Monday, February 6, 2012
Can't back down
At 20-3 (8-2 in conference), the Buckeyes have won five straight games heading into Tuesday's nights match-up with Purdue.
Does Purdue have a chance to win?
Recent play by the Boilers says no. While the seventeen-point loss to Indiana on Saturday was a disappointment, it certainly wasn't an indicator of the entire game. Sure, they got beat and even Matt Painter said it would have been a shame if IU lost, but the final score doesn't tell the whole story. Purdue was within four points with just 4 minutes left.
The game vs IU does have the appearance of a bad loss - with that 17-point margin, at home - but Purdue doesn't have time to hang its head as it heads to Columbus to take on the #3 ranked team in the country.
Ohio State is a favorite close to that of the margin Indiana won by. Ohio State opens up as 15-point favorites. As it should be, Ohio State has won every home game (16), except for one, by 15 or more points. The only win that was less than 15 points was against Florida, where they won 7. They have been dominant at home and there's nothing that says - from the play of Purdue and the great play of Ohio State - this time will be any different.
After facing Cody Zeller Saturday, Purdue faces another one of the premiere big men in the country in Jared Sullinger. The sophomore is averaging 17.4 points per game to go along with 9.1 rebounds.
Similar to the other top teams in the country, however, is the amount of talent that surrounds their stars. William Buford, Deshaun Thomas, and Aaron Craft all seem to be future NBAers. Craft, who is arguably the best on ball defender in the country, presents a lot of problems for an ailing Lewis Jackson. Craft's quickness defensively matches Jackson's speed step for step. That's not good news for Purdue fans if Jackson can't get to the rack, because in seemingly every game this year where Purdue has excelled, he has been penetrating and creating things for the offense. On Tuesday night that will be tough to do.
Purdue enters this game at 15-8 (5-5 in conference). To expect a win at Ohio State would be unrealistic. I just want to see us play a solid game and build toward a successful end to the season. Purdue still has a chance to make the tourney, although that chance is dwindling.
The mindset of this Boiler team has to be different than that of mine, however. It needs to go in there thinking it can win. The last thing Purdue needs right now is to lose by 30. Purdue fans are questioning Matt Painter and the talent on this Purdue team. We don't want the players doing the same. Play together, play hard, and go out and fight.