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Jackson, Rodriguez have history

Lewis Jackson has followed Joey Rodriguez for some time.

As a junior at Decatur High School, Jackson's team played in the Fort Myers Classic. Rodriguez was there playing, too.

"Every time he played (in college), I was just checking in," Jackson said. "I always kind of watched his game and just saw how he was doing."

On Sunday, the two point guards will play head-to-head for the first time.

Jackson leads No. 3 seed Purdue, and Rodriguez directs No. 11 VCU.

"I do remember watching him play in that tournament," Rodriguez said. "He's a great player. He runs their team. He runs the show for them. He does a really good job of that. He really handles the ball. It's going to be a tough matchup. I'm really impressed with him. I definitely got to bring my A-game."

Rodriguez wasn't the only one familiar with Jackson before watching Purdue game film.

VCU coach Shaka Smart said he developed a relationship with Jackson when he was recruiting him to play at Clemson.

"I thought he'd be terrific in our style of play there at Clemson," Smart said. "Of course, he soon after that committed to Purdue. But I followed his progress, and he's gotten better and better every year. He's always been a mature kid and kind of a very tough kid.

"He's going to be a great matchup for Joey. Hopefully, Joey will be a great matchup for him. Lewis is strong and tough and low to the ground. He can give people trouble. We've watched a lot of tape in the last 20 hours or so of him and the things that he does. We can't let him go nutty.

"In the games where he's had terrific offensive games, along with (JaJuan) Johnson and (E'Twaun) Moore doing what their usual deal, teams have been in trouble."