This is the second game where Chicago College Basketball is exchanging questions in order to gain insight about a big game. Today we preview the Northwestern vs. Purdue game on Saturday with Purdue Basketball Blog.
The Boilermakers have lost their past two games in Big Ten play to Wisconsin and Ohio State, so E'Twaun Moore (left) and his teammates come into this game looking for a win. Some great thoughts below.
1) CCB: If it's true that a team can really learn more from a loss, what lessons does Purdue take away from its losses to Wisconsin and Ohio State?
PBB: The biggest takeaway that I got from our loss to UW was that Purdue
can't take for granted that we'll force 17+ (our average) turnovers a
game. We need to be more efficient offensively when we aren't creating
opportunities from the defensive end. I would say something about the
11 missed points from the free throw line, but that's kind of a
2) CCB: Robbie Hummel, E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson all scored 14+ points per game. Which one is the most important to the Boilermakers' success?
PBB: Wow, that's quite a loaded question! I am going to sneak around your question and say that if you wanted to pinpoint who is the most important to the Boilermaker's success I'd pick Chris Kramer (so neither of your options - photo right). While he doesn't look all that impressive in the box score, no one effects the game more than him. On a team that prides itself on tough defense, he is our emotional and physical leader. He has relatively shut down virtually ever body put in front of him. While he is by no means known as an offensive player, he is shooting 54.8% from the floor and 79% from the free-throw line. (We won't talk about his free-throw percentage.) He only averages 7 points per game, but he can put up 12-14 on a good night. Just ask any Boilermaker, Chris Kramer is, and has been, the symbol of Purdue basketball. There really hasn't been anybody that's been such an emotional leader of his caliber since Brian Cardinal.
3) CCB: How much has the loss of Lewis Jackson hurt Purdue this season. Will it make an impact in conference play?
PBB: The loss of Lewis Jackson really limited what we could do offensively. Keaton Grant, who starts in Jackson's place is no downgrade, but he isn't a true point guard. No one on the team can come close to matching Jackson's quickness and speed, which really hurts us in the transition game. Jackson was also a menace defensively against opposing point guards.
Grant (left), who has been virtually a 4 year starter, is a great defender and stuffs the box score virtually everywhere but points. His shooting has been less than par basically since his junior year, but he is worth keeping in the lineup because he does so everything else very well.
While the loss to Lewis Jackson seemed detrimental when it happened, it resulted in the emergence (and surprise) of 6-5 freshman PG Kelsey Barlow. He's been able to give 10-12 quality minutes a game and really show signs of a potential Big Ten star. His long arms and size make gives him the look of a young Manny Harris.
4) CBB: Purdue ranks amongst the best in the nation in points allowed per game. How has the defense held opponents to less than 61 point per game? Is there anything Northwestern can do to combat it?
PBB: The defense prides itself on tough defense. One of the reasons is because it completely wears out the opponent, which results in many mental errors. If you look at our scoring by the half, we tend to make our biggest scoring runs in the second half when the defense really wears down the offense. Purdue has a lot of guys that have great basketball instincts that take advantage of their opponent's mental lapses.
Northwestern needs to look no further than the film from Purdue's game against Wisconsin. Wisconsin was able to make Purdue look like a very average team by not turning over the ball. This scares me, as Northwestern tends to be a very cerebral team. I would say that if an opponent can limit their turnovers, and keep Purdue shooting under 45%, they will have a great opportunity to steal a win.
5) CBB: Northwestern beat Purdue last season on the road after dropping the home game. On a scale of 1 to 10 how nervous does Saturday's game make you?
PBB: Oh man, I'd have to go with a 8.5 this year! Northwestern has always played Purdue really tough and this year is scarier since they are playing such inspired basketball (because of Kevin Coble's injury). Northwestern looks to be a team no one should be ignoring for the next couple years. (Has to get you excited to see Coble and an improved Shurna playing side-by-side!) CBB Note: It certainly does.
PBB Prediction: A close game, but Purdue wins by 8.
Thanks to Purdue Basketball Blog. You can check out my responses to his questions about Northwestern here.