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2017 Big Ten-ACC Challenge: Louisville at Purdue Preview

Purdue seeks revenge for last year’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge loss.

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

After a near disastrous Bahamas trip that cost Purdue its top 25 ranking the Boilermakers return home for our annual Big Ten-ACC Challenge tilt. This year we are officially running it back. Last season Purdue played in Louisville and lost in one of its worst games of the season. It was one of three games against eventual NCAA Tournament teams in the non-conference and Purdue went 1-2, thus contributing to why Purdue was a 4 seed in March.

But what about this year? Well, it could be argued that Purdue has already played three NCAA Tournament teams in Marquette, Tennessee, and Arizona. Tennessee was a surprise in the Bahamas, while Western Kentucky was definitely an upset. That is a bittersweet loss because while it was bad, it set the stage to play Arizona, which could be an excellent win come March. That makes it hard to tell how the loss will ultimately affect things.

Purdue still has two more games against possible NCAA teams in Louisville and Butler. Win both of these games and suddenly this year’ non-conference profile might be stronger than last season’s. This is also the middle of a brutal stretch of games, with the Big Ten openers of at Maryland and Northwestern coming up. If Purdue can take care of business this week Butler is the only significant obstacle to being 15-2 before going to Michigan in January. Being 15-2 with wins over Louisville, Marquette, Butler, and Arizona would be really good, too. Probably top 15 good.

Louisville Cardinals

From: Louisville, KY

Date : Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Tip Time: 8 p.m. ET

Location: West Lafayette, IN

Arena: Mackey Arena (14,804)

Television: ESPN

Online: WatchESPN

Radio: Purdue Radio Network

SiriusXM Satellite: XM (Ch. 381); Internet (Ch. 968)

Live Stats:

Odds: Purdue by 7

KenPom: 24

RPI: 82

2015-16 Record: 25-9, 12-6 (lost to Michigan 73-69 in NCAA Second Round)

2016-17 Record: 4-0

Opponent Blog: Card Chronicle

Series with Purdue: Purdue leads 11-6

Last Louisville Win: 71-64 on 11/30/2016 at Louisville

Last Purdue Win: 67-59 on 12/15/2007 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis

NCAA Tournament History: 42 appearances, 1980, 1986, 2013 NCAA Champions.

Coach: David Padgett (4-0 in first season as head coach, currently interim head coach)

You might have heard that Louisville had a bit of an eventful offseason. Roughly six weeks before the season Rick Pitino was fired amidst the growing NCAA scandal around Louisville and David Padgett, a 32-year-old that played for him at Louisville from 2005-08 was named as his interim replacement. This Purdue game will be his first road game as coach and the first significant test the Cardinals will face.

Louisville has not played in its exempt event yet, as it will play in December’s Gotham Classic. Instead, they have played just four home games against George Mason (72-61), Nebraska-Omaha (87-78), Southern Illinois (84-42) and St. Francis (PA) (84-72). They are ranked 17th, but have not looked great against pretty low-rated opposition. George mason led them by 3 at halftime and was down by 1 with less than 5 minutes left. Omaha scored 53 second half points to make that game closer.

Deng Adel, a 6’7” junior forward has been leading them in scoring at 17.5 points per game. Last season he had 9 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists and he hit two of their four made three-pointers. He had 20 against George mason and 21 against Omaha.

Ray Spalding, their No. 2 scorer, also did a number on Purdue last season. He averages 12 points and 9.3 rebounds as their 6’10” interior presence, and he can now step out and shoot the three a little. It is a very small sample size, but he is 1 of 3 from long range this season after going 1 of 6 in his career. Regardless, He can pull Isaac Haas away from the basket and open the lane up for their athleticism. He caused problems last year with 11 points and 9 rebounds off the bench.

Jordan Nwora is also averaging in double figures with 10 points and 3.5 rebounds, while Darius Perry (9.5 ppg, 3.3 apg) and Quentin Snider (8.3 ppg, 4.0 apg) give them some athletic guards. Perry is a freshman that had 17 in the opener against George Mason. Sniyder had 9 points last year, but was 2 of 11 shooting. Nwora, a 6’8” forward, is also a freshman.

Louisville really didn’t have one guy go crazy against us a year ago. Spalding and Mangok Mathiang led them with 11 points, but they got balanced scoring with six guys scoring between 8 and 11 points. Purdue won the rebounding battle and didn’t give up many threes (4 of 13), but shot very poorly. Purdue finished the night 19 of 53 from the floor and 10 of 23 from three. This was a game where Vince Edwards was a ghost (1 point, 3 rebounds, 3 assists in 22 minutes) and that cannot happen again.

This is your typical Louisville team that is very athletic. They are loaded with blue-chip recruits, but Purdue is playing at home. Mackey Arena has been a fortress for this senior class, and it needs to be again for Purdue to take home a quality win and help erase the damage from the Bahamas. Louisville is only shooting 33% from three as a team and 46.4% from the field. They are rebounding well, but how much of that has come because of the competition they played.

Let us hope that Friday was a wake-up call and good Purdue, the one that handled Arizona with ease, is back. There is no question that Purdue had a letdown against Western Kentucky after Tennessee played with more effort. It seems we got over it though. We need this win badly to erase the Western Kentucky loss, and a victory will go a long way towards securing a top 3 seed in March. Despite falling out of the top 25 Purdue is still ranked 12th in the KenPom, which is 3 seed territory. Staying around that area is far more important for seeding, and winning this game would help. Purdue 82, Louisville 76