Purdue continues their tough non-conference slate tonight when they take on Villanova, in the 2K Sports Classic at New York, at Madison Square Garden. Purdue rebounded with a win against Hofstra, Sunday, after falling to Bucknell to open the season.
Their next tough test comes tonight against Villanova. Here is one important storyline to watch, and the key to a Purdue win.
A major theme between Purdue and Villanova is that both programs are in a state of concern. Villanova, who appears to be at a lower point than Purdue, are coming off a horrible season. They finished 13-19, last season, missing the tourney. For a program so used to winning, this was a very disappointing season. Things were tough, and don’t seem much better this year. It would be a surprise to see them finish in the upper half of the Big East this season. Freshman point guard, Ryan Arcidiacono, has been a nice glimmer of hope for the program, leading in scoring and assists, through just two games.
Purdue had more of a short term letdown, with the opening loss to Bucknell. That loss, though an upset, was not extremely surprising. This is a young Purdue team, that was missing Terone Johnson. They were broken down by a more experienced, more efficient Bucknell team. Purdue has the potential to be a bubble team, but have to show up tonight to have confidence for a tough upcoming stretch of games.
The key to tonight will be three point shooting for Purdue. In their loss to Bucknell, DJ Byrd was the only player to make a three. That killed them in such a close game. In their win over Hofstra, however, Purdue shot 39% from deep. If they can hit threes at a good rate it will open up attacking lanes to the paint against Villanova.
The winning team tonight will have some momentum, to try to right their program. It is early in the year, but there is a lot on the line for both teams tonight.