OHIO STATE BUCKEYES (11-3)
at PURDUE BOILERMAKERS (7-7)
Tip-off: Tuesday, 9:00 p.m. ET
Line: Ohio State -7.5, Total: 135
Big Ten foes looking to recover from lopsided losses over the weekend will meet in West Lafayette on Tuesday when Purdue hosts No. 15 Ohio State.
The Buckeyes were pounded 74-55 at Illinois on Saturday, shooting a dreadful 33% FG (4-of-19 threes). The Boilermakers were also crushed on Saturday, allowing 48 second-half points in an 84-61 loss at Michigan State. This series has been very competitive in the past eight meetings, with both schools going 4-4 (SU and ATS) against one another.
Which team will bounce back with the victory on Tuesday? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The StatFox experts are a collective 52.3% ATS (197-180-8) in college basketball Best Bets for the season, led by StatFox Gary, who sits at 60% ATS (47-32) for the season, while Dave is at 53.3% ATS (72-63-3) on the year.
The Buckeyes are a strong offensive team with 76.0 PPG and 39.0 RPG, both ranking among the top-50 schools in the nation. But they have only two double-digit scorers in SF Deshaun Thomas (20.2 PPG) and SG Lenzelle Smith, Jr. (11.4 PPG). Thomas has scored at least 14 points in every game this season, and he's started off 2013 on fire, scoring 23.0 PPG on 49% FG (18-of-37 FG) in the past two games. He also played very well against Purdue last season with 17.5 PPG on 13-of-21 shooting (62%) with 6.0 RPG. Smith has not shot well in his team's two true road games (at Duke and Illinois), making just 7-of-21 FG. Speaking of poor shooting, PG Aaron Craft (8.5 PPG) has been off the mark all year at 36.8% FG, a huge drop-off from his 50.0% FG from the 2011-12 campaign. Since the start of December, he's scoring just 5.7 PPG on 33.9% FG in nine games. Luckily for OSU, Craft hasn't let his offensive slump affect the rest of his game. He has 17 assists and just one turnover combined in the past three contests to go along with eight steals. This trio combined for 43 of the team's 55 points against the Illini, with no other Buckeyes player scoring more than three points.
Purdue is not a great offensive team with 66.8 PPG (196th in D-I) and 41.8% FG (237th in nation), but the school knows how to hit the glass with 41.2 RPG (21st in D-I). SG Terone Johnson leads the team in both points (13.4 PPG) and assists (3.3 APG), but is shooting just 38.7% FG and 59.3% FT after his 5-for-19 showing in Saturday's loss. Freshman C A.J. Hammons (10.1 PPG, 5.9 RPG) was the lone bright star in that defeat in East Lansing with 20 points and seven rebounds, giving him 12.8 PPG and 6.3 RPG in his past four games. And after a horrible three-game stretch to start December (4 points on 1-of-15 FG), F/G D.J. Byrd (10.1 PPG) is also starting to heat up. In his past five games, he's averaged 12.2 PPG, knocking down 41.2% of his threes (14-of-34). That's not good news for the Buckeyes considering Byrd lit them up for 22.0 PPG on 15-of-28 FG including 11-of-19 threes (58%) in the two meetings last season. The Boilers have really struggled from long range this season, especially the other two Johnsons. Freshman G Ronnie Johnson (8.7 PPG) is 3-for-25 (12%) from three-point range and sophomore G Anthony Johnson (6.3 PPG) is just 8-for-32 (25%) from downtown.