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Gardner Webb at Purdue: TV, Time, Streaming, Odds, Etc.

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The final non-conference game of the season is one last chance for Purdue to tune things up before starting Big Ten play.

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Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight could be one of the biggest games of coach painter's tenure at Purdue. After a dreadful second half against Notre Dame the Boilers desperately need to come home and take care of business against a low major opponent. As I explained last night, the dream of going to the NCAA Tournament is far from dead, but if the Boilers do drop this game you can likely call in a priest to administer the last rights.

Opponent:

Gardner Webb Runnin' Bulldogs

Location:

Boiling Springs, NC

Date:

12/22/2014

Venue:

MackeyArena (14,846)

TV:

BTNPLus

Radio Stream:

TuneIn

Satellite Radio:

SIRI 136, XM

Odds:

No line yet

Tickets:

As low as $11.61 on Stubhub

Tipoff:

6pm

KenPom Ranking:

211 of 351

RPI:

107

Blog Representation:

Shelby Star

2014-15 Record:

7-5

All-time series

First meeting

Last Purdue win:

N/A

Last Gardner Webb Win:

N/A

2013-14 Record:

18-15, 10-6 Big South

Last NCAA appearance:

None

Coach:

Tim Craft (25-20 in second season)

Gardner Webb is a relative newcomer to Division I. They have never made the NCAA Tournament. Their biggest moment in the sun was likely during the 2007-08 season when they were in the 2K Sports Classic and stunned No. 20 Kentucky 84-68 in Rupp Arena to earn a trip to Madison Square Garden for the tourney finals. In November 2005 they also won by a point at Minnesota, so they are not totally unfamiliar with winning in major conference arenas. Just two years ago they lost by only a point at Illinois.

This season it is hard to judge them. They have four wins over non-Division I teams. They have played four teams in the top 27 of the current RPI (LSU, Seton Hall, Old Dominion, and Arizona) and lost all four. They do have a major conference win over Clemson at the Paradise Jam. They also have a dismal loss at Jacksonville.

Gardner Webb is led by an excellent small forward in junior Jerome Hill, who is a very versatile player. He is averaging 17.8 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 2.3 assists. The only other player in double figures is Tyrell nelson at 13 points per game, but Jarvis Davis is close at 9.6 points per game.

This should be a big bounce back game for A.J. Hammons and Isaac Haas. Corey Hensley is their tallest regular player and he only gets 1.4 points and 2.1 rebounds as a 6'8" forward. There is absolutely no excuse for Haas and Hammons to be completely dominant tonight.

Gardner Webb is a decent scoring team at 75 points per game. Much of that has come against non-DI competition, however. Their average against Division I opponents is only about 65 points per game, as opposed to 75 overall when you factor in the four non-DI opponents.

On the perimeter Purdue needs to be aware of Dylan Poston, who is 23 of 49 from long range as their best three-point shooter. They get most of their points with Hill and Nelson going to the basket. Those points don't come from the free throw line, either, as they are an awful 59% from the line.

This is a team with a lot of faults. They can't shoot free throws, will be at a huge size disadvantage, and they're going to try and score by going at the basket. Tyler Strange does an excellent job at the point with 6.8 assists per game, but overall Purdue should have an advantage at every position.

What I am most interested in seeing is how we respond. With the debacle of the Notre Dame game still fresh in everyone's minds it is important to come out and dominant from the opening tip. We can't afford to let this team hang around because they are capable of beating us if we're flat like against North Florida.

What the Boilers lack right now is a consistent, go to scorer. You can see it when the offense is struggling. We don't have anyone we can go to and say, "hey, we really need a bucket. Go get one." That should be Hammons, but he has not been as assertive since his benching. With Kendall Stephens struggling, Vince Edwards not being consistent yet, and Rapheal Davis hesitant to shoot the offense looks pretty broken right now. You can only post up Hammons/Haas and chuck it into them so many times.

On the defensive end Purdue could not have played worse in the second half against Notre Dame. When the Irish dunk five times in the second half that is a sign that the defense is awful. It was the second straight game where Purdue's defense was completely out of sync, so hopefully we can get it back on track tonight.