As the non-conference portion of the college basketball season winds down, Purdue finds itself in a situation that most teams don't want to find themselves in. Sure, they're 8-2 with losses only coming to perennial powerhouses Oklahoma and Duke. And yes, they're ranked 13th in the newest edition of the Associated Press poll. But, now, they're faced with possibly their most daunting challenge to date - stopping All-American Stephen Curry.
Curry and his Davidson Wildcats will be in Indianapolis on Saturday afternoon for the John Wooden Tradition, to square off with Chris Kramer and the rest of the Boilermakers, who are looking to end their 0-2 record against national top 25 teams. Against the Wildcats, that task isn't a feat that's likely to be easy.
Stephen Curry has been on fire this entire season, averaging a gaudy 31.9 points, 2.9 steals, and a highly commendable 6.8 assists per game in his first season at the point. He's gone for over 40 in three games, twice setting/tying a career high with 44 points. His efforts thus far have led Davidson to a national ranking, and an 8-1 record, only falling to the Sooners in Norman with a four point loss.
Chris Kramer, the returning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, will look to improve on his team leading 2.5 steals a game, and do something that many have tried and failed at doing – stopping Curry.
Though the Boilers are on a three game winning streak, by an impressive 30.3 margin of victory, those victories were much expected coming against lackluster opponents in Arkansas Pine-Bluff, Ball State, and Indiana State. In order for the Boilers to defeat the 22nd ranked Wildcats, several key members will have to step up.
Robbie Hummel will have to continue his torrid perimeter shooting percentage of 45.5 up. He's connected on 20 of 44 from beyond the arc, as well as drilling 94 percent of his shots from the charity stripe. Purdue's second leading scorer, E'Twaun Moore, will also have to keep his 14.3 points per game near that same mark.
And finally, centers JaJuan Johnson and Nemanja Calasan will have to keep up their sturdy efforts to thwart any open Wildcats in the hounding defense that will follow Steph Curry.
If all goes according to plan, and Matt Painter's squad shows their unusual knack for smothering defense of high profile scorers, the Boilers should walk out of Indianapolis with their first win of high recognition.
Fearless Prediction: Boilers 75 – Wildcats 68
Preview: Purdue vs. Davidson
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