15 January 2010

Countdown to Purdue at Northwestern

#6 Purdue (14-2, 2-2 Big Ten) visits the Welsh on Saturday January 16 at 4:30PM Central to take on Northwestern (12-4, 1-3). The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network and WGN 720AM will have the radio coverage.

Last year the two teams split the season series as neither squad was able to defend its home court. The game at the Welsh was especially painful for NU fans as Northwestern was unable to hold onto a 10 point lead with less than 8 minutes to play in the game. If any of you masochists wishes to relive this painful game then click here.

Purdue is a better team this year which is a scary thought. Last year Robbie Hummel was slowed by a bum back. This year he is healthy save for a dislocated pinky finger suffered in Purdue's most recent game. Furthermore Purdue returns all of its major contributors from last season so they are squad that is "a year older, a year wiser."

To make matters worse Purdue steams into Evanston with a sense of urgency. The Boilermakers are riding a two game losing streak and facing a two game deficit to Michigan State. Expect their A game.

NU is also motivated for this game. Not only does this squad want to avenge last year's meltdown but also NU is off to a slow start in Big Ten play. NU lost a valuable opportunity to make a statement against Bucky on Wednesday, but that can be salvaged with a victory over Purdue.

What to expect? Last year NU had decent success against Purdue. NU's defense caused Purdue to turn the ball over, and NU's offense was able to generate good looks at the basket. Matt Painter is no Bo Ryan so if NU can once again execute on both ends of the court then a victory is possible. Robbie Hummel is the x-factor as he was extremely hot in Purdue's last game until he dislocated his finger. Will the finger affect his shot? NU can only hope this to be the case.