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12/16 Big Ten Basketball Preview: Purdue Set To Host #20 Ohio State

NCAA Basketball: Indiana State at Purdue Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

There’s only one game tonight with Purdue hosting a top 20 Ohio State.

Game of the Night

#20 Ohio State Buckeyes at Purdue Boilermakers

  • Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET (BTN)

A game like this is always going be hard to predict. At home you have a Purdue team that last year could beat and lose to pretty much anyone. This Purdue team might not reach those same highs but so far this season that same inconsistency is still there. Also, while in years past playing at a sold out Mackey likely would have been the edge, will playing in a quiet and empty arena give the Boilermakers the same advantage?

Head coach Matt Painter was clearly looking to spark something with his team last time out when he started Zach Edey, Mason Gillis and Brandon Newman. When everything was said and done it looked to work as Trevion Williams exploded for 30 points and 11 rebounds while Aaron Wheeler added 10 points and 13 rebounds. Isaiah Thompson still struggled, totaling 1 rebound, 1 assist and 0 points in 27 minutes. But for the most part it appears Painters message was clear.

It’s safe to say Purdue is still looking to round out the rest of their team. The combination of Williams and Edey provides another traditionally strong 1-2 punch inside while Sasha Stefanovic is a lights out three point shooter. They’ll need more consistent production from Eric Hunter Jr., Newman, Thompson and Wheeler, though. Unfortunately at times Purdue falls into an offense that has one good center, one three point shooter and a whole lot of players that can’t consistently produce on the offensive side of the ball. Mix that with some streaky shooting and more than 15 turnovers per game and it’s safe to say Purdue has things to clean up. The Boilermakers might get a boost if Jaden Ivey can return to the lineup tonight.

Ohio State is 5-0 but they haven’t always impressed, allowing UMass-Lowell and Cleveland State to hang around. Things could get even trickier as the Buckeyes leading scorer and rebounder E.J. Liddell is currently still day-to-day with an undisclosed illness that could keep him out tonight. In their starting five last time out Ohio State didn’t have anyone taller than 6’8”, something that could prove problematic against the 7’4” Edey. That means they’ll need to rely heavily on Duane Washington Jr. and CJ Walker in the backcourt and hope they have a better shooting performance then they had against Cleveland State.

If Liddell plays tonight that will put Ohio State in a much better position. Purdue has the size advantage but will be missing out on the true Mackey experience, likely helping out Ohio State considerably. If Purdue can play more consistent basketball and clean up their mistakes, they should win. But until they prove they can actually do that on a consistent basis it’s hard to pick them here.

Pick: Ohio State