Purdue comes into this game as the #17 ranked team in the country. Their only loss this season comes at the hands of defending National Champion Villanova. The Boilermakers feature one of the best front-courts in the nation with Caleb Swanigan and Isaac Haas. Swanigan and Haas average 20.7 and 18.3 points per game respectfully. In order for Utah State to beat Purdue three things need to happen:
Pace - Utah State has some size to compete against Purdue but the Aggies' advantage in this game comes from the speed and athleticism of the wings and guards. Getting out on some fast breaks and quick paced offense will allow Utah State to get inside shots off without having to put the ball up over Purdue's bigs. The depth of the Aggie bench is also better than in years past which allows the Aggies to run a bit more. Purdue has played a faster pace than the Aggies have this year, so they should be willing to allow the game to go in that direction.
Ball Movement - With Utah State's ability to stretch the floor, ball movement will be imperative. If the big men from Purdue have to continually be moving on defense, that will tire them out. The Aggies are ranked #15 in the nation for true shooting percentage so if they can get some open looks from solid passing they should knock a lot of those shots down.
Fouls - Swanigan and Haas shoot the majority of the free throws for Purdue. Other teams have forced them to earn their points from the charity stripe. This might not be a terrible strategy, but the fouls need to be spread across the Aggie roster. If Janicek, Barnaba and Taylor get into foul trouble, that means Utah State's size will have to sit the bench for stretches of the game. With the USU bigs on the bench, the Aggie defense will more easily give up position down low to Swanigan and Haas, making help defense that much more difficult.