Thirteen Big Ten games, zero road wins. This conference is either the craziest or the most predictable in the country. It’s certainly the best in the country. (Woot woot) With one more conference game to go before Christmas, we take a pause in Big Ten play to bring you some non-conference action tonight.
Game of the Night:
-Purdue Boilermakers at Ohio Bobcats
- Time/TV: 9:00 PM EST, ESPN2
- KenPom Spread: Purdue -11
I’m not sure why Purdue scheduled this game when they did, but coming off that road loss to Nebraska, a road trip to a MAC school all of a sudden looks a lot scarier than it did a few days ago. The Bobcats have gone pretty much according to schedule this season, winning the games they should have and losing the games they should have. The one exception was the season opener at St. Bonaventure, where they pulled off an impressive 12-point victory.
This Purdue team has started to resemble the Baby Boilers years... great defense, mediocre offense. Purdue is playing well enough defensively to beat anyone in the country. The offense has struggled with three things:
- Sasha Stefanovic is the only guy who can reliably hit a three
- They don’t get to the line very often
- When they do get to the line, they are awful
Interestingly, Ohio is one of the two worst teams in the country at free throw defense; opponents are making 82.1% of their foul shots. That’s pretty much random noise, but for Purdue fans who are looking for reasons to be optimistic, it’s something to latch onto.
But here’s the real reason Purdue fans should be optimistic—they have a better, longer, deeper team than the Bobcats do.
Of course there’s also the reason to be pessimistic—all those emotional memories of Purdue letting them down.
- Pick against the spread: Boilermakers
-Southeast Missouri State Redhawks at Ohio State Buckeyes
- Time/TV: 7:00 PM EST, BTN
- KenPom Spread: Ohio State -30
Yep, you read that right. Ohio State is favored by 30. Now, the Buckeyes are coming off a rough road loss of their own, but this is exactly the kind of tuneup they need to get their sea legs back.
The Redhawks are an unusual team. They don’t have a lot of size, but they still get the majority of their points from 2-point range and the free throw line. Getting to the line is about the only thing they do really well. Look for a lot of drives, and a lot of whistles. A beautiful game of basketball this is unlikely to be.
- Pick against the spread: Redhawks. 30 is a lot to ask for.