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Youngstown State at Purdue: Preview, Odds, How to Watch

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Purdue has one last tune-up game before the season gets serious.

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday's game with Youngstown State ends a stretch of four games in eight days. Purdue likely won't face such a stretch again until March, where it could play Friday, Sunday, Thursday, Saturday in the first four rounds of the NCAA Tournament. Sure, the competition would be tougher than this four game stretch, but just close your eyes and imagine that as a week of much better Purdue basketball.

This also marks what should be the final tune-up game before the season gets serious. After this, Purdue has two tricky games against Butler and Vanderbilt before the 18-game war (well, 17 since we do play Rutgers once) that is Big Ten play. It should be one last nice, relaxing blowout and it may be the last time this season we get to see Stephen Toyra and Grady Eifert.

Opponent:

Youngstown State Penguins

From:

Youngsotwn, OH

Date:

12/12/2015

Venue:

Mackey Arena (14,846), West Lafayette, IN

TV/Streaming:

ESPN3

Radio Stream:

TuneIn

Satellite Radio:

SIRI 136, XM

Odds:

No Line Yet

Tickets:

As Low As $29

Tipoff:

2pm

Blog Representation:

YSUPenguins

2015-16 Record:

4-5

All-time series

Purdue leads 1-0

Last Purdue win:

65-54 at Purdue on 12/17/1983

Last Youngstown State Win:

None

2014-15 Record:

11-21, 2-14 Horizon League

Last NCAA appearance:

None

Coach:

Jerry Slocum (122-195 in 11th year at Youngstown State

Youngstown State might be the weakest opponent Purdue has played outside of North Carolina A&T and Incarnate Word. They have never made the NCAA Tournament and in most seasons even having a winning record is a stretch. Their best year in recent memory was an 18-16 season in 2012-13, where they reached the second round of the CIT (the tournament that is below even the CBI, but is limited to mid-majors). Since moving to Division I for the 1981-82 season they have had a winning record just 8 times, the best being a 20-9 season in 1997-98 where they still only finished third in the Mid-Continent Conference (the previous name of the Horizon League. For many years they were the team getting run over by Butler as the Bulldogs rolled toward March.

This year their four wins have come over North Dakota, Thiel College (Non-DI), Niagara, and Robert Morris. They have lost to Kent State, Toledo, Florida Gulf Coast, Bowling Green, and American, so they haven't exactly played a Murderer's Row. They are entering their toughest stretch as the Purdue game is followed by a non-DI game, Michigan, and Notre Dame. The expectations in Horizon League play are very low. This team can be somewhat entertaining, however. The loss to Florida Gulf Coast was a shootout in Ft. Myers that FGCU won 104-101.

YSU has four players averaging in double figures led by 6'10" center bobby Hain. Hain averages 15.2 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 3 assists per game. The senior center has the numbers to at least be a pro somewhere overseas next year, so he will be a good test for Hammons and Haas. 7-footer Jorden Kaufman backs him up and he averages 6.6 points and 5.2 rebounds, so this is the rare cupcake with some size.

Cameron Morse has also played well. The 6'2" sophomore guard averages 15.1 points and 3.1 rebounds per game while shooting 38.7% from three. Matt Donlan averages 12 points per game and is the team's most prolific three-point shooter with 57 attempts. Finally, Francisco Santiago averages 10.4 points and 4.1 assists at the point.

This is a team that shares the basketball well. They averages 16 assists per game and have 141 assists on 246 made field goals. Morse and Santiago are active defensively, with Morse averaging 2.4 steals per game. They are a team where they starters are pretty solid, but the bench depth drops off pretty steeply.

What I would like to see out of Purdue here is more of a commitment to the post. If there has been a complaint so far it is that Purdue is relying too much on the three-pointer. We can get away with it now just because we're light years better than most of the competition we have played, but the boilers have been especially successful when getting the ball into the paint has been a priority. The worst stretches have been at Pittsburgh and against New Mexico when the boilers have settled for too many threes.

That said, there is probably going to be another game or two like Vermont where Purdue just makes it rain from deep. It is really a small caveat, because when Purdue has needed to dig deep like against Pittsburgh and New Mexico the inside-out game has been there and it has been unstoppable. Barring a disaster Purdue is winning this game by 30+ points, so it is one last chance to work on things in a game setting and get in tune.

Maybe they will be nice enough to let us have their school President as a new football coach. You may have heard of him.