Date: Saturday, January 6th
Time: 1:15pm CST
Location: West Lafayette, IN
Coach: Matt Painter (13th Season)
2016-17 Record: 27-8 (14-4 Big Ten)
2017-18 Record: 14-2 (3-0 Big Ten)
The Boilermakers had a very nice run in 2016-17. They won the Big Ten regular season championship before the fell to Michigan in the quarterfinals in the Big Ten Tournament. It was a tough 4 point loss in overtime that kicked them out of the tournament.
They then found themselves at the #4 seed in the Midwest Region of the NCAA Tournament. There the Boilermakers defeated Vermont and then Iowa State before being defeated by Kansas in the Sweet Sixteen.
Forward Caleb Swanigan was the undisputed star of the team last year. The sophomore was named unanimous All Big Ten First Team, Big Ten Player of the Year, Associated Press All Big Ten First Team, and Associated Press Big Ten Player of the Year. Lucky for Nebraska he declared for the NBA draft and went in the 1st round to Portland.
Dakota Mathias also received notable awards making the All Big Ten Honorable mention for both coaches and media and the All Big Ten defensive Team.
Purdue is on another run for the Big Ten conference title this season. They are currently 14-2 with their only losses to Tennessee and Western Kentucky in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament. Both were close games with Tennessee going into overtime. On paper Purdue is easily the better team of all three here. However, both the Volunteers and Hilltoppers cam out to play and the Boilermakers did not. That pretty much sums up why Purdue left the Bahamas with their only two losses and no tournament championship.
However, they did end the tournament with one last decent win against #2 Arizona who also struggled in the islands. They too had two losses there. However, Purdue was able to regroup better than Arizona and beat the Wildcats in a 89 to 64 beat down.
Purdue came back the states and has yet to lose a game since. They beat #17 Louisville 66-57 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge in a year where the ACC dominated their games. They then went to Maryland and won a tough game 80-75. Since then they have thoroughly beat down every team that has come in their path.
The Boilermakers are lead by sophomore Carsen Edwards. The 6’1” guard is averaging 17.4 ppg, 41. rpg, and 2.7 apg. He may not big big but he is a huge threat for the team. He could very well be the best guard the Huskers have seen so far this season. It doesn’t matter who is on him, they will have their hands full. He is shooting 49% from the floor and 36% from beyond the arch. You will hear his name a lot on Saturday, and it will most likely not be good for the Huskers.
Vincent Edwards is another carryover from last years squad that you might remember. 6’8” senior forward is averaging 13.6 ppg, 8.5 rpg, and 2.4 apg. He’s become a rebounding machine and will most likely dominate the paint for most of the night. Jordy will have his hands full as will all of our big men. If the Huskers can’t make their shots, the will have to battle down low without getting into foul trouble. The last thing Nebraska needs is inexperienced players going against Edwards.
Other players to keep an eye on are Issac Haas who has 14.8 ppg and 5.4 rpg on the year and Dakota Mathias who is averaging 13.4 ppg. Dakota started the season a little slow but has caught on well and his shots have been better than ever.
This is your basic big, bad, and athletic Purdue team. they will make the shots and rebound like no other team. If Nebraska comes out hot then I see this could be a close game. However, Purdue is easily one of the top two teams with Michigan State this season. Nebraska is doing well, but not well enough to overcome that talent gap.
Purdue University 83 University of Nebraska 70