Tonight is another chance.
The Villanova game opened a few eyes that Purdue can at least compete with the nation’s best and challenge in March when it matters most, but the Boilers ultimately came up short. We have known for years that Purdue can compete, but it is all about getting over that hump. Tonight represents a second chance. Louisville is very, very good. They are not quite as good as a Villanova, but playing in their house adds an element of difficulty that was not there against Villanova.
This is Purdue’s lone true road contest until January 5th at Ohio State. We have a couple of neutral site games coming up, but this is our only game in enemy territory. If Purdue can get a victory tonight it will be a sign that a lot is possible this season. Big Ten titles? Sweet 16s? More? It is not enough to compete anymore. It is time to win one of these national showcase games, something Purdue has not done in a while. Even in Louisville’s arena, where we have bad memories of that Cincinnati game from two years ago.
From: Louisville, KY
Date : Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Tip Time: 7:15 p.m. ET
Location: Louisville, KY
Arena: KFC Yum! Center (22.090)
Radio: Purdue Radio Network
SiriusXM Satellite: XM (Ch. 381); Internet (Ch. 968)
Live Stats: bit.ly/PurdueLiveStats
Odds: Louisville by 6.5
2015-16 Record: 23-8, 12-6 (self-imposed NCAA Tournament ban)
2016-17 Record: 5-1
Opponent Blog: Card Chronicle
Series with Purdue: Purdue leads 11-5
Last Louisville Win: 88-72 on 12/14/1996 at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis
Last Purdue Win: 67-59 on 12/15/2007 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis
NCAA Tournament History: 41 appearances, 1980, 1986, 2013 NCAA Champions.
So far this season Louisville has played well except for the second half against Baylor in the Battle 4 Atlantis against Baylor. With 4 minutes left in the first half Louisville led 32-10. Even with 16:34 left in the game they still led 44-24, but the Cardinals suffered a complete collapse in a 66-63 loss.
Baylor shot 65% in the second half as they forced a ton of turnovers and converted them into points in transition. Aside from that, they have looked good. They opened with a 31 point lead over Evansville and 33 point win over William & Mary. In the Bahamas they beat Old Dominion and Wichita State before losing to Baylor.
Purdue’s experience against Villanova should be beneficial because the Louisville backcourt will be a challenge to defend. Donovan Mitchell (13 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 3 apg) is a dynamic 6’3” sophomore guard that does a little bit of everything. He is also an EXCELLENT defender with three steals per game. Against Old Dominion in a 68-62 overtime win he had 15 points, 7 rebounds, and an insane 7 steals.
In the back court with him is 6’2” junior Quentin Snider, who averages 11 points and 3.7 assists per game. The benefit for Purdue is that both are just lousy shooters. Mitchell only shoots 39.4% from the field and 34.3% from three, while Snider is better from three (30.6%) than he is overall (29.9%).
Rounding out their trio of double figures scorers is Jaylen Johnson, a 6’9” junior forward who averages 10.5 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. He’ll likely match up with Caleb Swanigan, and he is an efficient scorer at 63.6% from the field.
Louisville is not a strong three point shooting team. They want to attack the basket with reckless abandon, and that is where Purdue can get into trouble. If they attack the basket and get our post players in foul trouble it can change the game. Mitchell and Snider are their only regular shooters from outside, as Deng Adel, who is 6 of 19 from long range, is the only other player with more than 10 attempts from long range.
Purdue is averaging 10 more points per game, but the Cardinals are relentless on the glass, and that is where Purdue is going to have to battle. Louisville averages 47 rebounds per game to Purdue’s 38. Part of that comes from being such lousy shooters (They are only 40.9% from the floor as a team), but they get after it on the glass. Johnson, Mangok Mathiang, and Ray Spalding are great on the offensive glass, with Mathiang and Spalding being a couple of 6’10” guys they can use to battle against Haas. Haas still has four inches and about 60 pounds on them.
This will be an interesting game. Louisville is going to want to run, press, and attack. Purdue has its massive front line that can match up with anyone in America. Like the Villanova game, I expect the game to be decided by foul trouble. Purdu also needs to control the glass. If Purdue can avoid early foul trouble it has an excellent chance to pick up a marquee win on the road.