The seconed-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes basketball team heads to West Lafayette this afternoon to take on a red-hot Purdue Boilermaker team that has won 3-straight games, including a 70-62 win over the same Wisconsin team that beat Ohio State last weekend. Purdue is now 21-5 on the season, 10-3 in the Big Ten.
The Buckeyes, of course, lead the Big Ten, with just that loss to the Badgers. Thad Matta's team is 8-1 in true road games and sit at 25-1 on the season.
Purdue owns an 82-76 series lead over Ohio State, but the Buckeyes won the first meeting this season by an 87-64 final in Columbus.
The Buckeyes are loaded with talent in the starting lineup, as four players are averaging double figures in scoring. It all starts with standout freshman forward Jared Sullinger, who is netting 17.8 ppg on 56.4 percent shooting from the field. More than just a scorer, Sullinger is ripping down 10.0 rpg and figures to get some consideration for Big Ten Conference Player of the Year. William Buford provides 14.2 ppg for OSU, which is getting 12.3 ppg from David Lighty and 11.1 ppg from Jon Diebler. The Buckeyes are posting 77.2 ppg on 49.5 percent field goal efficiency, and they are limiting foes to just 58.4 ppg on 42.3 percent shooting. Buford scored 23 points in the win over Michigan State on Tuesday, while Lighty and Diebler added 12 points apiece. As for Sullinger, he provided 11 points in one of his more quiet efforts of the season. The Buckeyes committed just seven turnovers in that clash while forcing 19 giveaways, and a 23-5 edge in points from the foul line was another obvious key to victory.
Only twice this season has a player other than JaJuan Johnson or E'Twaun Moore led Purdue in scoring. Johnson, a talented forward/center, paces his squad with 20.7 ppg and 7.8 rpg while shooting 50 percent from the floor. As if those numbers aren't impressive enough, he has blocked 60 shots as well. Moore checks in with 17.9 ppg on 40.1 percent shooting from three-point range for the Boilermakers, who are generating 73.6 ppg while limiting opponents to 61.0 ppg. A key for Purdue thus far has been that it has committed 105 fewer turnovers than foes. The Boilermakers committed just four giveaways in the win over Wisconsin last time out, and Johnson came through with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Moore added 19 points, and Lewis Jackson was close behind with 18 points.
This game will be much closer than the first meeting between these rivals, but the outcome will be the same. Expect the Buckeyes to complete the season sweep of the Boilermakers.
GAME NOTES: The second-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes and 11th-ranked Purdue Boilermakers will collide this afternoon in what is sure to be a competitive Big Ten Conference affair.
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mackey Arena (14,123) -- West Lafayette, Indiana. Television: CBS. Home Record: Ohio State 17-0, Purdue 14-0. Away Record: Ohio State 8-1, Purdue 5-4 Neutral Record: Ohio State 0-0, Purdue 2-1. Conference Record: Ohio State 12-1, Purdue 10-3. Series Record: Purdue leads, 82-76.