Michigan State (18-13) vs. (9) Purdue (25-6)
Friday, March 11th, 6:30 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Andrew Gaddess, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Conseco Fieldhouse (18,345) -- Indianapolis, Indiana. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: Michigan State 12-3, Purdue 16-0. Away Record: Michigan State 2-8, Purdue 7-5. Neutral Record: Michigan State 4-2, Purdue 2-1. Conference Record: Michigan State 9-9, Purdue 14-4. Series Record: Purdue leads, 65-54
GAME NOTES: After concluding one of its finest regular seasons in program history, the ninth-ranked and second-seeded Purdue Boilermakers begin Big Ten Conference Tournament play with a quarterfinal matchup against the seventh- seeded Michigan State Spartans from Conseco Fieldhouse.
The victor of this evening's contest will advance to face the Penn State/Wisconsin winner in Saturday's semifinals.
Michigan State played its way into the quarterfinals on the strength of a 66-61 victory over Iowa in Thursday's opening round. Iowa, it should be noted, downed Purdue, 67-65, less than one week ago, in the Boilermakers' season finale. In a decidedly down year, the Spartans, who have played in the last two Final Fours, finished the regular season at 17-13 overall and 9-9 in Big Ten play.
Its loss to Iowa aside, 2010-11 marked a banner campaign for Purdue. The Boilermakers finished the regular season at 25-6 overall and 14-4 in conference and will enter the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 2 seed for the second consecutive year. Purdue now sits as one of just five Division I schools to have won at least 25 games in each of the last four seasons.
Purdue completed a season sweep of Michigan State this year and now leads the all-time series 65-45.
Michigan State barely squeaked by a pesky Iowa squad on Thursday, as the Hawkeyes' Matt Gatens missed a potential game-tying three-pointer with six seconds remaining, allowing the Spartans to breathe easy. Draymond Green led the team to victory, as he recorded a double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds. He was aided by Kalin Lucas, who scored 11 points and Keith Appling, who added 10. The Spartans played their typical brand of hard-nosed basketball in the win, limiting Iowa to 39.3 percent shooting, and posting a 39-31 rebounding advantage. Lucas, an All-Big Ten Second Team selection, paces the squad in scoring at 16.2 ppg, and ranks second in assists (104). Green, a third team honoree, leads the Spartans in rebounding (8.5) and assists (123), while ranking second in scoring (12.5 ppg). Durrell Summers adds 11.7 ppg, as Michigan State averages a pedestrian 69 ppg. In fact, the numbers are middling on both sides of the ball, as the Spartans rank seventh in the league in both scoring offense and scoring defense (66.7 ppg).
Purdue knows all too well the pesky nature of the Iowa Hawkeyes. Playing for a possible share of the Big Ten title and perhaps even a top-seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament, the Boilermakers were handed a stunning loss by the Hawkeyes, who were playing for little, other than pride. JaJuan Johnson had a typically stellar night in the loss, as he posted a double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds, but the Boilermakers were outhustled and suffered from woeful outside shooting. For the game, Purdue was outrebounded 48-40 by an Iowa squad which does little to intimidate with its inside play. In addition, the Boilermakers went just 5-of-25 from three-point range and shot just 36.2 percent from the field. Johnson was supported in the loss by Lewis Jackson and E'Twaun Moore, who scored 13 and 11 points, respectively. Consider the result an anomaly, as Purdue, led by Johnson, excels on both ends of the floor. Johnson, who nets 20.5 ppg, was recently named the Big Ten Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, becoming just the third competitor in Big Ten history to receive both awards in the same season, joining Michigan's Gary Grant and Illinois' Dee Brown. Johnson leads the league in blocks (2.5 bpg) and ranks third in total rebounds (8.3 rpg), defensive rebounds (6.1) and free throw percentage (87.6), while ranking fifth in offensive rebounds (2.3), 11th in steals (0.9 spg) and 14th in field goal percentage (48.2) in Big Ten games. He leads the Boilermakers to the second-ranked scoring offense (73.2 ppg) in the league, and its third-ranked scoring defense (61 ppg).
Expect Johnson & Co. to earn the win tonight, as they will prove too much for the underachieving Spartans.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Purdue 72, Michigan State 62
03/11 10:31:40 ET