- AJ Hammons is their best player and is finally showing what he can do after not fully living up to his potential in his first 2-3 years. He absolutely demolished Nebraska a couple games ago with 32 points on 14-17 shooting (4-4 FT), 11 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocks. Thankfully MSU has big men that are a bit better than Nebraska's.
Ivan DragoIsaac Haas is the second center on the team who would be starting on 75% of B1G teams. Going off basic stats alone he's just a slightly worse version of Hammons who gets to the foul-line twice as often. However, his issue is that it appears he can't do nearly as well against better teams as his ORtg is just 91.4 in the 10 games against Tier A and B opponents (top 50 and 100 essentially).
- Caleb Swanigan has been a defensive rebounding monster at the 4 spot with his DReb% the second highest among Power-6 conference players. He's willing to take 3's but he's been bad at 29% and he's been even worse in conference play. However, his biggest concern offensively might be his TO% which is dead last among all B1G players that play at least 40% minutes.
- Kendall Stephens is a game-time decision from what I can find and he's essentially a 6'6" shooter who hasn't been shooting particularly well this year at just 32%.
- PJ Thompson is their point guard (who leads the country in ORtg) but they have 5 guys who are between 18% and 22% in assist rate. While MSU leads the country in assist rate (thanks to Valentine's enormous 41.6%) Purdue isn't far behind at 7th. One thing that helps is multiple shooters that surround the bigs as they have 5 guards/wings that shoot at least 35% from 3 along with Swanigan who someone you probably don't want to leave completely alone and Stephens who's probably a better shooter than his 32% would indicate.
- Purdue has a defense very similar to MSU's as they force a bad percentage from the field, rebound well, and don't force turnovers (Purdue does a better job of not fouling though).
MSU on Offense
MSU on Defense
Things to watch for
- Will Costello, Davis, and Schilling be up for the challenge of guarding Purdue's frontline of Hammons, Haas, and Swanigan? In last year's lone matchup against Haas and Hammons, Costello got the better of them as Costello had an efficient 13 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 blocks while Hammons shot just 3-12 from the field. Swanigan's main value comes as a defensive rebounder and Haas was blasting lesser opponents but has struggled offensively in Tier A and B games. Hammons appears to be the main offensive force in the post so it'll be up to the smaller MSU big men to defend him.
- Will reigning Defensive Player of the Year Rapheal Davis be able to slow down Valentine? Looking through some Purdue box scores, opposing wing players have had trouble against Purdue including Iowa's Peter Jok. One interesting thing about Valentine is that he hasn't really had a particularly bad game. It could happen for the first time against a stingy Purdue defense but he did, however, have a good game against the same Purdue wings during last year's game.
Purdue hasn't beaten MSU since JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore beat MSU during the [REDACTED] season. Even though it's on the road, I don't see MSU losing to the Boilermakers whose efficiency might be a bit inflated due to being able to impose their will with their size against lesser teams.
MSU 73 - Purdue 69