A first look at Purdue

The Wildcats play Purdue in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Cats last played the Boilermakers in 2002 and have never faced the Big-10 foe in the postseason.

Prudue is back in the NCAA's for the first time since 2002. Their 21 wins is their most since the 99-2000 team won 24. All time the Wildcats and Boilermakers are 5-5. The game in 2002 saw the Wildcats avenge a loss the year before with a 79-66 win at the Wooden Classic in Anaheim. The year before the Cats flew right from Maui to Indianapolis and fell to Purdue 72-69 in a game that was more one-sided than the score indicated.

Carl Landry leads the team in scoring and rebounding, and his stats are favorable in the Big-10. The forward wound up fourth in scoring (17.9 points per game) and rebounding (7.3 rpg) in Big Ten play. He also finished second in field-goal percentage (.567) and free-throw attempts (107).

This could potentially be a good match-up for the Wildcats. Many felt the Boilermakers would be one of the last teams in the field and the Cats have done well in the Tournament's early rounds against Big 10 teams who aren't always used to the speed and athleticism of the Wildcats.

All told the Wildcats are 4-2 against Big 10 foes in the NCAA Tournament under Lute Olson.

The Boilermakers strive for balance. They like to score in the low 70's, not exactly slow down, but nowhere near a track meet either. They also try to get scoring from both inside and outside threats.

"I think when you talk about being a dangerous team you have to be a threat both inside and outside," Purdue head coach Matt Painter told ESPN Radio. "Just run the motion and take what the other teams give us."

The Boilermakers will have to try to adjust to the athleticism of the Wildcats. Although the Cats may not be as quick as some of their past teams, they are probably among the most athletic teams Purdue has seen all season.

"We know that talent level at Arizona with guys like Marcus Williams and (Chase) Budinger," Painter continued on the radio interview. "They have four or five guys we will probably see at the next level. We will certainly have our hands full."

Purdue is a terrific defensive team, particularly with their on-ball defense. They force nearly eight steals a game and the Wildcats perimeter players must do a good job hanging onto the ball.

Where the Boilermakers really struggle is with their front court depth. There is not much behind the two starters and while the Wildcats aren't exactly loaded up front, they could take advantage if the Boilermakers have any kind of foul trouble.

Players To Watch: Big man Carl Landry is a load. The Cats will need to deny him the ball down low, because once he gets the ball down low, he's tough to stop. The good news is that the Wildcats have played well against big men not named Lopez this season.

Senior guard David Teague is the other big scorer for the Boilermakers, as well as a defensive standout.

After the two seniors, there is not a whole lot of scoring. The Cats will want to make this an up and down game, if they can do that, they have a good shot.

Purdue at a Glance:
Head Coach: Matt Painter
2006-07 Record: 21-11 (9-7 in the Big 10)
PPG: 69.9
FG%: .462
FT%: .683

Purdue Scoring Leaders
Player GP GS Tot Pts PPG FGM FGA FG% TPM TPA 3PT% FTM FTA FT%
Carl Landry 32 32 604 18.9 205 343 .598 3 18 .167 191 264 .723
David Teague 32 32 458 14.3 166 371 .447 82 191 .429 44 58 .759
Gordon Watt 32 31 238 7.4 91 188 .484 15 42 .357 41 72 .569
Chris Lutz 32 10 189 5.9 61 134 .455 54 116 .466 13 21 .619
Chris Kramer 28 22 186 6.6 64 157 .408 11 32 .344 47 66 .712
Tarrance Crump 32 14 180 5.6 72 169 .426 7 33 .212 29 36 .806
Keaton Grant 32 19 145 4.5 49 133 .368 16 61 .262 31 47 .660
Marcus Green 32 0 136 4.3 48 130 .369 19 67 .284 21 42 .500
Johnathan Uchendu 25 0 49 2.0 16 33 .485 0 1 .000 17 26 .654
Dan Vandervieren 18 0 31 1.7 13 25 .520 0 0 - 5 9 .556
Bobby Riddell 22 0 15 0.7 4 20 .200 2 17 .118 5 7 .714
Chris Hartley 13 0 4 0.3 1 6 .167 0 2 .000 2 5 .400
AJ Graft 4 0 2 0.5 1 3 .333 0 0 - 0 0

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