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Opening Odds and Game Preview: #2 Purdue vs Florida State ACC/B10 Challenge

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#2 Purdue will host an injured Florida St. squad in Mackey Arena for the ACC/B10 Challenge.

Syndication: Journal-Courier Nikos Frazier / Journal & Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

#2 Purdue got a shiny new ranking, their highest since March of 1988, and Florida St. will come into Mackey Arena missing two starters and a backup big.

That explains then why Draftkings has Purdue as 11 point favorites against the Seminoles. Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.

Sad stuff first, Florida St. will be without their starting point guard, RayQuan Evans, as he attends his brother’s funeral. Obviously Boiler nation’s thoughts are with Evans and his family.

The game and the rest of the notes seem trivial in comparison to that, but I guess that’s what we’re here for.

The Seminoles will also be without their starting Center, Tanor Ngom (7’2”), who is suffering from a right knee strain and a reserve Center Naheem Mcleod (7’4”) who had a sprained ankle.

The Boilermakers are not a team you want to be without your best playmaker and two of your big guys. Zach Edey and Trevion Williams have somehow been better than advertised. Together the two big men are shooting over 70% from the floor. When this game was initially scheduled, it seemed like the Seminoles might be one of the few times with the vertical size to at least match up with the Boilermakers.

As it is, the Seminoles will be down to just one above seven footer, a rarely played freshman, John Butler.

These two programs are no strangers to each other. They’ve played twice in the last few regular season. Florida St. had a come from behind win in an ACC/B10 matchup in the 2018/19 season and then picking up a 63-60 over time win against the 2020 Boilermakers.

Leonard Hamilton’s teams are always defensive oriented and athletic teams that play an aggressive trapping defense. They will challenge Purdue’s guards to play smart and aggressive, not turning the ball over and feeding into the Seminole’s transition attack.

The Seminoles will need all the easy baskets they can muster without their lead playmaker. They are a team that relies on attacking mismatches off the dribble and getting opposing offenses out of sync. They’re the 9th best team in the country at forcing turnovers. They’ve turned 27% of opposing team’s possession into turnovers.

Purdue on the other hand has struggled in its recent past with teams that really get on their guards. It will be on Jaden Ivey to lead the way and players like Isaiah Thompson and Eric Hunter Jr. to show the poise of experience and not get into bad situations where they’re trapped with the ball without easy outlets.

Purdue will need to limit turnovers and get the ball into their bigs, particularly Trevion Williams, whose wizardry passing will be a distinct advantage against a Seminole squad that loves to double and triple in the post. If Tre is able to get the ball clean, he’ll cut apart the Seminoles aggressive scheme. Without his usual bigs, Coach Hamilton will have to send help and that will mean open shooters for Purdue. That’s been a recipe for success all season.

Purdue is the 5th best three point shooting team in the country and 6th point inside the arc. If Purdue gets shots off, they go in. Seminoles will need to create a lot of chaos to keep this one close.

This will be a great test for Jaden Ivey and Sasha Stefanovic and their growth from last year. Can Ivey continue to attack aggressive defenses and create open shots for his teammates? Can Stefanovic get open on defense and hold his own against a bevy of guards that will aggressively attack him on the dribble. Stefanovic has not always been up to that assignment.

But this Purdue team has a chip on its shoulder despite the #2 ranking. There’s plenty around the country and I’m sure in the locker room that thought Purdue deserved their first #1 ranking in program history. I expect them to go out and make another statement at home against a depleted Florida State lineup.

Give me Purdue and the 11 points to cover.

Basketball GameDay Vitals

Northwestern Wildcats Record: 9-7, 2-5 Big Ten
Northwestern Wildcats Record: 9-7, 2-5 Big Ten
From: Evanston, IL
Game Location: West Lafayette, IN
Venue: Mackey Arena (14,804)
Odds: Purdue by 13
Date & Time: Sunday, January 23, 2022, 1pm ET
Streaming Radio TuneIn
TV: BTN
Live Stats: Purdue Sports
KenPom 57
NET 77
Blog Representation: InsideNU
2020-21 Record 8-15, 6-13 Big Ten
Postseason Result: None
NCAA Tournament History: 1 appearance, last in 2017
Series With Purdue: Purdue leads 132-47
Last Purdue win: 75-70 at Purdue on 2/6/2021
Last Northwestern win: 74-65 at Purdue on 3/9/2014
Coach: Chris Collins (126-140 in 9th year at Northwestern)