Opponent Preview: Purdue

No.18 Minnesota looks for a season sweep of No. 12 Purdue today in West Lafayette (Ind.). Tip-off at Mackey Arena is set for 12:00 p.m. and will be televised by CBS.

Season to Date: Since losing to the Gophers on the 13th, Purdue has been inconsistent to say the least. They lost their next game at West Virginia and then scraped out a one point victory over Penn State. The Boilermakers rebounded by thrashing Michigan State by ten points but then got trounced by top-ranked Ohio State by a score of 87-64. Purdue will no doubt be hungry after their loss to the Buckeyes, making them an even tougher opponent for Minnesota.

Coaching Preview: Matt Painter is in his seventh season as the head coach for the Boilermakers. During his tenure he has led Purdue to two Sweet-16 appearances, as well as a regular season and conference title. While coaching Purdue, Painter has racked up an impressive 127-57 record. He also coached Southern Illinois for one season and came away with a 25-5 record to improve his overall total to 152-62 for a 71% win percentage. Painter's first season with the Boilermakers was far from a success, ending with dismal 9-19 record. Last season, he improved the team to a 29-6 record and a regular season conference title.

Series History: The Boilermakers hold and 86-75 advantage in the series despite dropping their last two games against Minnesota. The Gophers have lost four straight in West Lafayette and are behind 56-24 when playing Purdue on their home court.

Last Meeting: The Gophers met Purdue only two weeks earlier on the 13th of January with Minnesota taking the game by a score of 70-67. The back-and-forth game at The Barn was the Boilermakers' first conference loss of the season. Blake Hoffarber took over the game, scoring 26 points in the victory. Purdue's star guard E'Twaun Moore was held to just five points on 2-14 shooting from the field.

Random Fact: Minnesota has not had a five-game win streak in Big Ten play since the 1977-1978 (not including vacated wins) season where the Maroon and Gold rattled off seven straight conference victories.

Quote to Note: Tubby Smith on Blake Hoffarber playing point guard against Northwestern: "I think he was solid. They were changing defenses. They got into that 1-3-1 and we've always had trouble with that defense, but then we started to get the high-low game going with the touch passes. As far as Blake, he's always been a good ball handler and he's going to have to take on a bigger load with Al out."

Probable Starters:
F 50 Travis Carroll 1.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg
F 25 JaJuan Johnson 20.6 ppg, 7.8 rpg
G 33 E'Twaun Moore 18.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg
G 24 Ryne Smith 6.4 ppg, 1.9 rpg
G 23 Lewis Jackson 6.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg

Background:
Location: West Lafayette
Enrollment: 39,697
Conference: Big Ten
Mascot: Boilermaker
Coach: Matt Painter (Seventh Season)


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