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Northwestern at Purdue: Preview, Odds, & How to Watch

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God hates Northwestern basketball.

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David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

After Saturday's "leave a bad taste in your mouth" loss Purdue comes home to face Northwester, perhaps the weakest 17 win team in America. Normally Wildcats fans would be doing backflips to have 18 wins this deep into the season. Their NCAA Tournament drought is famous, but normally 17 wins would have them in contention. This is a program that has had 20 wins in a season just twice, hitting exactly 20 in 2010 and 2011 (with the second needing two NIT wins to get there). This year they have an excellent chance to reach their most wins ever in a single season, yet they are not going to the NCAA tournament unless 1. They win their last five regular season games and a Big Ten Tournament game or two, or 2. They win the Big Ten Tournament.

Why is this? They have beaten absolutely no one. Aside from two outliers they are completely built on beating sub-100 RPI teams and losing to anyone in the top 100. They are 16-1 against sub-100 teams (losing at home to Penn State), and 1-8 against top 100 teams (beating Wisconsin at home).

They come to West Lafayette as a team that just has not done well against other good teams. Here they are against the top 100 this year:

L 80-69 vs. North Carolina

L 72-59 Maryland

L 65-56 Ohio State

W 70-65 Wisconsin

L 62-56 OT at Maryland

L 89-57 at Indiana

L 76-45 Michigan State

L 85-71 at Iowa

L 71-63 at Ohio State

This is a game where Purdue has got to take care of business at home. It is not a win that is going to boost it a seed line or two, but it is certainly a game that can be an absolutely crippling loss. They pushed Maryland as much as you can without winning in College Park and fell apart at Ohio State this past weekend, so they are dangerous.

Opponent

Northwestern Wildcats

Location:

Evanston, IL

Date:

2/16/2016

Venue:

Mackey Arena (14,846)

TV:

BTN

Radio Stream:

TuneIn

Satellite Radio:

SIRI 136, XM

Odds:

Purdue by 13

Tickets:

As low as $12 on Stubhub

Tipoff:

7 pm

KenPom Ranking:

92 of 351

RPI:

111

Blog Representation:

InsideNU

2015-16 Record:

17-9, 5-8 Big Ten

All-time series

Purdue leads 124-46

Last Purdue win:

68-60 at Northwestern on 1/31/2015

Last Northwestern Win:

75-65 at Purdue on 3/9/2014

2014-15 Record:

15-17, 6-12 Big Ten

Last NCAA appearance:

None

Coach:

Chris Collins (46-45 in 3rd year at Northwestern)

Northwestern features the player that would be the perfect complement to our offense and he could be a Boilermaker right now had he not turned down a scholarship offer in favor of Northwestern. Bryant McIntosh is an Indiana kid averaging 14.3 points and 6.7 assists while shooting 37% from three and 53% from the field. We missed on this kid, we really did. He leads the team in made three pointers, so he is a huge offensive threat as a point guard, but he is also second in the league in assists behind Denzel Valentine. If you drop him in the Purdue offense right now he would be the missing piece. Since Northwestern is not going to the NCAA Tournament perhaps we can "borrow" him for the rest of the season (and by borrow I mean we're abducting him tonight and leaving the Wildcats with Stephen Toyra).

McIntosh is not their leading scorer, however. That would be Tre Demps, who averages 14.8 points per game but is a wildly streaky 3-point shooter. In Demps you're getting a player that is going to shoot a ton of threes. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, he is only a 30% shooter from long range. Last year he hit three against Purdue while scoring 18 points and two years ago he was 4 of 8 from three and had 19 points in the double OT win in Evanston. If he is hot, he can make a difference, but more often than not he shoots the Wildcats out of games.

Northwestern also has a solid interior presence in senior Alex Olah. The big Romanian missed six games this season and when he has played he has not been as effective as in the past. He averages 10.6 points and 5.3 rebounds, but has some range too. He is not afraid to shoot the three, either.

Statistically, Northwestern is just about in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten. They don't do anything particularly well, but they aren't extremely deficient at anything, either. They are just average, really. They are only at the bottom of the conference in one category: steals, where they get just 4 per game.

Honestly, there is not a lot that is exciting about Northwestern this year. They are far better than they normally are, but they still aren't as good as they 2009-11 stretch where they seemed to be a win or two away from ending their NCAA streak and they had agonizing loss after agonizing loss.

As I said earlier, Purdue needs to take care of business here. A win by the Wildcats is basically their last shot to vault into an at large berth, so let's deny them that chance.