After three consecutive losses to end the season, the Sharon Versyp led Boilermakers to end the regular season at 17-13 overall with an 8-10 record during Big Ten play. Purdue’s record was good for 9th place in the conference and they will be playing the 8th place team Michigan State to begin their Big Ten Tournament path.
Purdue split their two games against Michigan State this season, as they beat the Spartans on the road to extend their winning streak to three games on January 30th by a score of 76-66. After losing three in a row, the Boilers looked as if they had gotten hot at this point in the season when they won 4 out of 5 heading into a big rematch against Indiana at home.
This was not the case though as Purdue went on the lose 6 of their last 8 Big Ten games. One of which was their second matchup, where it was a close battle, but ultimately fell at home after Nia Clouden hit a contested jumper over Dominique Oden with just 2 seconds left to give Sparty a 65-63 win.
Purdue then went on the get blown out by both Maryland on the road and Ohio State at home on Senior Night. This was not an ideal situation for the team as they are on the bubble at the moment and have a very talented trio leading them. Purdue will need to put this behind them as they take on Michigan State in the 8/9 game on Thursday which is a must-win if they want to get into the NCAA Tournament.
The Spartans have been on a roll of late, winning 5 of their last 6 games to end the regular season on a high note. During their first game, Michigan State was in the midst of a 5 game losing streak where 4 of those games were against ranked teams, but they have bounced back and are looking to make a run in the conference tournament.
Looking back at the last three performances in the Big Ten Tournament for the Boilers, in 2017 they were the 5th seed and went on to beat Illinois, Indiana and the #1 seed Ohio State before losing to Maryland in the championship game. The following year in 2018, they fell in the 8/9 game against Rutgers and last season they were the 11 seed and beat Illinois and Nebraska before losing to the #2 seed Iowa in the quarterfinals.
Over that same time, Michigan State was the 6th seed in 2017 and got wins against Wisconsin and Michigan on their way to the semifinals before losing to eventual Big Ten Tournament champions Maryland. In 2018, as the #10 seed, they fell against Indiana in a 40T thriller during their first game. Finally, last season Sparty beat Northwestern as the #9 seed and then lost to Maryland who won their second Big Ten Tournament in three seasons.
The winner of this game will go on to face Maryland who is the 1 seed who beat both Purdue and Michigan State by more than 40 points. First, the Boilermakers will need to take care of business as they travel to Bankers Life Fieldhouse to battle the Spartans on Thursday at noon. All Big Ten Tournament games will be on BTN until the Championship game which will be shown on ESPN 2.
You can view the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament bracket here.