The big matchup of the day in the Big Ten is taking place in West Lafayette, where College Gameday is originating from Michigan State's game with Purdue Saturday evening at 9:00 on ESPN.
The No. 18 Spartans (12-6, 4-2) are coming off their second straight road loss at Illinois on Tuesday. The Fighting Illini held Michigan State to 37.5% shooting overall on the evening and 26.9% from the arc. The Spartans did manage to win the battle on the boards, though, which included an impressive 17 offensive rebounds.
The No. 13 Boilermakers (16-3, 5-1) got a real scare from Penn State at home on Wednesday night, trailing as late as 5.4 seconds remaining in the game. Purdue yielded 52% shooting for the Nittany Lions and lost the rebounding battle. The Boilermakers did limit their turnovers to three, however, a big reason they were able to escape with a win.
Keys to the game after the jump.
When Michigan State Has The Ball
- Though Kalin Lucas and Durrell Summers are Michigan State's leading scorers, Draymond Green has taken a more active role in the scoring when the Spartans win in the last few weeks. If you're Tom Izzo, you want to see him get going, and if you're Matt Painter, you want your guys to try and stop him as best they can.
- If Sparty can get to the offensive glass as effectively as it did against Illinois, Purdue will have a very hard time dealing with that. Michigan State must be aggressive on the boards in its offensive end.
When Purdue Has The Ball
- Purdue's JaJuan Johnson has had 25 points or more in the Boilers' last three games. He's looking unstoppable at the moment, and as dangerous as E'Twaun Moore is, Michigan State needs to make it a priority to slow down Purdue's big guy.
- Purdue would love to see Ryan Smith, Kelsey Barlow and/or Lewis Jackson to step up with some supplementary scoring in this one.
Both of these teams have looked very vulnerable lately, so this won't be a matter of which team is hotter or anything like that. This one will be a question of which team can step up most in the big moment best. Michigan State will probably be a little more desperate, though. trying to avoid its seventh loss on the season.