The Purdue Preview
Date: Saturday, December 10th
Time: 1:15pm CST
Location: Lincoln, NE
Record: 9-0 (1-0 Big Ten)
Head Coach: Matt Painter (18th Season)
The Purdue Boilermakers make their way into Pinnacle Bank Arena this Saturday to take on the Huskers in conference play. Purdue sits alone atop the conference standings and the lone undefeated team left in the Big Ten.
Their #4 ranking is warranted with a 9-0 record with nice wins over West Virginia, Marquette, #6 Gonzaga, and #8 Duke. The most recent win was an 85-66 win over Hofstra on December 7th in West Lafayette. This is a large undertaking as the Boilermakers came into the season unraked. Also of note, all but one of their wins have been by double digit points. Marquette has been the only team keeping it close.
The Boilermakers bring some of the top talent in the conference into this game. They are lead by center Zach Edey. Of course Purdue’s top player is a big man with the history they have. Zach is averaging 23.2 points, 13.3 rebounds while shooting 60% from the floor. He leads the Big Ten in scoring and rebounding. Nebraska will have to throw everything they have at him from tipoff if they want any chance to contain him. He has seen little competition that has been able to keep him in check all season.
Next to Zach is guard Fletcher Loyer. Fletcher is averaging 12.1 points, 1.4 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game this season. Fletcher is an Indiana native who has made a big impact his first year in West Lafayette and is the only other double digit scorer on the team. He’s good but still young and Nebraska could throw him off his game if, once again, they come out firing.
Also of note is guard Braden Smith. He is averaging 9.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 3.6 assists on the year. Brad had a big game against Marquette where he scored 20 points on the night. However, struggling Big Ten Minnesota kept him from scoring all night in the win.
Nebraska returns home for this matchup after spending the past two games on the road. It will be good for the Huskers to have the home crowd on their side as this will probably be the toughest test they will have faced so far this season. The Boilermakers are a proven top five team. They are also one of the larger squads the Huskers will have faced this season.
The Huskers can win this game but it will take a lot aggressive play in the paint along with a sound game plan by coach Hoiberg for the Huskers to send the Boilermakers home with a loss.