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Opening Odds and Game Preview: #4 Purdue at Michigan State

The familiar foes meet for their one and only game of the regular season.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Purdue Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

#4 Purdue Boilermakers have won 9 of their last 10 games, despite some national skepticism over the style of some of those wins against the lower tiers of Big Ten competition.

Coach Izzo and his Spartans would trade anything for an ugly win. Michigan St. has lost 5 of their last 6 games, and their chances to grab some marquee wins late in the season have slipped through their fingers much like the basketball in game.

Izzo’s squad probably has some NBA talent on the wing, but they’re a sloppy team capable of knocking down perimeter shots, but consistently their lack of good guard play and play making has left the Spartans just short or in the case of their last game against Iowa, 26 points shy.

Purdue’s slowly evolved under Coach Painter. While you think of Purdue as a defensive program, the numbers show that it’s Purdue’s offense that’s really defined their last decade of play. This offense is the best one yet, with two elite bigs inside and perimeter shooting everywhere. Jaden Ivey has offered something even more rare - a top five lottery pick of a guard, strapped to a rocket and relentlessly attacking babe.

Coach Izzo’s Spartans are known for rebounding, defense, and disciplined play. Despite the 18-9 record, the Spartans don’t really excel at any of those things. They’ve rebounded the ball mediocre to not that good. It’s certainly not what you’re used to. Their wings lack the usual heft, and his bevvy of experienced and tough centers has dried up.

Instead he has skilled bigs, capable of knocking down shots, but struggling to make their mark in the paint. Joey Hauser, usually the perfect off the bench big capable of making shots and occasionally making plays, is one of Izzo’s most dependable play makers.

Izzo’s best player comes off the bench, Gabe Brown, and he’s the team’s leading scorer at just over 11 points, but he’s barely taking 16% of the shots when on the floor. (To put that in perspective, Isaiah Thompson is at about 14%.)

Marcus Bingham, maybe Izzo’s most dynamic player, has an assist rate under 3%, a laughably low mark that is half the rate of Mason Gillis’s assist rate.

The Spartans end of season, and each game really, goes as their two-headed point guard system goes. AJ Hoggard and Tyson Walker are two of the most prolific passers in the country. Hoggard’s assist rate is the highest in the country at just under 50%!!!! while Walker offers a little more in shot making. But Izzo has toggled back and forth between the two in his starting lineup, and late games struggles has fallen on their indecision and lack of ability to force defenses into tough decisions.

Michigan State is a bunch of wings that don’t pass and guards that don’t score. It’s created a strange deep but not dangerous squad, where no one averages 12 points a game. They shoot the three pointer well but not a lot, and their fingers either shoot or drive to the hoop relying on their length and athleticism to force difficult shots at the rim.

It’s antithetical to Purdue’s motion offense that depends on everyone being dangerous, everyone moving the ball, and orchestrating an offense that funnels inside and outside. On paper, Purdue is clearly the better team playing with rest and finding their shot again.

But Purdue is traveling on the road to the Breslin Center into a game that’s pretty much win for the Spartans after getting embarrassed by another offensive powerhouse in Iowa on Tuesday. Expect the crowd and players to really want this one and to bring the energy.

Purdue will be playing for the Big Ten Championship which is now fully in their hands to win. Win the last three and they’re the champs, all by themselves.

Izzo and Painter, two of the best coaches in the country, and a whole lot of March clarity in the making after this one. Doesn’t get any better than this.

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)