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NCAA Basketball Big 10 BasketballOhio State BuckeyesPurdue Boilermakers

Preview: Ohio State at Purdue

Sandra Dukes-USA Today Sports

With all of the great teams in the Big 10 this year, every conference game is going to be a good. Tonight, the No. 15 Ohio State Buckeyes travel to West Lafayette, Ind. to take on the Purdue Boilermakers.

In the last couple of years, this has always been an anticipated match-up with both teams being extremely good. This season Ohio State is still very good, but the Boilermakers have gotten off to a slow start with a very young team.

That doesn’t mean Purdue can’t stun the Buckeyes tonight.

Ohio State has been struggling of late and need another scorer to emerge other than Deshaun Thomas. Thomas is averaging 20.2 points per game and that leads the conference. OSU does have a number on their side tonight as they are 11-0 against unranked teams and the Boilermakers currently aren’t ranked.

The Buckeyes have shot under 34 percent in all three of their losses due to a lack of production from their big men and point guards, Aaron Craft and Shannon Scott.

After losing their last game by 19 points to Illinois, you have to feel like Ohio State is going to want to come out and prove something.  Mackey Arena might have something to say about that.

Purdue enters tonight at 7-7 including 1-1 in conference play. They lost on Saturday to Michigan State by 23 points, but did lead in the game early in the second half.

They were also able to upset Illinois in their conference opener in large part to the play of Terone Johnson and hustle of D.J. Byrd.  Also playing at home and having fans like they do is always a big advantage. That will be an advantage they have tonight as I’m sure the Boilermaker students are anxious for this game to tip off.

Last time Ohio State entered Mackey Arena, they came out with a loss, although it was against a much different and much better Purdue team.

Johnson leads the team with 13.4 points per game and both D.J. Byrd and A.J. Hammons average 10.1. Byrd is a player who every team is afraid of because he can knock down the outside shot at a high percentage. If he gets hot, anything can happen in this game and you know he is going to want to have a good game tonight.

Hammons is a seven-foot freshman who is improving every day. He is going to be a very good player and is going to make Ohio State take a lot of jump shots because of his presence in the paint.

Don’t be shocked if Purdue wins this game. Ohio State is saying they are going to turn their season around tonight, but will that start with this game?

Ohio State and Purdue will tip-off at 9 p.m. on ESPN.