There is no need for an in depth preview, as we played these guys two weeks ago and squeezed out a win on Robbie Hummel's game-winner. It has been Purdue's only victory in its last five games, so clearly there is a lot at stake here. A loss deals a severe blow toward our chances at making the 2012 NCAA Tournament. That would mean losses in five of our past six games and in four of our last five games at Mackey Arena.
Simply put, Mackey needs to become a fortress again. Wisconsin and Michigan earned close wins on our floor and Indiana handed us an embarrassing 17 point loss. It's time to end that here and now and start a new home winning streak. If we win our remaining home games we go to the NCAA Tournament. If we can't defend our home floor against teams we've already beat on the road we don't deserve to go.
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Sippin' On Purple has some solid notes:
NU must go small. We must. Purdue will, and if NU doesn't counter by also going small, I will punch my own face. NU - unsurprisingly - was most successful by putting out a small lineup, and went on a 10-0 run almost exactly at the same time Carmody pulled Davide Curletti in the second half. Like I said earlier, Curletti posting up Hummel is not a good possession. On one possession, he got matched up in the post against Purdue guard Ryne Smith, and promptly committed an offensive foul. NU should be smart and spread the floor and fight tiny fire with tiny fire. Hummel and Shurna will battle in the post, and it will determine the game. Bill Carmody inexplicably played Curletti for a large chunk of this game - including, for no particular reason, the last minute a half, when he subbed out Drew Crawford who only had two fouls and was NU's leading scorer and rebounder - and he was not helpful.
Expect the 1-3-1 because we have absolutely no idea how to attack it. Our last game proved we can play with anyone in the country, as Michigan State further made my point last night when they were actually allowed to play defense on Sullinger. That effort must be replicated.
This is the crossroads game, kids. Win it, and we're still alive. Lose it, and it is time to write off the season. it is that simple.