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Opening Odds and Game Preview: #6 Purdue vs. #16 Ohio St.

Purdue starts it’s marathon run of 5 games in 11 days with a top-twenty match-up in Mackey.

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Ohio State vs Purdue Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

A marquee match-up on Sunday afternoon. What’s better than that?

#6 Purdue 17-3(6-3) will play host to #16 Ohio St. 13-4(6-2) as the Big Ten starts to get into the meat of its schedule. The Buckeyes are one of four teams with just two losses, the Boilers have every two loss team still on their schedule.

Despite Jaden Ivey coming off the bench against Iowa on Thursday on the road, the Boilers are coming off a double-digit win where they dominated the Hawkeyes for most the game.
Ohio State has had a relatively easy time of things lately, having played just one game since January 18th, a 75-64 road win against Minnesota.

They should be well rested against a Purdue team that is in the midst of a grueling stretch of games thanks to having to fit another Michigan game into their schedule after the Michigan program had to shut their program down with COVID protocols at the start of the year.

Ohio St. has two really nice wins on their schedule: Duke and Wisconsin. A road win against Purdue would push them towards the top-10 in standings and be the difference in a 4 or 3 seed in March.

Purdue is securely squared as a two-seed. A dominant run through the rest of their Big Ten schedule would set them up for possible a one-seed. We’re at the stage of the season where each win or loss carries a lot of weight in the committee room for the NCAA Tournament.

As for what’s on the court, it will be another test for Purdue to lay claim as the undisputed Big Man U in the Big Ten.

E. J. Liddell has been terrific this season. He’s an all-around scorer and play maker that’s dangerous at every level on the court. A skilled bully shooting above 40% from three. He’s averaging 19.6 points a game, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.8 assists.

He’s one of the nation’s best players. A player of the year candidate for the Big Ten.

Something you could have said about both Trayce Jackson-Davis and Kofi Cockburn. Both those big men came up against the two-headed Center lineup of Zach Edey and Trevion Williams, and both had one of their worst performances of the year.

Ohio State has interesting depth of their own on the inside. Zed Key is a bowling ball, throwing himself in the lane and at the basket. Kyle Young has been at Ohio State forever and has lit Purdue up from the three-point line.

Coach Holtmann has bodies he can throw at the Big Maple and Williams. They all give up size to Edey, who doesn’t, but they’re experienced against Williams and have caused Purdue issues with their different skill sets. Williams is used to having some edge on his defender, whether it be his quickness for his size or his strength for his quickness. Ohio St’s bigs challenge both of those.

Edey on the other hand - Key has struggled to stay on the court at times. Can Edey get him in foul trouble early and force Liddell to guard him down in the post? Can Edey guard Liddell all over the floor or will Painter try to find a way to hide Edey when that match-up presents itself?

These are two of the Big Ten’s most versatile rosters. Both teams have shooters everywhere. The Buckeyes are the 32nd best team shooting from behind the arc, Purdue is second best. Both teams have struggled on the defensive end.

Most of Ohio State’s damage comes from their bigs. Purdue has shown a more balanced attack on offense. Purdue should have the guard advantage, particularly if Isaiah Thompson’s hot play continues after lighting up Iowa for a career-high 18 points.

Purdue has struggled this year against physical guards who get after them and try to force turnovers. That’s not been Ohio State’s game this year. They are one of the worst teams in the country at forcing turnovers, 308th most effective at it that is. They’re a disciplined team that tries to defend for thirty and force teams to beat them. Purdue is as disciplined and well ran an offense as their is in the country.

If Purdue’s guards outplay their opposition, they’re gonna win.

Jaden Ivey was clearly still suffering from his hip injury against Iowa and just two days rest can’t help with that much, but he was effective, explosive, and deadly from deep when he was on the floor. He scored 15 points in 21 minutes, knocking down 3 of his 4 three-pointers, and still looked explosive.

Ohio State does not have a player to match him.

Ohio State will have to muck up play in Mackey to have a chance and knock down their shots. Things they are definitely capable of doing. Liddell will have to be the first big to get the better of Edey and Williams if Ohio State can keep up on offense. Who will guard him will be the most intriguing question for Coach Painter. Against Iowa, Painter decided to go small for big parts of the second half with Ethan Morton. Against Liddell, if Key can stay on the floor, look for Gillis and Furst to be called on to take a big defensive burden.

But will Ohio State have any answers for Edey? Or Ivey? Or Sasha Stefanovic who has been a killer for this Purdue team. Williams is still due for a big game and his mojo to fully return.
A top 20 match-up on CBS will be a fun one.

Basketball GameDay Vitals

St. Peter's Peacocks Record: 21-11, 14-6 MAAC
St. Peter's Peacocks Record: 21-11, 14-6 MAAC
From: Jersey City, NJ
Game Location: Philadelphia, PA
Venue: Wells Fargo Center (19,500)
Odds: Purdue by 12.5
Date & Time: Friday, March 25, 2022, 7:09pm ET
Streaming Radio TuneIn
Live Stats: Purdue Sports
KenPom 101
NET 124
Blog Representation: None
2020-21 Record 14-11, 10-8
Postseason Result: None
NCAA Tournament History: 4th appearance. This is the first season they have won a game. 2017 CIT Champions
Series With Purdue: Purdue leads 1-0
Last Purdue win: 65-43 in Chicago, IL on 3/18/2011 (NCAA Tournament First Round)
Last St. Peter's win: None
Coach: Shaheen holloway (63-55 in 4th year at St. Peter's)