01 February 2013

Preview: Purdue at NORTHWESTERN

Saturday's game at The Welsh is a battle of equals and a must win if NU is to make a run at a fifth consecutive NIT.  Purdue is 4-4 in B1G and NU is 3-6 but those records are misleading.  NU has gone through the meat grinder while Purdue has most of its grinding ahead.
Don’t take our word for it.  Kenpom has NU at #89 (the same as at the start of the season! But we digress) and Purdue #78.  NU is predicted to win by three points and has a 60% probability of winning. 

  • Purdue has been poor away from WL (Clemson excepted); NU has been poor at WR (Minny excepted)
  • Both teams are struggling on offense and showing sporadic improvement on defense.
  • Neither team can shoot free throws.
  • Both teams are poor at grabbing defensive rebounds.

  • It was news to us that Purdue is B1G’s most interior-oriented team.  2pters account for highest percentage of points which is partly a reflection of their propensity to effectively crash the offensive glass (#3/12).
  • NU likes to jack 3 pters.  Don’t be surprised to see NU:Purdue attempts about 2:1.
  • Purdue can block shots and NU gets shots blocked often.
  • NU gets to the line often making poor FT shooting a bigger problem.
  • NU likes to steal the ball while Purdue does not.  This is good for NU because Purdue is turnover prone.
Skinny on Purdue Players
  • Byrd can shoot from distance.  Can’t leave him.  Terone Johnson is so-so.
  • Hammons is inconsistent.  Contest his shot and he is likely to miss even from close range.

Keys to Game
1.  Alex Olah staying between Hammons and the rim. 
2.  Stay in Byrd’s hip pocket.
3.  Win the turnover battle
4.  Drive and dish

We'd also like to see NU try to crash the offensive boards early.  If Purdue burns NU for fast break points then abandon that strategy.