Why Purdue Will Win
By now you know everything about this Purdue team, which still means you probably have no idea if they'll win or lose, so join the club, and we won't rehash it all again here. Though it costs the athletic department $50,000, Purdue has home court advantage, which hopefully is the real edge in this game if the fans and Paint Crew bother to show up. After the Western Illinois game, I thought the attendance would surely get better if the team played well (since Santa Clara is actually decent, too), but with the blizzard that I hear is currently hitting the midwest (yes, I'm rubbing it in that I'm surrounded by palm trees), I'm not too confident anyone will be there. If you go, be loud! Purdue is probably taking a loss on this game for your benefit!
Why Santa Clara Will Win
Santa Clara is a much better team than Western Illinois, and this game should be much closer. If the Boilers start as poorly as they did last week, Santa Clara may end up building an insurmountable lead. The Broncos have only one notable win on the season (and only one against an NCAA Tournament team), beating St. Louis on the road in the second game of the season. Of course we all saw how overrated St. Louis was this weekend. Santa Clara averages over 75 points per game with the vast majority coming from their guards, including senior star Kevin Foster who averages over 18 points per contest. The only inside scoring presence for the Broncos is senior forward Marc Trasolini, and he averages more points than Terone Johnson, and at 6-9, he could be s difficult matchup because Santa Clara also starts a 7-footer in Robert Garrett. With adequate size, good guard play, and strong senior leadership, this seems like it could be quite a difficult matchup for the Boilers.
Santa Clara also features sophomore point guard Brandon Clark, who is their fifth leading scorer. Clark is from East Chicago and went to Merrillville HS, so he may have a breakout game playing against Purdue. Clark had offers from Harvard and Bucknell and while Illinois and Nebraska checked him out, he didn't have any major program offers. Guys like that always seem to play with an extra edge when back on their turf.
|The best thing to come out of Santa Clara|
(Kurt Rambis, you can be a distant second)
It sounds like the CBI heard all our gripes about AXS TV, so the game won't be broadcast there. But we should be careful what we wish for. Instead the game is going to be on te Big Ten Digital Network. As Sir Charles would say, "That's just turrrible." Apparently a lot of fans could see the game for free on AXS, despite it's horrible production value, and now those same fans have to pay the Big Ten more money to watch it online. Fans like me that have no access to AXS (see what I did there?) now have an option to watch the game. Although finding an illegal streaming website was at least a free option last game (and let me watch the pleasant second half, after missing the dreadful first half against Western Illinois).
If you remember from earlier this season, we are not fans of the broadcast capabilities of the BTDN. Seriously, why isn't this game on the main Big Ten Network? Instead they'll be showing a couple installments of "Big Ten's Greatest Games." That's right. They think more people will watch an old rebroadcast basketball game than a tournament game featuring the 7th place* team in the conference? Whatever.
Erik's Bet: $64 (8 squared in honor of being in the "elite eight")
Erik's Pick: Purdue 65 - Santa Clara 63
Kirk's Bet: $99 (the percent chance I will lose in all my bracket competitions, after winning them all last year)
Kirk's Pick: Purdue 69 - Santa Clara 68
Erik +424 (25-10 Against The Spread)
Kirk -52 (15-20 Against The Spread)