I don’t normally do previews for college basketball, but this game is a special one. Purdue is having a season that is way beyond what anyone thought that they would have. Michigan State is having a good year, but not the kind of year that was predicted for them. Tomorrow will be the first time in a long time that two ranked men’s teams will take the court at Mackey Arena. Matt Painter has these kids playing like veterans. When Purdue went into East Lansing earlier in the year I chalked it up as a learning experience. We came within three points of pulling that one off, and that was without Robbie Hummel. That is the last game that this team has lost. They are showing the country that they are for real. I keep thinking that we will have a bad game sometime, but unless the Spartans go up big early I don’t see that happening tomorrow. Scott Martin is still questionable, so Marcus Green will have to continue his play of late. The Boilers have a tough task ahead of them tomorrow, but they will have a crazy crowd behind them. It should be a great atmosphere inside of Mackey.
Last year I was able to attend this game in the Vulcan seats near the Purdue bench. Purdue and Michigan State played even through the first half, but Purdue held Michigan State to just 12 points in the second half. That is quite a feat when you have a player like Drew Neitzel on your team.
This year we will have to contain him, and hope that our young players can rise once again to the occasion. As I said earlier Green will have to step in and fill in for Martin like he has recently. Hummel and Moore will have to continue their recent play as well. If they cannot, then Kramer and Grant must step up. Grant has been good, but has not been the force that he was at the start of the season. Part of this may be that he does not have to. This team is very balanced, and it will take a balanced effort to win tomorrow. My heart says the Boilers will win, but my gut says that the Boilers luck will run out tomorrow.
My prediction: Purdue 65 – Michigan State 61