Purdue (14-7) is looking for a highlight win within the Big Ten, where they are 3-4. The Boilermakers, however, are 12-0 in West Lafayette this season.
Ohio State (18-3, 6-1 Big Ten) invades Mackey Arena tonight after a thrilling 66-64 victory Saturday night in Columbus against Michigan State. The Buckeyes held a 20-point lead at halftime but watched it evaporate in the second half to the point the Spartans had a 3-pointer at the buzzer catch the back of the iron that would have won the game for Michigan State.
The near disastrous finish for the Buckeyes does not compare to the type of adversity two of Ohio State's players have faced this week. Greg Oden, who scored 19 points against the Spartans, lost a best friend to tragedy when a former school mate in Terre Haute, Ind. was killed in a car crash this past weekend. Oden was expected to join the team in West Lafayette for the game this evening after attending his late friend's funeral.
Ohio State forward Othello Hunter, on the other hand, has faced the same kind of loss but even worse. Hunter lost two grandparents within the last week - a grandmother and grandfather.
Both Oden and Hunter are expected to play as normal this evening, in what's anticipated to be a highly competitive game. The Boilermakers got off to an 8-1 start this season, but have been just 5-6 since then. Purdue's NCAA Tournament hopes rest somewhat on the need for a quality win in the eyes of the selection committee, and such a win against Ohio State would give them just that.
Oden and 6-1 freshman point guard Mike Conley are making their second trip to the home state since the season began. Both Oden and Conley, from Indianapolis Lawrence North, played at Conseco Fieldhouse for the Wooden Tradition against Cincinnati - an event that Purdue participated in, losing to Butler the same day.
Purdue is led by a pair of veteran standouts - Carl Landry and David Teague. The two combine on over 32 points and 11 rebounds a game. Landry is the Big Ten's third-leading scorer at 19.1 points a game. Landry, who is the older brother of Wisconsin forward Marcus, is tough to stop as he's shooting 62.5 percent this season. He's only attempted three 3-pointers, however.
Oden leads Ohio State with 15.6 points and 9.8 rebounds a game. He's shooting 63.7 percent from the field. Meanwhile, freshman guard Daequan Cook comes off the bench to add 13.0 points and 5.3 rebounds a game.
Who: Ohio State (18-3, 6-1) vs. Purdue (14-7, 3-4)
When: Tonight, 7 PM ET; ESPN2
Where: Mackey Arena; West Lafayette, Ind.
Series: 154th meeting (Purdue leads 78-75)
G Chris Kramer (6-3 Fr.); 6.4 ppg, 2.4 spg
G Tarrance Crump (6-1 Jr.); 5.6 ppg, 1.7 rpg
G David Teague (6-5 Sr.); 13.3 ppg, 40.8 percent 3-pt FG
F Carl Landry (6-7 Sr.); 19.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg
F Gordon Watt (6-6 So.); 8.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg
G Mike Conley (6-1 Fr.); 9.3 ppg, 6.6 apg
G Jamar Butler (6-1 Jr.); 8.1 ppg, 3.9 apg
F Ron Lewis (6-5 Sr.); 11.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg
F Ivan Harris (6-8 Sr.); 9.8 ppg, 40.2 percent 3-pt FG
C Greg Oden (7-1 Fr.); 15.6 ppg, 3.6 bpg