Northwestern is statistically the worst rebounding team in the Big Ten.
Purdue hasn't held a rebounding edge in a game against conference competition this season.
For the Boilermakers to win today in Evanston, Ill., that must change.
Coach Matt Painter said he's tired of talking about rebounding because it's an area that has been drilled into his team from the beginning of the season.
"There are times you're behind plays, you simply have to go get the ball. Then when you're in position weak-side or you've challenged the shot, you've got to put a body on somebody and go get the basketball. We have to do a better job of emphasizing that and getting our guys to realize how important that is, and we've done that from Day 1. So they understand.
"We did a good job non-conference, and here the past five games, we've struggled with it."
Part of the effort to increase rebounding can be grabbing what Painter calls "50-50" balls. If a rebound is loose, it's a matter of chasing it down. He wants his group to show more hustle and toughness.
- Northwestern will offer Purdue its second consecutive game against a 1-3-1 zone. But Painter warns not to read too much into that, saying the 1-3-1 Ohio State used against Purdue in the first half Tuesday offered a different look because the Buckeyes have more length and are more athletic than the Wildcats. Purdue had 22 turnovers against Northwestern last season in Evanston but then had only seven against the Wildcats at home.
- Keep an eye on Robbie Hummel. Hummel dislocated the pinkie finger on his left hand late against the Buckeyes but came back into the game. Painter said Thursday he thinks Hummel will be fine. Hummel told reporters before Thursday's practice that he will play with the pinkie and ring finger taped together. It should help that the injury is to his non-shooting hand. X-rays were negative, according to Gold & Black Illustrated.