Fair or not, this year's Purdue team has been widely compared to the 2007 team because of its youth.
So fittingly, Purdue 2012 will play its first road game in the same building Purdue 2007 did, as the Boilermakers visit Clemson's Littlejohn Coliseum tonight at 7:15 p.m. for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
"It'll be a big test for all of us freshmen," guard Rapheal Davis said. "… Some of the upperclassmen just told us to be calm, because it's going to be wild and we probably won't be able to hear a lot. If we make a mistake, (the crowd) will be on you. You have to do just do your job."
In 2007, Purdue took Clemson right down to the wire before losing 61-58. This year's group will obviously hope for a different result after it's had a week off from its 2-3 start in its first five games.
Clemson returns from the Old Spice Classic in Orlando with a 4-1 record, its lone loss to Gonzaga.
"They have athleticism in the backcourt. They've had games where they've absolutely controlled the games with their ability to shoot threes and they've had games where they haven't shot many at all," Coach Matt Painter said. "They're going to be very good in the half court offensively and defensively and any time you play somebody on their home court, they're going to be better in transition, so I think they'll look to push the ball a lot more … especially if they can get some turnovers or long rebounds.
"Their opponents spend a lot of time on defense. They'll try to wear you down."
(And we're guessing.)
F: D.J. Byrd
F: Jacob Lawson
C: A.J. Hammons
C: Devin Booker (6-8, 250)
F: Milton Jennings (6-9, 225)
F: K.J. McDaniels (6-6, 200)
G: T.J. Sapp (6-3, 195)
G: Rod Hall (6-1, 210)
Clemson coach Brad Brownell is an Evansville native. He previously coached Wright State and UNC-Wilmington. … All three of Clemson's starting front-line players are averaging better than 10 points per game, paced by Milton Jennings' team-high 10.8. … Former Purdue assistant Rick Ray was Clemson's associate head coach the past two seasons. He's now Mississippi State's head coach. … Booker averages 7.4 rebounds per game … Freshman Adonis Filer is from Chicago but was a member of last year's Indiana All-Star team, representing Bishop Noll in Hammond.
Game time: 7:15 p.m.
Radio: Purdue Sports Network (95.7 FM locally)
Internet: GoldandBlack.com subscribers can follow along live with our in-game blog, "Game Day Live."
Five things to think about
1. The obvious question is just how Purdue's young players will take to playing in their first hostile environment. Consistency has been an issue for this team; one would think consistency might be even more difficult to come by on the road.
2. Clemson will look to play in the half court at both ends of the floor, Painter said. Purdue is going to have to be patient at both ends of the floor. Again, one would think patience might be even more difficult to come by on the road.
3. A.J. Hammons has been pretty good the past two games. Can the freshman big man enjoy similar success against Clemson's big, experienced front line?
4. How did the week without playing impact Purdue? Did the time away give the Boilermakers time to reflect on their struggles and take steps toward correcting them?
5. Does Ronnie Johnson take a step forward in this game? There's been some consistency issues there and some turnover problems, but he seems to understand what he needs to do to play better and his confidence doesn't seem to have wavered.
GoldandBlack.com Prediction: All we can go by is what we've seen so far, and that's been serious inconsistency. Clemson isn't Duke, but it'll be a tough place to play nonetheless and the Tigers have a strong front line.
Clemson 67, Purdue 63
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