Purdue has had a few days off to celebrate Thanksgiving and rest after the Charleston Classic Tournament. Overall, it was a productive tournament. We avoided a bad loss and were very close to winning the thing. Obviously, it would have been great to knock of VaTech and get a huge quality win, but there are other chances coming up. At Florida State, At Texas, and Notre Dame are all in the next few weeks. As Long as we got 2-1 in those games and perform well in the Big Ten we’ll be in the NCAA Tournament. A top 4 seed is not out of the question, either.
Of course, in the middle of that we begin conference play thanks to the new 20-game schedule. It will be a grueling few weeks with Michigan and Maryland on the slate after going to Florida State. That leaves only the Friday tune-up against Robert Morris.
From: Moon Township, Pennsylvania
Game Location: Mackey Arena (14,804
Date: November 23, 2018
Time: 2pm ET
Radio: Boilermaker Sports Network
Odds: No Line Yet
2017-18 Record: 16-17, 9-9 NEC
2018-19 Record: 3-2, 0-0 NEC
Series with Purdue: Purdue leads 2-0
Last Purdue win: 87-53 at Purdue on 12/29/2001
Last Robert Morris win: None
Blog Representation: Colonials Corner
NCAA Tournament History: 8 appearances, Last in 2015. Lost to Purdue 55-53 in 1983 Second Round.
Coach: Andrew Toole (153-125 in 9th season at Robert Morris)
Robert Morris has been a pretty good low major school under Andrew Toole. In four of his eight full seasons they have won 20 games. They made the NCAA Tournament as a First Four team in 2015 and won a game before losing to top-seeded Duke. Before that they made a pair of NITs and won a game each time. Their most famous was a 59-57 win over Kentucky where they hosted the Wildcats because of planned renovations to Rupp Arena. They also took Villanova to overtime as a 15 seed in 2010.
So far this season hey are 3-2 with losses at USC and Missouri State. They won home games over Mt. Aloysius and Mississippi Valley State before winning at Stetson on Monday. Their visit to Purdue is their second of three paycheck games against high major competition, as they will later visit Louisville.
In the pretty wide-open Northeast Conference sophomore forward Koby Thomas was a preseason Second Team All-Conference pick. The league itself is a one-bid league with Fairleigh Dickenson as the favorite. It is a conference that has St. Francis (NY), one of the last four teams that has never been to the NCAA Tournament despite being there from the beginning (Army, The Citadel, and William & Mary are the other three).
Thomas has been their No. 3 scorer so far at 11.5 points per game. Malik Petteway, a 6’8” senior forward, has been their top scorer at 13.5 points per game. Josh Williams, a 6’2” senior guard is the third player in double figures at 12.8 point per game.
If three-pointers keep smaller teams in game against high majors the Colonials are in trouble. They are shooting worse than 30% from three as a team. Williams is over 40%, but everyone else is struggling from long range. As a team they only shoot 40.5%.
Of course, they also don’t have Carsen Edwards. If you’re a low major how do you prepare to play a top 25 team that has a guy that is going to score 25 on a bad night and might go for 40? This game should be nothing more than a tune-up for Florida State. Purdue struggled greatly on defense in the second half against Virginia Tech and cannot let a lead slip away again like that. It’s time to work on the defense and fine tune things offensively before a huge road test early next week.