Minnesota-Purdue Basketball preview

Minnesota is hoping to get revenge for an earlier road loss to Purdue when they face the Boilermakers (16-9, 6-6 in Big Ten action). Purdue defeated Minnesota 72-65 on January 21st. The Boilermakers were ranked #23 at the time.

The Gophers have won two of their last three games, including a 73-71 win over indiana on the road. It was their first road win in nearly a year.

Purdue has played tremendous defense during the conference season. The Boilermakers have held opponents to under 40 percent shooting in seven of 12 conference games, including four of their last five. The Boilermakers lead the conference in field goal percentage defense in conference games, holding teams to 39.8 percent from the field. The next lowest mark is 41.9 by Wisconsin.

The Boilermakers have been battle-tested. Their first nine losses were by a total of 35 points. The Boilermakers fell at Oklahoma by two on Dec. 11, at home to SMU by one on Dec. 21 and at Colorado State by two on Dec. 30 in non-conference play.

The Boilermakers are a balanced team with eight players who are averaging 5.0 points a game or more. Purdue is averaging 66.0 points per game as a team, yet have just two double figure scorers. They have nine players who play at least 18 minutes per game.

The Boilermakers have had five different players score over 20 points in a game this season. Purdue has had eight different individuals lead the team in scoring in games this season.

The Boilermakers have plenty of experience as they return four starters, six seniors and twelve letterman. They had to replace Willie Deane, who led the conference in scoring as a junior and was third last season. His scoring has been missed, but the Boilermakers have plenty of bodies in the backcourt. Kenneth Lowe, who missed the 2001-02 season after undergoing shoulder surgery, was the team's other double figure scorer last season. He was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year last season. Lowe is leading the team with 14.0 points per game. Lowe was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches Division I All-District Team.

Sophomore David Teague has picked up right where he left off last season. As a freshman, Teague set the Purdue three-point field goals record with 35. Teague is averaging 11.0 points per game, second-best on the team. He is also averaging 5.0 rebounds, second-best on the team. Teague has started all 25 contests.

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