so something's gotta give there.
Painter is only 1-6 versus the Buckeyes, with his lone victory coming last season at Mackey. Even prior to Painter, Purdue has NEVER won in Value City Arena. aOSU plays a zone defense most of the time...Purdue has struggled against zones at times this season. The best way to beat a zone is shoot well...so if the Boilers hot shooting of late can continue, it should soften things up for JJ in the middle.
The most important factoid about the Buckeyes is they have a player with a porn star's name- Dallas Lauderdale. He's averaging just over 5 points/game. The leading scorer is Turner with nearly 17pts/gm. Both Buford and Diebler average 11, and two active players are in the 8-9 point range (Simmons, Mullens). So they're like Purdue in the fact that they have many players that can beat you during a given contest.
Steve Lavin will be lavishing the officials with praise all night as Dave O'Brien does the play-by-play...the game is televised nationally on ESPN at 7:00pm.
LewJack has been cleared to play (was last night, actually)