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GOLDANDBLACK.COM PREVIEW: #19 PURDUE at MARQUETTE

More ($): Fearful Predictions — Purdue's 2017-18 season | Stuff That Matters

Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 • 8:30 p.m. ET | BMO Bradley Harris Center (Milwaukee, Wis.) | TV: FS1 | Radio: Purdue Radio Network

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• This is Purdue's second appearance in the Gavitt Games, the now-annual series between the Big Ten and Big East. The Boilermakers lost at home to then-reigning national champion Villanova last season.

• Marquette was the top three-point shooting team in college basketball last season — it shot 42.9 percent — while Purdue was the best in the Big Ten. It's safe to say both teams will be playing to their strengths when letting fly from long range and both will be eager to find quick spot-ups in transition.

The Golden Eagles, though, were just 6-of-21 in their opener against Mt. Saint Mary's in a 21-point win. In a two-point exhibition win over Lindenwood — Marquette was down 11 in the second half — the Eagles were just 4-of-20 from three.

Purdue shot just under 45 percent from three-point range through its two season-opening routs.

• First-year Purdue assistant coach Steve Lutz came to the Boilermakers from Creighton, one of Marquette's Big East rivals. Lutz is largely responsible for Purdue's defensive game plans.

• Purdue played at the BMO Harris Bradley Center last March in the NCAA Tournament, beating Vermont and Iowa State in earning a spot in the Sweet 16.

• Purdue's senior class is 1-2 in its career in these sorts of true out-of-conference road games, losing at Vanderbilt three seasons ago, winning at Pitt two seasons ago and falling at Louisville last season.

• This is the first road game for Purdue newcomers Matt Haarms, Nojel Eastern and Eden Ewing. Two others — Sasha Stefanovic and Aaron Wheeler — are redshirting, though Matt Painter has said Wheeler's redshirt isn't "definite."

• Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski is now 52-45 in his fourth season at Marquette, which won 19 games and made the NCAA Tournament last season, losing to eventual Final Four participant 93-73 in its opener.

NUMBERS AND SUCH
Team AP Coaches RPI KenPom KenPom — Win%

Purdue

19

21

18

15

55%

Marquette

67

53

45%

#19 PURDUE BOILERMAKERS (2-0)

Roster | Schedule | Statistics

Projected Starters

C - Isaac Haas (7-2, 290, Sr.)

Marquette's a man-to-man defensive team and if Purdue can get such matchups on the interior with Haas, he'll be getting the ball vs. Eagle big man Matt Heldt at the offensive end, per usual, but his importance in this game may lie just as much on the boards and in ball-screen defense, where breaches against the dribble will need to open threes.

F - Vincent Edwards (6-8, 225, Sr.)

Edwards returns to the scene of some of his very best basketball. He was superb in Purdue's wins over Vermont and Iowa State in the NCAA Tournament at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in March.

He, more than anyone, took Purdue's rebounding issues personally and did something about it against Chicago State, grabbing 12, and really attacking the offensive backboard. If that's an every-game thing, that'll be great news for Purdue.

The senior's the one Boilermaker off to a slow shooting start, 1-of-6 from three, but Purdue will use him in different ways. He's been effective on post-ups and aggressive off the dribble, in particular.

G - Carsen Edwards (6-1, 200, So.)

It was only Chicago State, but also a glimpse at how devastating a player the sophomore can be. It took him just 19 minutes and 12 shots to score a career-high 25 points, and it came without a single turnover. But Marquette will test his defensive discipline, as well, a work in progress for the budding star.

G- P.J. Thompson (5-10, 185, Sr.)

Thompson went off for 16 points against Chicago State and is looking to attack more this season when opportunities present themselves, but his decision-making will always been one of his defining charactertistics. He won't want to let that slip as he looks to score a bit more. There have been some un-Thompson-like plays lately, but they've not mattered, not even a little. Games like this, they can.

G - Dakota Mathias (6-4, 200, Sr.)

One of the Big Ten's best two-way players, Mathias is on a shooting tear to open the season, 11-of-16 from the floor, 6-of-7 from three, the one missing being a 35-foot heat check vs. Chicago State that went halfway down. His mid-range jumper has been going down and that will inevitably affect how people defend him.

His defense will loom large in this game, too. Denying shooters has been one of the Big Ten All-Defense team member's defensive strengths.

KEY PLAYERS

G —Ryan Cline (6-5, 190, Jr.)

Cline wants to show how much he's improved as a defender and this game affords a significant opportunity because Marquette has quality guards. He's not shot the ball great to this point after a scorching summer, but his track record of making big shots on the road remains in place.

