Michigan St.-Purdue Preview

Michigan State’s recent hot stretch began with a blowout victory

over Purdue nearly a month ago.

Not only are the seventh-ranked Spartans playing arguably their

best basketball of the season, they’ll be facing a short-handed

Boilermakers team in the rematch.

Michigan State seeks its seventh win in eight games Sunday

afternoon when it visits Purdue, which will be without Kelsey

Barlow and D.J. Byrd after they were involved in an off-court


The Spartans (21-5, 10-3 Big Ten) dominated the Boilermakers

83-58 in East Lansing on Jan. 21, shooting 60.0 percent while

holding Purdue to a 29.0 mark from the field.

That began a run of six victories in seven games, which includes

a 69-55 win over No. 15 Wisconsin on Thursday.

Draymond Green had 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. The

senior is averaging 15.2 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists,

putting him on pace to be the first player from a BCS conference to

hit those marks since Wake Forest’s Tim Duncan in 1996-97.

“That win says a lot,” Green said. “Wisconsin is not an easy

team to play against.”

Michigan State, which has won four straight, has six victories

over ranked opponents. No one has more.

Coach Tom Izzo is impressed with his team’s current run, though

Thursday’s game was the first of five in 13 days for the


“There are a lot of concerns,” Izzo said. “We’ve got four more

quick turnarounds.”

Izzo’s concerns seem minor compared to those of Purdue coach

Matt Painter, whose program has some off-the-court issues.

Painter dismissed Barlow from the team and suspended Byrd for

Sunday’s matchup after they were involved in an altercation at a

campus-area bar early Friday morning.

Barlow had started 22 games and averaged 8.3 points, while Byrd

averaged 16.8 points over his last five games.

“This is an unfortunate situation, but we will move forward as a

program,” Painter said. “We expect our student-athletes to live up

to a high standard, and when their actions become detrimental to

the program, there are consequences.”

Byrd scored 13 in Wednesday’s 67-62 win at Illinois. Robbie

Hummel scored a team-high 19 and Terone Johnson added 12 off the


Purdue (17-9, 7-6) has hopes of qualifying for the NCAA

tournament, but it badly needs a signature victory after losing

each of its first six contests versus ranked opponents.

That record is in large part due to Robbie Hummel’s struggles.

The team’s leading scorer is shooting 29.5 percent against Top 25

teams and missed all 11 field-goal attempts – hitting only a pair

of free throws – in the first meeting with the Spartans.

“The last couple games we’ve talked about how we have to

separate ourselves, and getting a win against (Michigan State)

would definitely separate us,” Johnson said.

By getting 18 of its many misses the first time, Purdue held a

34-33 rebounding edge over the Spartans, whose plus-10.0 rebounding

differential is among the nation’s best.

The Boilermakers, who have won four of the last five matchups at

Mackey Arena, also hope to slow Green. The three-year Spartans

captain had eight points, 12 boards and seven assists in the last


“He’s one of the best players – if not the best player – in the

conference and we’re going to do everything we can to stop him and

contain him,” Purdue guard Ryne Smith said.

Green has been held to single digits in six of his eight games

versus the Boilermakers.