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#21 Purdue at Minnesota: Preview, Odds, & How to Watch

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Purdue ventures into its Place of Fear in search of another Big Ten win.

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I hate this game.

On paper, Purdue should absolutely roll tonight. They are facing one of the two winless teams in B1G play and the Golden Gophers have looked pretty awful for most of the season. They have not won a game in over a month (December 16th vs. Chicago State) and haven't beaten a major conference opponent since November 30th. South Dakota and South Dakota State have won there along with Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Even then, the Barn is often a house of horrors for Purdue. In each of the last two visits to Minneapolis Purdue has fallen behind big before a dramatic comeback gave them a shot late. Even though Minnesota has not been great under Richard Pitino they have played Purdue well. In fact, Pitino's teams are 2-2 against Purdue, and though 175 minutes (Purdue and Minnesota played a three overtime game at Purdue in 2014) the teams are dead even in points at 286-286.

Also, there are still the lingering memories of That Game.

Opponent

Minnesota Golden Gophers

Location:

Minneapolis, MN

Date:

1/27/2016

Venue:

Xibalba, Mayan Underworld (14,625)

TV:

Big Ten Network

Radio Stream:

TuneIn

Satellite Radio:

SIRI 136, XM

Odds:

Purdue by 14

Tickets:

As low as $8 on Stubhub

Tipoff:

9pm

KenPom Ranking:

202 of 351

RPI:

225

Blog Representation:

The Daily Gopher

2015-16 Record:

6-14, 0-8 Big Ten

All-time series

Purdue leads 100-82

Last Purdue win:

72-68 at Purdue on 12/31/2014

Last Minnesota Win:

62-58 at Minnesota on 2/7/2015

2014-15 Record:

22-12, 12-6 Big Ten

Last NCAA appearance:

2013 (12 appearances) 1997 Final Four (Vacated)

Coach:

Richard Pitino (49-42 in 3rd year at Minnesota, 67-56 overall, 2-2 vs. Purdue)

Just nine days ago Purdue blasted Rutgers on its home floor by 50. Minnesota may not be a whole lot better than Rutgers. They are 11th in scoring in the Big Ten at 69.9 points per game and 12th in scoring defense at 74.2 per game. Only Rutgers is worse in scoring margin. Minnesota is dead last in field goal percentage (41.1%) and 13th in rebounding. This is not a good team by any metric, so a loss tonight would be far more disastrous than the Illinois game was.

The Gophers have four players that average in double figures. Nate Mason, a 6'1" sophomore guard, averages a team high 13.3 points and 4.2 assists per game. Joey King is having a solid senior year with 12.8 points per game, but is not a good rebounder at 6'9". Jordan Murphy , a 6'6" freshman is having a solid first season at 10.7 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. Carlos Morris, a 6'5" senior guard, is the fourth player in double figures at 10.6 points per game.

As you can see, there is not a lot of size here, so Isaac Haas and A.J. Hammons should be able to have their way with them. Bakary Konat is the only player over 6'10" and he averages just 4.6 points and 3.9 rebounds in about 20 minutes.

Purdue should be aware of King on the perimeter. He is shooting 44.7% from long range and has hit 46 of 103 three-pointers. In fact, Minnesota is probably going to be a "chuck it and pray" team tonight. They are shooting more than 20 triples per game and hitting them at a 33.4% clip. Mason and Morris are also decent three-point shooters.

What hurts Minnesota is that they are not a good defensive team. This is where Purdue's turnover issues will be tested. The boilers are schizophrenic when it comes to taking care of the basketball. They did an excellent job of doing so against Ohio State and things went well. Against Iowa (both times) turnovers were an issue and Purdue lost.

It probably is as simple as "take care of the basketball and you win". Purdue is a lot better on paper than Minnesota, but weird things happen in the Barn. Let's just get out of there 100% healthy and with a victory. Anything else is a bonus.