Purdue at Clemson...oh the memories! I traveled down to Clemson, SC for the game 5 years ago when we barely knew anything about the Baby Boilers. My brother attended Clemson, and since Purdue and Clemson rarely play each other in any sport, the whole family went down to watch the sibling rivalry. Purdue lost 61-58, but probably would have pulled it our had Chris Kramer not botched a dunk a minute into the second half. After hitting his head on the ground, Kramer sat the rest of the game, giving the Freshmen their most minutes since they started at Purdue earlier that month. This being my first time seeing the new guys live, I remember leaving the game talking about how Scott Martin would be the top player in the class, while thinking this Robbie Hummel guy looked better than I expected. The other two looked raw, but had a bit of potential.
|Scott Martin nearly led the Boilers to a win last time Purdue played in Clemson - that seems like a LONG time ago!|
Well, it's been a wild ride since that night (and I was proven very wrong!), but amazingly, Purdue heads down to Clemson in a very similar situation. Honestly, this group of freshmen are at a very similar skill level as the Baby Boilers were at this point.
The Boilers have a huge 5 game stretch coming up, with all of them except Lamar being difficult but winnable games (@Clemson, Xavier, @E. Michigan, Notre Dame). If they struggle with this stretch, they may dig themselves too big of a hole come March. On the flip side, Purdue could put themselves in great shape for the Big Ten season with 4 or 5 wins. It all starts on Wednesday night...
Why Purdue Will Win - The Boilers have a huge opportunity and they've had a week to prepare. In the meantime, Clemson's played 3 games since Thursday, losing to Gonzaga while beating UTEP and Marist. There's no way Clemson's as prepared as the Boilermakers, and hopefully Matt Painter has started to figure out the rotations that work the best. Clemson, like Villanova, is a very similar team to Purdue in that they only have two upperclassmen on the entire team - they may actually be younger than the Boilermakers. They also don't shoot very well. If Purdue can force the young Tigers into 20 turnovers and hold their own on the glass, they should be able to pull it out.
One thing you absolutely need to know before the game - Are you frustrated about Purdue's free throw percentage the last two years? Imagine being a Clemson fan. Check out Clemson's free throw percentage in the last 10 seasons (Purdue's percentage is in parentheses):
2003-04: 63.1% (73.6)
2004-05: 60.1% (68.0)
2005-06: 61.7% (68.4)
2006-07: 57.8% (67.8)
2007-08: 62.3% (71.2)
2008-09: 68.8% (70.3)
2009-10: 66.1% (72.3)
2010-11: 70.1% (71.5)
2011-12: 67.0% (65.6)
2012-13: 66.2% (64.6)
While the Tigers have been a little better in the last few years, Purdue's "awful" free throw shooting of the past year and a half has pretty much been the norm for Clemson over the last decade. Regardless, I doubt either team will feel too confident with a 10-point lead in the last 10 minutes...
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 Clemson by 5.5.
Erik's Bet: 30
Erik's Pick: Purdue 61 - Clemson 60
Kirk's Bet: 25
Kirk's Pick: Clemson 64 - Purdue 62
Erik +88 (6 for 7!)
Kirk -203 (An incredible 0 for 7!)
Values already bet
Erik 6, 11, 12, 13, 14, 26, 32
Kirk 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32