Game 26 Preview: #2 Purdue @ Ohio State

On3 imageby:Brian Neubert02/17/24

brianneubert

Matt Painter On Ohio State

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Second-ranked Purdue visits Ohio State Sunday on a strange day for the Buckeyes, who’ll be playing their first game since the firing of Coach Chris Holtmann.

DETAILS: Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024 | 1 p.m. ET | TV: CBS (Tom McCarthy, Jim Spanarkel) | Radio: Purdue Radio Network

PURDUE (23-2, 12-2 B1G): ROSTER | SCHEDULE | STATS
OHIO STATE (14-11, 4-10 B1G): ROSTER | SCHEDULE | STATS

TeamAPCoachesNETKenPomKenPom Win%
Purdue222380%
Ohio State716720%

A FEW THINGS ABOUT PURDUE

• Winner of nine straight, Purdue holds a two-game lead in the Big Ten race with only two more road games left after this one.

• Purdue has missed 10 or more free throws in three of the past four games. Now, that’s obviously only possible when you get to the line a lot. But a few more percentage points on its 70.7-percent clip in Big Ten play would make a big difference.

The one-and-one has been a mixed bag for Purdue.

• The Boilermakers are No. 1 in the Big Ten in two-point field goal percentage defense, at 46.1 percent.

A FEW THINGS ABOUT THIS GAME

• Jake Diebler, a member of Holtmann’s staff the past four-and-a-half seasons, is the Buckeyes’ interim coach. Former Purdue staff member Jack Owens remains on staff and does have head coaching experience from his time at Miami (Ohio).

• Point guard Bruce Thornton averages a team-high 15-plus-points per game and has only turned the ball over 27 times through 25 games. He’s big and physical and difficult to stay in front of, but a bit streaky.

The Buckeyes do have a good backcourt with Thornton and Roddy Gayle.

• Minnesota transfer Jamison Battle is a 43-percent three-point shooter who Purdue’s forwards will need to stick to on the perimeter.

• The Buckeyes will rotate at the 5 between Felix Okpara and Zed Key, each of whom have struggled against Zach Edey in the past. Okpara is bigger and more experienced, though, than he was last season, and Key is leaner, though that may not be great news for him vs. Edey.

• Ohio State has been a highly inefficient offensive team, shooting less than 51 percent effectively and less than 34 percent from three-point range.

In Big Ten play, the Buckeyes’ effective field goal percentage of 49.3 percent is 11th in the league, and its two-point and three-point splits are among the Big Ten’s worst.

• Big Ten teams are shooting 40.4 percent from three-point range vs. Ohio State.

DOMINATE INSIDEOHIO STATE’S GUARDSTHREES
Ohio State is going to have its hands full, obviously, with Edey and Purdue’s offensive rebounding, and had so much going on as a program this week that you wonder how deep the game plan can be.Everyone thinks bigger guards are an impossible matchup for Purdue, yet very rarely have they been. This is a big test, though, with Thornton and Gayle. Might be another important Ethan Morton game.Minnesota got hot. Nebraska got hot. Northwestern got hot. It’s just a matter of Purdue doing a little more to keep these teams from building momentum. Battle is the key.

GOLDANDBLACK.COM PREDICTION: PURDUE 83, OHIO STATE 72

You never know how teams are going to come out under interim coaches. A short-term energy bump is always possible, but that’s more likely when it’s a toxic situation prior. There’s no reason to think that’s the case at Ohio State. Regardless, upsetting Purdue would be a really tall order, especially on a Sunday afternoon in front of what’ll likely be a tepid crowd.

Click here to connect with Brian Neubert on X.

You may also like