How to Beat Purdue by 18 Points

(No, we can never have too many Dumb and Dumber references on the front page at once.)

Owing to the short turnaround, no full recap of last night's awesomeness.  But, the four factors graph can't go without mention:



Two things on that graph stand out to me.  This season, Purdue has rebounded 32% of their misses; in two previous games against Your Spartans, they rebounded 28% and 23.5% of those misses, respectively.  Last night?  10.8% -- by far the Boilermakers' worst performance of the season.  Kalin Lucas is getting all the headlines today, and my goodness deservedly so, but we can't forget just how great Draymond Green (who grabbed 38% of all Purdue's misses!), Delvon Roe, Durrell Summers, and Keith Appling were last night.  Roe was colossal on defense and the boards, Summers was huge in establishing the early lead that MSU would never relinquish, and with each passing game, Keith Appling makes the Charlie Bell comparison look more apt.

Second: MSU's 63.3% FTR was their fourth-highest rate of the season.  That's partially attributable to a refereeing crew that called a tight game (but also a fair one), but it also reflects MSU's aggressiveness.  And in a season when when MSU has been repeatedly derided as a "pretty-boy jump shooting" team, that's noteworthy.  Yes, the lead was gained largely through Lucas's otherwordly first half shooting clinic.  But, once MSU had the lead, they did a great job of getting the ball inside and getting to the line -- and once they got to the line, the Spartans buried those free throws at an 80% clip.

Combine those two factors with a sterling defensive performance, reasonably good shooting, and relative caution with the bal, and you've got a complete effort fit to take down any team in the country.  And, of course, the biggest thing about last night's game is that MSU now is in a position to take on those teams once again, in the NCAA Tournament.

But first, there's a Big Ten title to play for.

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