#13 Purdue will look to avenge their loss to Illinois during the regular season this afternoon in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament. Purdue (24-7, 12-6, 4th seed) lost to Illinois (15-18, 5-13, 12th seed) 84-70 in Champaign on January 10th. Illinois earned the right to play Purdue by beating Minnesota on Wednesday, 85-52 and upsetting a struggling Iowa team on Thursday, 68-66.
In their first meeting, Purdue played their worst game of the year. After being tied at halftime, Kendrick Nunn went on a personal 9-0 run to start the second half and Illinois had the lead the rest of the game. Nunn finished with 22 points and Malcolm Hill had 30 points to lead the Illini. The duo combined for 52 of the teams 84 points. It will be imperative for Purdue to keep those two in check for today’s game. The only way Illinois has a chance in this game is if that duo matches or exceeds what they did in the first meeting. A.J. Hammons and Isaac Haas combined for only 16 points in the first meeting so getting the bigs going will be important for Purdue. Bankers Life Fieldhouse has not always been kind to Purdue’s perimeter shooters, so getting the easy buckets down low will be important for Purdue.
The winner of this matchup will play the winner of the Michigan/IU, which will play the first game today at noon. The Big Ten Tournament organizers and the fans of Purdue and IU would love to see the two in-state schools meet in Indy as it would for sure mean a sell out in Bankers Life. Purdue must play its part by taking care of business versus a team they should be able to beat.
The game is at 2:30 and will be televised by ESPN. Mike Tirico and Dan Dakich will be on the call.