Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Basketball Preview: Purdue at Clemson. - November 28th - 7:15 pm - ESPNU

It's our 100th post!  Let's hope the Boilers celebrate with a big win tomorrow!
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.

Why Clemson Will Win -  Clemson's Littlejohn Coliseum is not a very intimidating place to play.  Expect no more than 8,000 of the 10,000 seats to be filled (there were 4,500 for Clemson's home opener), as Clemson truly is a football school (Death Valley holds over 81,000 and routinely sells out).  However, this atmosphere may keep the youthful Boilers from focusing on how difficult winning their first true road game will really be. Milton Jennings and Devin Booker (the two seniors on the team) are more established and better players than Purdue's seniors (Byrd and Anthrop) and can go off at any time. The key to the game may actually be foul trouble.  If Booker can stay out of foul trouble and draw some fouls on AJ Hammons, Clemson probably wins.  Booker is the tallest regular at 6'8", so expect the winner of his matchup with the 7-footer to decide the game.

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

Boiler up!


  1. GO TIGERS!! We're going to Rock the John against you guys tonight. Interpret that anyway you'd like- either we'll rock you, or we will look like crap out there.

  2. Oh no - who let this troll on here! Clemson's only good for one thing: Mellow Mushroom pizza trivia contests. Any city that takes beer out of your hand at midnight on a Saturday night due to the county's Sunday liquor laws is not alright with me!

  3. I'm a Purdue alum that spent the past 5 years working at Clemson and my husband (also a Purdue alum) has his M.S. and Ph.D. from Clemson. We grew to really love Clemson while we were there, but Purdue is always our first team! Clemson is absolutely a football school first and foremost although they really do love all their sports (you should see the numbers that come out for soccer and baseball!) I was also at that first game and remember being really impressed with the baby boilers. I hope I get to see that with our new guys. Can't wait for this game. BOILER UP!

    (You also can't go to a bar on Sunday and have a beer while watching your Colts.)

  4. Hey Betsy! Thanks for reading and commenting, and I hope you enjoyed watching your alma mater beat Clemson (despite your ties there) more than the Clemson coach's wife did!