Ohio State is hoping once again that the third time really is a charm. The first two tries weren't too bad either.
Today at 1:40 pm, Ohio State (28-3) will play Purdue for the third time this season in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament following Friday's 72-62 victory over Michigan. Purdue advanced by virtue of a 74-55 beating of Iowa.
In the first two meetings this season, the Buckeyes beat Purdue (21-10) 78-60 in West Lafayette, Ind. and 63-56 in Columbus. In those games, freshman point guard Mike Conley scored 18 points and six assists and 14 points and four assists.
Conley has been the rock for the Buckeyes this season. He's also been pretty steady distributing the rock.
The first-year guard, named second-team All-Big Ten by the media, averages 10.2 points, 6.4 assists and a team-high 2.3 steals per game. The former three-time Class 4A State Champion at Indianapolis Lawrence North High School was supposed to be a product of Oden's success.
The Buckeyes are gunning for their fourth appearance in the Big Ten Tournament Championship in 10 years. Ohio State has won the championship just once (2002) and is attempting to return for the second consecutive season.
Led by second-year head coach Matt Painter, the Boilermakers are looking for their second appearance in the Big Ten Tournament Championship. Purdue lost to Michigan 76-67 in the innaugural tournament in 1998.
In the second semifinal matchup, No. 2-seed Wisconsin will play 6-seed Illinois, who defeated Indiana 58-54 in overtime.
Ohio State is riding high on a 15-game win streak. The Buckeyes lost last Jan. 9 to Wisconsin in Madison. Purdue enters with a four-game win streak and have won five of the last six since losing in Columbus Feb. 10.
With a No. 1-seed most likely under wraps for the Buckeyes, Ohio State is simply shooting for a tournament championship. Purdue, meanwhile, is considered to be on the NCAA Tournament bubble and a win would likely cement an at-large bid if the Boilermakers are unable to secure an automatic bid.
Leading the way for Purdue is a pair of seniors - Carl Landry and David Teague. Landry leads the team in both scoring and rebounding at 18.7 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. Teague is adding 14.4 points while shooting 42.9 percent from three-point range.
Oden, who scored 22 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked four shots in a third win this season against Michigan on Friday, is now averaging 15.6 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. He leads the conference in blocks with 84 - 3.5 per game.
The Big Ten Championship is at 3:30 pm on Sunday.
What: Big Ten Semifinals; Ohio State (28-3) vs. Purdue (21-10)
Where: United Center; Chicago, Ill.
When: Today, 1:40 pm eastern
TV: CBS Sports (Jim Nantz and Billy Packer)
Series: Purdue leads 78-71 (Ohio State has won the last seven)
PG Chris Kramer (6-3 Fr.) - 6.6 PPG, 2.6 APG
SG Tarrance Crump (6-1 Jr.) - 5.6 PPG, 42.4 percent FG
SF David Teague (6-5 Sr.) - 14.4 PPG, 5.0 RPG
PF Carl Landry (6-7 Sr.) - 18.7 PPG, 7.1 RPG
SF Gordon Watt (6-6 Soph.) - 7.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG
PG Mike Conley (6-1 Fr.) - 10.3 PPG, 6.5 APG
SG Jamar Butler (6-2 Jr.) - 8.4 PPG, 3.7 APG
SF Ron Lewis (6-5 Sr.) - 11.5 PPG, 3.4 RPG
PF Ivan Harris (6-8 Sr.) - 8.3 PPG, 3.3 RPG
C Greg Oden (7-1 Fr.) - 15.6 PPG, 9.3 RPG