February 27, 2008

Breaking Down the Box - Purdue

Boilermakers put the Gophers on their heels en route to a 12 point win at home.

Minnesota -53
Purdue -65

The Boilermaker defense was impressive. And I could end the game review with that sentence. The pressure that they put on the Gophers was impressive and allowed them to dictate for about 35 of the 40 minutes. Minnesota ended the first half on a decent 15-2 run, until Keaton Grant drained a half-court shot as time ran out.

But the second half was all Purdue and Minnesota was never able to get into an offensive rhythm and was never able to execute on the offensive end. Those of you with the Big Ten Network got to see a lot of Gophers standing with the ball over their head and back on their heels.

Purdue coach Matt Painter summed it up well...

"I thought our pressure was good tonight. I thought we did a good job defensively; they finally just drove right at us and stopped trying to run stuff. For the most part I was pleased with the effort. We were able to put pressure on the ball throughout the game"
I for one was hopeful that an eight day lay off after a disappointing loss @Indiana would have made for a sluggish start for the Boilermakers. Not so as they applied some of the best on the ball pressure I have seen all year and jumped to a quick 3-13 start.

The Purdue pressure caused a ton of turnovers and kept the Gopher shooting percentage down. Tubby Smith didn't mince words when asked about his ball handler's ability to turn the ball over.
"Al Nolen is usually a better ball handler than he was tonight; Lawerence Westbrook has had trouble all year handling the ball. I guess the pressure got to us and we couldn't handle it."
Player of the Game - E'Twaun Moore

22 - pnts
3 - threes
5 - reb
2 - steals

I was looking forward to a Nolen / Moore match up but he was too hard to guard tonight. And I don't what that ref was thinking, photographic evidence above shows it was clearly all ball.

Tempo-Free Zone

32.2% turnovers, that was the biggest difference in the game.

Up Next - Ohio State

Three games left and have to win them all to get into bubble talk, but that is crazy. This game is kind of meaningless. There is a chance that Minnesota could steal the 5 seed in the conference tournament which would mean a bye. I guess that is something.

This game is winable. Ohio State hasn't been playing their best basketball lately and playing at home always gives us a chance to win.


On a side note here is some totally shocking information from Big Ten Tonight...

** Gene Keady predicts Purdue will come out on top of the menage-a-trois that is the Big Ten standings.

** Jimmy Jackson thinks Indiana will win. Why? Because they score points.

** I've been a fan of Wisconsin's bid to win it all year because they play so well together and play defense. I may end up being wrong as Purdue has the easiest remaining schedule.


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