It seems a little odd to play Tennessee and Tennessee State in the same season, but here we are. We already suffered a loss to the Volunteers in the Bahamas. This is a much difference game though. This is your typical mid-December buy game that we should win by quite a bit. Tennessee State is in the 200s of the RPI and the KenPom. A loss by Purdue would be shocking.
From: Nashville, TN
Date : Thursday, December 21, 2017
Tip Time: 6 p.m. ET
Location: West Lafayette, Indiana
Arena: Mackey Arena (14,804)
Radio: Purdue Radio Network
SiriusXM Satellite: XM (Ch. 381); Internet (Ch. 968)
Live Stats: bit.ly/PurdueLiveStats
Odds: Purdue by 24.5
2016-17 Record: 17-13, 8-8 Ohio Valley
2017-18 Record: 5-5, 0-0 Ohio Valley
Opponent Blog: None
Series with Purdue: First Meeting
Last Tennessee Win: None
Last Purdue Win: None
NCAA Tournament History: 2 appearances, last in 1994. 3x NAIA National Champion
Coach: Dana Ford (47-55 in 4th season at Tennessee State)
Of TSU’s five wins, two have come against non-D1 teams in Fisk and Reinhardt. They opened the season with a 36 point loss at Kansas, but took Texas to the final possession Monday night in Austin before falling 47-46. That score is indicative of their offensive prowess. This is not a team that scores much. They average 66.7 points per game, good for 315th nationally. They are a top 50 team defensively at 65 points per game given up. On KenPom they are 83rd in adjusted defense, so they might make us work a bit. Will it be enough to stop us from our 85.6 points per game offensive average?
The Tigers have a pair of players averaging in double figures. Delano Spencer averages 15.2 per game and he shoots 43.1% from three as a 6’3” senior guard. Christian Mekowulu, a 6’9” forward has been strong down low all season. He has averaged 11.8 points and 9.7 rebounds, a near double-double.
In terms of other scoring Ken’Darrius Hamilton and Kamar McKnight are each over 9 points per game, but Purdue is one of the best defensive teams in the country. We rate 12th in adjusted defense on KenPom and Tennessee State couldn’t crack 50 on Texas, who is 6th in adjusted defense.
The other offensive numbers paint a dire picture. They shoot just 41.3% from the field and average a paltry 10 assists. That means they are going to have to create off the dribble against our stout defense. Armani Chaney is a decent distributor at 3.5 assists per game, but that is about it. There is also no size to defend Isaac Haas and Matt Haarms. Hamilton and Mekowulu are both 6’9”, but that’s as tall as they come.
I honestly don’t see this being competitive unless Purdue completely falls asleep. Next week’s game against a feisty Lipscomb team is more interesting, but this is one Purdue should win by at least 25. Don’t be surprised if we hit the century mark. Purdue 98, Tennessee State 63