Matt Painter, in one way, is going to have an easy time game planning for Siena as the Saints basically play all five starters the full 40 minutes. However, in another way the Big 10 Coach of the Year will have an all together harder problem deciding which of his players will be assigned to guard those 5 Siena Saints.
We'll start with the easiest one first. JaJuan Johnson is going to pull the obvious match-up of Ryan Rossiter who, at 6'9 230 lbs is their biggest player. He is rebounding machine who averaged 14 rebounds a game in their run to the MAAC Championship. JuJaun is a superior player but could get pushed around in the block if Johnson doesn't mind his technique.
Now this is where it gets interesting. Edwin Ubiles, is definetly their best all around player, but while listed as a forward he is basically a tall guard. Robbie Hummel would of guarded him the whole game, had his ACL not popped like a cherry after prom. Since Hummel will be a cheerleader for this tournament, Ubiles will most likely be guarded by E'Twaun Moore who gives up 2 inches and 20 pounds or Kelsey Barlow (who may start for this very reason) who is only 1 inch shorter than Ubiles.
Whomever is not keeping Ublies away from the basket will have the duty of guarding Alex Franklin. Franklin is listed as a forward, but like Ublies is esintially a tall guard. My guess is that Barlow will be pulling Franklin when he is on the floor, but do not be surprised if Kramer slides over and plays him in the post. Kramer gives up 3 inches, but as we all know is more of a fighter than Barlow so we'll give up some size but get more steals & rebounds.
When Kramer is not guarding the post, he'll be matched up with Clarence Jackson whom Kramer could easily push around all game long, rendering him useless.
That just leaves their PG Ronald Moore. A true point guard who will see just about every guard that Purdue has on its roster. Moore is 6 feet tall so he will have his hands full with Keaton Grant (6'4), E. Moore (6'4) or Kramer (6'3). When Lewis Jackson is on the floor, he will guard R. Moore. I expect to see less of Lewis Jackson in this contest then we have in the last few games.
It's not that the Saints create match up problems for the Boilermakers, but Painter could have 4 players guard Edwin Ubiles alone, so expect a lot of switching on screens when Ubiles sets them.
Purdue Starting Lineup:
Keaton Grant (G) - guarding Ronald Moore (G)
Chris Kramer (G) - guarding Clarence Jackson (G)
E'Twaun Moore (G) - guarding Edwin Ubiles (G/F)
Kelsey Barlow (G/F) - guarding Alex Franklin (F)
JuJuan Johnson (F/C) - guarding Ryan Rossiter (F)
Siena has played only four descent teams this whole season and lost all four including losing by 17 to Butler(5) and Northern Iowa(9) and 13 against Georgia Tech(10). They gave Temple(5) a run for their money, but that was very early in the season when Temple wasn't playing as well as they are now.
Either way you look at it, the demise of the Purdue Boilermakers has been greatly exaggerated. Too many "experts" are looking at one unimpassioned half to define our entire Hummel-less season, proclaiming that we are ripe for the picking. Make no mistake about this, Purdue is the underdog in this game. Ignore the little numbers next to their names at the bottom of the screen this Friday at 2:30 PM ET, they don't mean anything because nobody outside West Lafayette expects the Boilermakers to make it to Sunday.
Hopefully, Purdue uses that embarrassment against Minnesota and the national tongue lashing they have been taking these past 2 days and come out with something to prove. I expect that will be the case as Purdue, when they have that chip on their shoulder play very inspired basketball.
My prediction, Purdue 64 - Siena 58.