When That Matta's Buckeyes visit West Lafayette Sunday, they will look to build on their success from the two teams' first meeting of the season, a convincing rout that saw the Boilers fall 87-64 in Columbus. The Buckeyes built a successful game plan to utilize their host of shooters by forcing Purdue to double team freshman sensation Jared Sullinger in the paint. Ohio State shot 57% from three-point range, hitting a total of eleven.
In order to counter, Purdue must defend its home court's perimeter closely, and let JaJuan Johnson bang down low with Sullinger. The All-American Boilermaker must be able to handle Ohio State's lauded big man alone to allow the rest of Purdue's squad to focus on defense outside, something they exhibited quite well in their last win over Wisconsin. Defense will be the determining factor as it has been in so many Big10 powerhouse matches over the years. Purdue has a chance to put some proof to the catch phrase used by its student section: "Defense Lives Here."
An Ohio State victory surely locks up the Big10 title race for the Buckeyes, barring any form of a complete breakdown over the remainder of the season. A win by the Boilers not only keeps them in the hunt for the Big10 title, but gives Wisconsin a chance as well. Purdue is currently two games back, with Wisconsin one game behind them. Purdue can also make a strong case for a 2 seed in the NCAA tournament with a win that would likely put momentum squarely behind them for the rest of their regular season games.