Twenty-first-ranked Purdue hosts undefeated Valparaiso in what could be an interesting showcase at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette. The Crusaders have cruised past the competition but will easily face their toughest opponent yet. The Boilermakers are also coming in hot with four straight victories. The game will be broadcast on FS1.
Crusaders land biggest challenge of the season at West Lafayette
Valparaiso hasn’t faced top-tier talent in their 8-0 start, but it still shouldn’t be overlooked. The team has held the opposition to an average of 60 points per game. They’ve been hitting an average of 49 percent themselves and are dominating the glass with nearly 43 rebounds per game. The latest victory, a 72-65 win over Utah State in the Mountain West/Missouri Valley Challenge, was one of the more closest results of the season.
The Crusaders held the Aggies to just 32.3 percent from the field and they overcame making just 2-for-13 from downtown. They expectedly won the rebounding battle 49-40. Senior guard Tevonn Walker (17.3 ppg) had his second game of over 20 points in the last four contests. He finished with 25 points on 10-of-17 shooting and he made all three free throws. He nearly grabbed a double-double with nine boards — that also happened when he put up 26 on Samford.
Haas overwhelms Wildcats, leads Boilermakers to second straight Big Ten win
Purdue is one of the three Big Ten teams that starts off 2-0 in Big Ten play. With a week of conference action under the belt, it’s back to non-conference foes. Those victories came against Maryland on the road and Northwestern at home — both five-point victories. The Wildcats did play toe-to-toe with the Boilermakers in a 74-69 loss, but the major difference came in fouling. Purdue capitalized making 16-of-24 from the charity stripe while NW went just 3-for-5.
Senior center Isaac Haas (15.7 ppg) had his best performance yet with 26 points and 9 rebounds, falling just one board shy of a double-double. Haas has delivered an efficient 18-of-26 from the field over his last two games. Northwestern simply didn’t have an answer for his size as he went to the foul line often and went 10-for-14 from there.
- 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 against Big Ten teams
- 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games against teams with a winning SU record
- 4-0 ATS in their last 4 home games against teams with a winning road record
- 27-11 ATS in their last 38 non-conference games
The Crusaders being heavy underdogs shows how much the respect their schedule is getting, and it’s a fair point. They haven’t faced much of a challenge, and the rather close game against Utah State shows that this could be a one-sided affair.