Ohio State has a really big game Sunday night — against a really good opponent.
Purdue has won seven of its last eight games and comes to Columbus a half-game out of second place in the Big Ten. Nobody’s catching Wisconsin, but the top four teams get first-round byes in the conference tournament.
Purdue is dangerous because the Boilermakers are experienced, confident and big. 7-foot junior A.J. Hammons and 7-foot-2 freshman Isaac Haas can score on the block and get Purdue out on the fast break off of missed shots. Hammons leads Purdue in scoring at 11.3 point per game, just ahead of Rapheal Davis at 10.9.
Purdue ranks 15th in the country in blocked shots, is outrebounding opponents by more than five per game and has held six of its last seven opponents to 63 points or fewer.
Purdue won the first meeting with Ohio State, 60-58, in West Lafayette on Feb 4.
Purdue is 19-9, 11-4 in the Big Ten. Ohio State is 20-8, 9-6 in the Big Ten and a game out of fourth place heading into Sunday’s action.
Freshman D’Angelo Russell leads Ohio State at 18.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game but has been held to 17 points or fewer in the last four games. Ohio State will need to be good on the glass and try to hold Purdue to one shot and will do so again without injured big man Anthony Lee.
Russell scored 20 points but needed 18 shots to get there in the first meeting. Purdue outrebounded Ohio State in that game, 33-31, got 11 offensive rebounds and blocked nine shots. Davis led Purdue with 20 points.