TIME / TV: 9:00pm ET on ESPN
When the 12th-ranked Purdue Boilermakers take the court against the top-ranked Ohio St. Buckeyes tonight, they will be looking to tie themselves for first place with the Buckeyes in the Big Ten.
This is Purdue's first game against the number one team in the country since 2007, when they fell 63-52 to Ohio State. This time, Purdue will try to come out on top as they battle yet another, number one Ohio State squad.
Purdue's JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore will look to lead the Boilers to their school's first win over the top ranked team in men's basketball since 2000.
The Buckeyes have played close games as of late, but it is the Big Ten, and you are expected to be tested from game to game. It is difficult to beat the Buckeyes at home, Purdue never had won in Value City Arena until last year. The Boilermakers also lead every series with every Big Ten team in men's basketball, but only lead Ohio State by one game. If Ohio State wins, Purdue can no longer say that, as the series between them will be tied.
In Ohio State's last game against the Fighting Illini on the road, they were down by eight in the second half before taking charge and going on a monstrous run to go ahead by eight. They would never look back.
In Purdue's last game they played Michigan State, in a game that was expected to be close, Purdue took a ten point advantage at the half and they never let Michigan State get within six the rest of the way.
Tonight, both teams meet head to head, in a battle for first.
E'Twaun Moore of Purdue had recently been in a shooting slump, but a break out 26 point game by Moore last game, makes it look as if he is out of that slump. Purdue will need him and his points if they want to down Ohio State.
The other key players for Purdue will be JaJuan Johnson, who will need to have a high scoring game and he will need to help the team rebound. Rebounding has been difficult for the Boilers ever since Hummel went down, they are improving and will need possessions in this game.
Ohio State's Jared Sullinger is averaging a double double per game, with 17.9 points and 10.2 rebounds. There are so many scoring threats on the Buckeyes squad that it will be hard to contain them all. It is never an easy task to ask a player to guard Sullinger. He is one of the front runners for the national player of the year.
Seeing him and Purdue's Johnson on the same floor will be interesting. They are the same type of player for their teams, yet their styles of play are so different.
A very important key to the game is defense. Both teams need to contain the other teams star players.
Whoever comes out on top, will be the team that puts the most into it. You can not hold back in a game like this. Whoever pours their heart and soul into it more, will win.