Greetings Hoops Fans! This is Dave Horning for HoopsOnLane.com Fan Podcast with a preview of the upcoming game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Purdue Boilermakers to be played on Wednesday, February 7th, 8:30pm Columbus Time, in West Lafayette Indiana at “Mackey Arena”, a circular arena that seats 14,264, and is considered by many as one of the loudest arenas in the nation due to its domed aluminum roof. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network, and broadcast on radio at The Fan 97.1 FM.
Yes, this is the biggest game of the year in the Big Ten – Purdue is ranked #3 in the AP and USA Today Coaches Poll, while Ohio State is now ranked #14 in the AP and #16 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. In Big Ten play, Purdue has a perfect record with 12 wins and no losses, in sole possession of first place. Ohio State is in sole possession of second place with a record of 11 wins against 1 loss.
The Purdue Boilermakers are a well-balanced team with 4 of 5 starters averaging in double digits, just like the Buckeyes. However, the Buckeyes will be without starter Kam Williams who is serving a suspension for unknown reasons.
Purdue is a very experienced team with 4 seniors and one sophomore in the starting lineup.
Let’s go right to the starting lineup and talk in depth about each player:
Starting at Center – Number 44 – 7 foot 2 inch Senior Isaac Haas – averages 15 points a game and is the second leading rebounder. His weight is listed at 290 pounds, so he is a big man in every sense of the word – but he is not the tallest Purdue player! His replacement, Number 32, Freshman Forward Matt Haarms, is listed at 7 foot 3 inches, but “only” 250 pounds. These two will provide a strong challenge for the Buckeyes Kaleb Wesson and Micah Potter, who are both 6-9.
Isaac Haas, Kaleb Wesson and Micah Potter are similar in that they all have a nice shooting touch around the basket. They do not need to rely on the dunk to score. Haas makes 62% of his shots from the field and 78% of his free throws. He has not attempted a 3-point shot all sesason. By comparison, Kaleb Wesson is making 58% of his shots from the field and 60% of his free throws. Micah Potter is making 52% of his field goal attempts, and 77% of his free throws.
Although Isaac Haas has not made a 3-point attempt this year, his back-up, Matt Haarms has shot 7 and made 1 for 14%. Here is one area where the Buckeyes can point to an advantage – Kaleb Wesson and Micah Potter have attempted 25 3-pointers and have made 8 for 32%. So, the Buckeyes dominate in 3-point shooting from the Center postion – and, yes, I am grasping at straws here looking for areas where the Buckeyes hold the edge over this great Purdue team!
At the #2 Position – Power Forward – the Boilermakers will start Number 12 – 6-7 Senior Vince Edwards who is averaging 16 points a game. Vince Edwards is from Middletown, Ohio and attended Middletqon High School – the same school that Jerry Lucas graduated from in 1958. Vince finished his high school career as Middletown’s second all-time leading scorer behind Lucas.
When Edwards was in high school, the Buckeye coaches were targeting highly touted national players, and more often missing that landing them. There were many Ohio players who were passed over by the Buckeyes during this period, including Vince Edwards, Luke Kennard, Trey Burke, and Dakota Mathias.
Vince Edwards is Purdue’s leading rebounder, surpringly ahead of 7’2” Isaac Haas. He is the second leading scorer, averaging 16 point a game. He is making 43% of his 3-point shots. It will be great to see him matched up against Keita Bates-Diop, both 6-7, great rebounders and scorers. That’s Number 12 – Vince Edwards.
Playing at the Small Forward or Third-Guard, or should we call it the Shooting Forward position, is Number 31 – 6-4 Senior Dakota Mathias who played is high school ball at Elida High School in Elida, Ohio, a small town just outside Lima, where he was the Ohio Division II Player of the Year and first-team All-State. Mathias has made 67 of 143 3-point attempts for a 47% average – he is Purdue’s leading 3-point threat. He is also leading Purdue in assists, That’s Number 31 – Dakota Mathias. It should be fun watching him match-up against Jae’Sean Tate – I think Tate is stronger underneath while Mathias is obvioulsy the better 3-point threat. That’s Number 31 – Dakota Mathias.
At the Shooting Guard position is Number 3, 6-1 Sophomore Guard Carsen Edwards – Purdue’s leading scorer who averages 17 points a game. Edwards is making 40% of his 3-point shots and he is the one with the quickest trigger. Which Buckeye will be guarding Number 3 – Carsen Edwards? Will it be Andre Wesson getting the start again in place of Kam Williams? That’s Number 3 – Purdue’s leading scorer – Carsen Edwards.
And, finally, at the Point Guard position is Number 11 – 5-10 Senior Guard PJ Thompson, the only Purdue starter not averaging in double digits, but a shooter who is making 49% of his 3-point shots. It will be fun watching PJ Thompson against the Buckeyes CJ Jackson – PJ versus CJ – very similar games.
Purdue is coached by Matt Painter, a former Purdue player and the successor to Purdue’s legendary Gene Keady. Matt is in his 13th season as Head Coach.
And what can we say about the Ohio State Buckeyes that hasn’t been said already. Under first year Head Coach Chris Holtmann, this team has over-achieved all expectations, and there are few who will expect Ohio State to have much of a chance on the road against Purdue. No predictions will be given here – I’m just looking forward to a great game. The key to the game for the Buckeyes? There are no keys – Purdue is a great team with senior leadership, so the Buckeyes will need to play great in every aspect of the game.
Ohio State’s Starting Lineup will probably be:
Number 34 – 6-9 Freshman Center Kaleb Wesson – can he stay out of foul trouble against 7-2 Isaac Haas?
Number 33 – 6-7 Junior Power Forward Keita Bates-Diop – the Big Ten’s leading scorer averaging 20 points per game;
Number 20 – 6-6 Sophomore Forward Andre Wesson – the replacement for Kam Williams against Illinois and likely against Purdue;
Number 3 – 6-1 Junior Shooting Guard or Point Guard CJ Jackson, the team leader in assists and second in scoring;
and, finally, Number 1 – 6-4 Senior Jae’Sean Tate, Point Guard or Small Forward, the dynamo who never quits and is a capable scorer, rebounder, shot blocker, ball stealer and assist giver.
Ohio State is coached by Chris Holtmann, in his first year.
Purdue won its last game on Saturday at Rutgers by the score of 78 to 76. So, Purdue is showing some vulnerability – Purdue made only 23 field goals compared to 31 for Rutgers, and Rutgers out-rebounded Purdue 37 to 25. Purdue won the game at the free throw line, making 25 of 29 free throws, whereas Rutgers had only 10 free throw attemts, making 8.
Maybe Purdue was over-looking Rutgers in anticipation of playing Ohio State. Maybe Purdue will over-look Ohio State in anticipation of its next game – an away game at Michigan State.
The game is Wednesday, February 7 at 8:30pm EST on the Big Ten Network and on radio at The Fan 97.1 FM. Don’t miss it!
This is Dave Horning for HoopsOnLane.com Fan Podcast. Go Bucks!