G — Nojel Eastern (6-6, 220, Fr.)

As the games start to matter now, the freshman's decision-making and ball security comes to the forefront. He may have his ups and downs and will have chances to play through both. He can be an impact defender, but typically it's a more daunting transition for young players learning to guard away from the ball as opposed to on it, and he'll find himself in some of those positions at Marquette.

F — Grady Eifert (6-6, 220, Jr.)

The junior grinder is in Purdue's rotation. He may not play starter's minutes, but he'll get his at-bats. He makes an impact on the boards and as a tone-setter with his effort, and is savvy and tries hard enough to have a funny way of continually scoring on wide-open layups under the rim.

C — Matt Haarms (7-3, 250, R-Fr.)

The young big man takes on an important role for Purdue right away as its No. 2 5, particularly in light of the fact it's bound to take veteran Jacquil Taylor some time to round back into form after an October spent idle. Haarms has been impressive. Opponents will take notice, though, and start planning, and playing him, accordingly.

MARQUETTE GOLDEN EAGLES (1-0)

Roster | Schedule | Stats

F- 10 Sam Hauser (6-8, 225, So.)

Marquette will play thrugh Hauser posting up on the wing, allowing him to turn and shoot or drive baseline, both of which he does well, which might put Vincent Edwards at risk of foul trouble if he's not careful. And Hauser is an outstanding three-point shooter, 45-plus-percent as a freshman last season.

F- 12 Matt Heldt (6-10, 245, Jr.)

Heldt is tall and long and very active. Marquette will use him up top as a screener and roll him through the lane often, a challenge for Isaac Haas when they're lined up head-to-head. Purdue will want to leverage Haas' size on offense but don't be surprised if Marquette challenges Haas with Heldt down low as well.

G -2 Sacar Anim (6-5, 210, R-So.)

A long athletic slasher with some quickness to him, he's one of two wings Marquette has that Purdue will be cautious to keep out of the lane.

G - 25 Haanif Cheatham (6-5, 195, Jr.)

Cheatham is big and rangy and, like Anim, a slasher who's good getting a head of steam toward the basket. The Golden Eagles will run screens for him to try to get him into the lane from up top or to the baseline from the wing. And he can make spot-up threes.

G - 30 Andrew Rousey (5-11, 180, R-Sr.)

Rousey, the Big East sixth man of the year last season after averaging just under 12 points, scored 23 in Marquette's opener. He was a near-45-percent three-point shooter last season, a crafty and surprisingly physical guard who'll manipulate defenders with his shot fake and be aggressive in transition.

KEY PLAYER

G - 0 Markus Howard (5-11, 175, So.)

The nation's leader in three-point percentage last season at 54.7 percent, Howard is coming off a preseason ankle injury, but managed to log 25 minutes in the Eagles' opener vs. Mt. Saint Mary's.

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THREE THINGS
Defensive Discipline Rebounding Poise

Marquette can really, really shoot and will test Purdue's ability to stay with shooters, running it through lots of screens and running ball-screen sets to try to get its wings into to the the lane or baseline. They'll run off-the-ball defenders ragged trying to spring Howard, etc., for threes. The Eagles use shot fakes well and will test Purdue's attention span defensively. Foul trouble could be trouble.

Purdue responded in a big way from the SIU-Edwardsville debacle with a statement sort of effort against Chicago State. The same effort will be required when the games matter, and this one certainly will. Haas and Vincent Edwards loom large, but it has to be everyone. Offensive rebounds are particularly scary against a team with three returning 45-plus--percent three-point shooters.

The senior-heavy Boilermakers are both experienced as a team with all their veterans but also experienced together following the World University Games. It's time for Purdue for that stuff to matter in its first meaningful game of the season and first road game of said season. Turnovers will be an issue if they lead to Marquette run-outs.

PREDICTION: PURDUE 77, MARQUETTE 71

Purdue's been here before and now's the time for it to start reaping the benefits of the World University Games. This is Game 2 for Marquette, Game 25 for Purdue, basically. That should be an advantage for the Boilermakers, but they remain a bit of a defensive unknown to this point. Here's a chance to look like a known.

Vincent Edwards has to stay out of foul trouble against Hauser and Haas must as well against Marquette's ball screens. The Boilermakers will need their best players on the floor.

We're giving those best players the benefit of the doubt here, bringing a team with a strong track record in this particular facility against a good Marquette team, but one still working to replace some key pieces from last season.

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