30 December 2010

Northwestern at Purdue pregame analysis

And so it begins. Northwestern (9-1) travels to West Lafayette to take on the Purdue Boilermakers (12-1) tomorrow night at 11AM central. ESPN2 and WGN have the call. The Boilers are a perfect 7-0 at Mackey but have yet to play any team of significance over there. Meanwhile Northwestern is 2-1 on the road which includes two wins against cream puffs and a loss to what appears to be a strong St John's squad. The Broilers are ranked #12 by the writers and #11 by the coaches. Northwestern is barely hanging on to the list of "others receiving votes."

This game is a study of contrasts. Purdue is known for its solid defense while Northwestern is known for its prolific offense. On the other side of the court Purdue's offense has been sluggish while Northwestern's defense has been mediocre at best. So it will be strength against strength in tomorrow night's game.

On the bright side Carmody's cagers have matched up well against Painter's playas in recent history. Northwestern won the match up in the Welsh last year and won down at Mackey the year before. Purdue did manage to eke out a win in the other game two years ago at the Welsh, but Northwestern had a big second half lead even there before inexperience reared its ugly head. Like this year Northwestern was a big underdog in both of those NU wins so the uphill battle this year may not be as daunting as it may appear on the surface.

On the dark side defense tends to trump offense when push comes to shove. The more pushing and shoving the refs allow in this game the more tilted in Purdue's favor it becomes. Also of concern is the status of John Shurna and JerShon Cobb. If either and/or both are not up to full speed this could very well be an ugly loss guys and girls.

Let's keep our fingers crossed that Johnny and JerShon are ready to go as a win tomorrow night would be a nice feather in our cap and a great way to start off a tough stretch to begin the Big Ten season.

Magic number update: 11