Records: Purdue (10-3), Ohio State (13-0)
When: 1 p.m. today
Where: Mackey Arena, West Lafayette
Radio: 1380 AM
Purdue leaders: Terone Johnson (14.0 ppg), A.J. Hammons (6.8 rpg), Ronnie Johnson (3.7 apg)
Ohio State leaders: Lenzelle Smith Jr. (13.4 ppg), Amir Williams (7.2 rpg), Aaron Craft (4.6 apg)
Key matchup: Purdue guards Ronnie Johnson, Terone Johnson and Bryson Scott vs. Ohio State G Aaron Craft: Everything begins for Ohio State with Craft, the pre-eminent point guard in the Big Ten. He can score enough (9.5 ppg) to draw defensive attention, which is why the Buckeyes’ 3-point shooters (Smith with 25, LaQuinton Ross with 20) are shooting .446 and .392 from beyond the arc, and why Williams is getting sufficiently open down low to shoot 63.6 percent and collect 36 offensive boards. Some combination of the Johnsons (Terone has 13 steals) and Scott (who has a team-high 18 steals in just 17.5 minutes per game) must find a way to get in Craft’s way for Purdue to have a shot.
The skinny: Purdue’s three losses have been by double digits to Oklahoma State and Washington State and by six to Butler, so it’s hard to say how impressive their 10-3 record is. They are, however, coming off a 73-70 win over West Virginia a week ago in which the Johnsons combined for 34 points – Terone had 20 – and A.J. Hammons had a dozen rebounds. Ohio State, on the other hand, has beaten Marquette, Maryland and Notre Dame and not much of anyone else. The Buckeyes had to come from behind to beat the Irish by three in the Gotham Classic, led by Ross’ 16-point, 11-rebound double-double Purdue, 16-18 last year, lost by 10 to the Buckeyes in West Lafayette.
– Ben Smith, The Journal Gazette