Two of the Big Ten's best get together in Columbus as Purdue visits Ohio State with a share of first place on the line for the Buckeyes. They've already met once this season with Evan Turner (32 points, nine rebounds) leading OSU to the 70-66 win in West Lafayette. But after dropping the following game at Northwestern, Matt Painter's squad has won seven straight to move into a tie in the loss column with Michigan State and Ohio State. The Buckeyes are also playing well, having won six straight and their last nine Big Ten games so something's got to give.
In the first meeting Turner scored 23 points in the second half and for the game Ohio State out-rebounded Purdue 34-26. The game also featured an unconscious first half from Robbie Hummel, who the Buckeyes were able to keep quiet in the final twenty minutes. The issue for Purdue on that night: big man JaJuan Johnson's inability to stay out of foul trouble. The less he's on the floor the easier it becomes for the Buckeyes to get to the rim and he's also Purdue's best scoring option on the block. If Johnson can stay on the floor this becomes a game that the Boilers can win. If not they can remain close but it will be even tougher to leave Columbus with the win. Offensively these are the Big Ten's two most efficient teams and defensively only Wisconsin is better. But thanks to Turner the Buckeyes are one of the conference's best rebounding teams while Purdue ranks in the bottom half of the league in conference games.
Ohio State's fortunes begin with Turner; Purdue has to limit his impact if they're to entertain any thoughts of winning. Other games on the schedule to keep an eye on include Florida State and Virginia getting together in a game that both teams could use for their resumes but will be far more important for the Cavaliers. Notre Dame and Louisville get together in a showdown of Big East bubble teams and Texas, who has lost five of their last seven, visits Missouri in a game that has the potential to go wrong in a hurry if the Longhorns don't take care of the basketball. And in the Atlantic 10 Saint Louis has the opportunity to go from "spoiler" to possible NCAA Tournament team due to their schedule to end the regular season. If Rick Majerus' young team can follow up their win over Dayton with one over Rhode Island, look out.
6:30p BTN Purdue at Ohio St
7p ESPN Duke at Miami
7p ESPN2 Notre Dame at Louisville
7p ESPNU Florida State at Virginia
9p ESPN2 Texas at Missouri
9p ESPNU Oklahoma at Colorado
9p CBS-College Wyoming at New Mexico
11p ESPN2 Louisiana Tech at Utah State
7p Akron at Miami (Ohio)
7p Tulsa at Marshall
7p Morgan St at Delaware St
7p Lafayette at Bucknell
7p Eastern Kentucky at Morehead St
7p Appalachian St at Charleston
7:30p Seton Hall at St. John's
8p Georgia at Tennessee
9p Rhode Island at Saint Louis
10:05p Pacific at Long Beach St
10:05p UC Santa Barbara at Cal-State Fullerton
Purdue over Ohio State: Very tough to pick against the Buckeyes in Columbus but it's also tough to see JaJuan Johnson end up in foul trouble as he did in the first meeting. Look for Johnson to win his individual matchup with Dallas Lauderdale when E'Twaun Moore makes the big shots down the stretch in a three-point Boilermaker victory.