Big Ten Championship: Purdue favored by 4 over Michigan State The Enlightened Spartan: Big Ten Championship: Purdue favored by 4 over Michigan State

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Big Ten Championship: Purdue favored by 4 over Michigan State

Today's matchup of #14 Michigan State at #3 Purdue is, for all intents and purposes, the Big Ten Championship game. The Boilermakers are favored by 4 points at home... but MSU's chances for victory vastly improved after the loss of All-Big Ten performer Robbie Hummel (15.7 ppg, 6.9 rebs). Ohio State sits at 13-4 with one game remaining home vs Illinois and needs an MSU victory for a chance at the title; Purdue is 12-3 with games vs bottom feeders Penn State and Indiana. Michigan State, at 11-4, must still play bottom feeders Penn State and Michigan.

This should be a GREAT game... MSU had a week to prepare for Purdue and the expected raucous environment. The biggest problems for Michigan State remain the same as last game: E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson. But Hummel is the grit, the glue and the soul of the Boilermaker team. His loss is as big as any in college basketball this year. In the last meeting - a victory in East Lansing - Moore scored 25 points (8-14 FG, 4-8 3s) with 6 asts; Johnson had 19 points (8-15 FG) and 7 rebs... Hummel had 15 pts, 5 asts and 5 rebs. But, in that game, Purdue hit 91% of its free throws (20-22). Purdue's bench scored 9 points and will be asked to contribute far more with the loss of Hummel today (MSU's bench scored 21 in the previous meeting). If Johnson or Moore get into any foul trouble, it will be a long day for Purdue.

Losses by #7 Villanova, #8 West Virginia, #11 Georgetown, #12 Pitt, and #13 BYU give a Michigan State victory at Purdue a great chance to move back into the Top 10. Other losses at the top by #1 Kansas and #2 Kentucky will make for a volatile poll next week as we head down the home stretch into conference championships... and tourney pairings. Right now, MSU sits as a #4 seed in the South, but aiming to move up - it is mojo time.

ES sez: Michigan State will pull away with its depth in the end despite a gritty defensive effort out of Johnson and Chris Kramer (5.9 pts, 2.9 asts). MSU 67, Purdue 61.

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