On Saturday afternoon the Boilers take on Xavier at home. We all remember the debacle in Cincinnati last season, which was one reason why the win over Clemson never seemed certain in the second half. We've seen Purdue blow 19-point second half leads. This year though, both teams are very different after having lost their top players and multiple starters to graduation.
For the first time this year the Boilers will be coming off a road win and a victory over a quality opponent. Does that mean this team has turned the corner and has a greater sense of identity with it's shortened rotation? Or will the Clemson game prove to be a fluke mostly attributed to DJ Byrd's career-best first half?
Why Purdue Will Win - Both teams are young and don't exactly instill fear in their opponents, so I'm giving the edge to the Boilers due to home court advantage and the hunger for revenge from last year's game. Xavier's only quality win this season was against Butler, which is impressive until you discount the fact that the Bulldogs are completely bipolar this year, pulling some big upsets like against North Carolina, but also losing big to Xavier and Illinois. As we saw against Clemson, this Purdue team can play really well when their shots are falling, and Hammons should be able to get some easy buckets down low since Xavier can't match his size. Speaking of size, Purdue should absolutely dominate the glass if they hope to win, ala the Clemson game. Xavier is not a particularly good rebounding team, and the Boilers' energy and knack for offensive boards this week could be huge.
One thing you absolutely need to know before the game - Remember Jeff Robinson? Back in 2009 in he signed with Purdue but didn't make grades so he headed to Xavier. He was a non-factor last season, but this year he's the team's third leading rebounder and scorer. Some say his grade issue was manufactured by Purdue since Robinson had a poor senior high school season. I wonder if he's bitter and will have a monster game? You know who was added to the 2009 recruiting class instead of Robinson? Patrick Bade. That worked out well.
Want another Purdue connection? Matt Painter was the runner-up for the services of Xavier point guard Dee Davis who is leading the X-men in points per game. If he had signed in 2011, would we still have gotten Ronnie (and Bryson Scott coming next year)? I'm OK with that exchange, but Davis is no slouch.
Our Picks - We like to think we're better than Vegas. So throughout the season, we'll be "betting" a whole dollar amount versus the spread between $1 and $32, but we can't repeat the same value twice. The spread for this game is Purdue -4.5.
Erik's Bet: $25
Erik's Pick: Xavier 72 - Purdue 69
Kirk's Bet: $24
Kirk's Pick: Purdue 66 - Xavier 64
Values already bet
Erik 6, 11, 12, 13, 14, 26, 30, 32
Kirk 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32