If Purdue is going to have any chance at winning the Big Ten this year it has to win on Sunday. That’s not really an exaggeration. A Spartan win puts them three games ahead of us and they would have only 10 to play. That would mean Purdue would have to go undefeated the rest of the way and the Spartans would have to go 7-3 (plus a lot of other things would need to happen) just for us to get a share of the title.
A Purdue win cuts the deficit to one game, however, and also opens the door for a bunch of other contenders. With Michigan and Michigan State still to play twice that could be a second league loss for each team (assuming a split). It is not just Purdue that has a stake in this game as a result, but Wisconsin and Maryland.
From: East Lansing, MI
Date : Sunday, January 27, 2019
Tip Time: 1pm
Location: West Lafayette, Indiana
Arena: Mackey Arena (14,804)
Online: CBS Sports HQ
Radio: Purdue Radio Network
SiriusXM Satellite: XM (Ch. 381); Internet (Ch. 968)
Live Stats: bit.ly/PurdueLiveStats
Odds: No Line Yet
NET Ranking: 3
2017-18 Record: 30-5, 16-2 Big Ten (Big Ten Champions)
2018-19 Record: 18-2, 9-0
Opponent Blog: The Only Colors
Series with Purdue: Purdue leads 68-55
Last Michigan State Win: 77-59 at Purdue on 1/8/2019
Last Purdue Win: 80-63 at Purdue on 2/18/2017
NCAA Tournament History: 32 Appearances (21 consecutive), 1979 & 2000 National Champion
Coach: Tom Izzo (591-227 in 24th season at Michigan State)
This is by far the toughest game left on the schedule. Michigan State has won 13 games in a row and their seniors in Matt McQuaid and Kenny Goins are trying to complete their own Delaney Dozen, as Mackey Arena is the only arena they have never won in. I watched the second half of their game last night at Iowa and it was astonishing. Iowa led 50-42 with 16:02 left and appeared ready to pull the upset. From that point on the Spartans threw Iowa into a woodchipper, outscoring them 40-17 and turning it into a rout.
That’s what Michigan State can do. They have been dominant in all nine Big Ten games, only getting a serious challenge from Nebraska (a 4-point win). Something similar happened against Purdue a few weeks ago. Purdue trailed only 52-48 with 11:29 left despite not playing all that well. They dominated the final 11 minutes to earn an 18-point win.
The thing that stood out to me in that game was Michigan State’s ability to capitalize on offensive rebounds. They made 6 of their 9 three-pointers after gathering an offensive rebound for 18 devastating second chance points. Technically Purdue had more offensive rebounds (19 to 18), but what MSU did with theirs was devastating.
Overall Michigan State won the battle on the glass 47-34, which can’t happen again. Goins was particularly troublesome with 11 rebounds and 6 assists. They also clamped down on Purdue defensively. We shot barely over 31% for the game and 22.6% from three. Those seem to be the two key areas where Purdue will need to improve.
Fortunately, we’re playing at Mackey on a Sunday afternoon, and that is often a huge force multiplier. You have to think we’ll shoot better because we honestly can’t shoot much worse. Carsen Edwards had one of his worst games too, going 3 of 16 for only 11 points. Ryan Cline and Trevion Williams each had a good game, but we need Carsen to be Carsen.
If Purdue wins this it will be because of Mackey Magic. The comfort of playing at home and a blistering home crowd are a great equalizer. It is far from a given, however, Cassius Winston had 23 the first time around and is going to be great. Nick Ward had 16 and Xavier Tillman added 11. We need to limit the damage from outside, rebound, and shoot better. Even then, I feel like we’re going to need to hang on for dear life to pull this off.