Purdue Basketball 2011
Purdue Boilermakers @ Michigan State Spartans Basketball Recap
Purdue 67, Michigan State 47
Yes, the Michigan State Spartans aren’t as good as they have been the previous two seasons. Yes, Sparty has underachieved at a level few thought possible heading into this season, when MSU gained a top-five national ranking in the preseason polls. Yes, the Purdue Boilermakers were favored to win at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Michigan, but with all of that having been said, it was still shocking to see a team march into Tom Izzo’s living room and rip the internal organs out of a program that has set a very high standard in this sport.
Purdue, with an icy and cold efficiency, dismantled Michigan State on Sunday afternoon, rolling to a startlingly easy 20-point win on the road. The blow-the-doors-off performance underscores the extent to which Purdue has overachieved this year while similarly magnifying the impoverished nature of Michigan State’s basketball journey. The two teams at opposite ends of the spectrum in the Big Ten met in the same place this weekend, and perhaps the college basketball cognoscenti should have seen this coming.
Purdue was the team whose performance was supposed to suffer in 2011 without star wing Robbie Hummel. Michigan State, largely returning the group that reached the 2010 Final Four (with a number of veterans from the 2009 Final Four squad as well), was expected to be at the top of the Big Ten and national standings at this time of year. Yet, for whatever reason, Purdue has been able to exceed expectations while Sparty has fallen far short… far enough, as a matter of fact, that it might need one more win in the coming week to feel 100 percent secure about an NCAA Tournament berth. If Michigan State doesn’t win another contest before Selection Sunday, March 13’s announcement of the NCAA field could possibly send MSU to the NIT.
That’s the college basketball climate we’re living in right now.
This game began and ended with Purdue’s dynamic defense. The Boilermakers are maxing out under coach Matt Painter, who is finding all the answers that Izzo is failing to unearth for Michigan State. Purdue held Michigan State scoreless for a four-minute stretch that bridged the end of the first half with the start of the second half, but the Boilers then muzzled MSU again just a few minutes later. From the 14:56 mark of the second half until the 8:45 mark – a span of just over six minutes – Purdue surrendered only two points to Sparty. Moreover, the visitors from the state of Indiana were able to turn takeaways into fast-break buckets and run Michigan State out of its own building.
The Boilermakers accumulated a 49-33 lead just inside the nine-minute mark as a result of their defensive dominance; when you allow roughly one point per minute as Purdue did on Sunday, your fortunes will typically rise. Sure, Purdue big man JaJuan Johnson scored 20 points and E’Twaun Moore chipped in with 17 for the Boilers, but on a day when Michigan State had just one player (Kalin Lucas with 23) score more than seven points, Purdue didn’t need anything in the way of dynamic offense. When Michigan State’s best player over the course of the season, forward Draymond Green, is limited to just seven points, Sparty isn’t going to threaten anyone. Purdue didn’t just beat Michigan State; it humiliated the Spartans, who are still in the NCAA Tournament at the moment but – as a non-lock – must still dwell in the neighborhood of the bubble until they grab another win or two.
Purdue, without Robbie Hummel, is making a push for a strong No. 2 seed. Michigan State is near the bubble. Yep, just as everyone expected when this college basketball season began.
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