Intriguing night in Big Ten basketball tonight, as three potential NCAA tournament teams try to boost their resumes with big wins. In the first game of the night number 20 Ohio State starts their road trip (4 of the next 5 games on the road) by visiting a hot Purdue team having won three in a row. The second match up has DJ Newbill and Penn State traveling to 17th ranked Maryland.
Game of the Day
#20 Ohio State (17-5, 6-3) at Purdue (14-8, 6-3) 6:30 ET on BTN
With both teams headed into tonight's game having won three straight and both having two of the three coming against ranked opponents, a win tonight could really draw some attention to either one of these teams. Ohio State seems to be a lock on making in to the tournament, but traveling to Purdue is no easy task as they have knocked off the last two ranked opponents at Mackey Arena. On the other hand Purdue is flirting with a bubble spot, as they continue to try and climb the ladder with win tonight.
How does Ohio State win?
D'Angelo Russell, that's all that needs to be said when it comes to Ohio State's success. The freshman is leading the team in points (19.4 ppg), rebounds (5.6), and is second in steals (1.8 ppg), and assists (5.2 ppg). The second key to this game is the Buckeyes offense, as they average 80 points per game which is good enough to be 16th in the nation, but tonight they play a team that prides itself on the defensive end in the Boilermakers. The final key to the game will be how Ohio State responds to the Purdue home crowd, the Buckeyes are only 2-3 on the road this season, with those two wins coming at Minnesota and Northwestern.
How does Purdue win?
Tonight's game plan should be similar to that of last week's against Indiana, don't let this game turn into a track meet. With Ohio State being a high scoring offensive team, Purdue does not have the scorers to run and gun with them. Offensively the Boilermakers need to continue to get the ball into the post to AJ Hammons (11 ppg) and Isaac Haas (9.2) and score from the inside out. The final key to the game is to continue to let the emergence of Rapheal Davis (10.8 ppg) shine, Davis is averaging 18 points a game the last four games, all coming based off the effort put in on the defensive side of the court leading to easy baskets.
Penn State (14-8, 2-7) at #17 Maryland (18-4, 6-3) 8:30 ET on BTN
Although Penn State has only won 2 of their last 8 games this season, all six of those losses have been single digit losses, including a two point loss this weekend at Illinois. The Nittany Lions are led by high scoring DJ Newbill who averages 20.1 points per game. The Terrapins are on the other side of conference and join both teams in the first match up of the day with a 6-3 conference record. Led by freshman Melo Trimble (15.7 ppg), Maryland almost has to win tonight if they want to land a top seed in the conference tournament.