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Purdue Boilermakers vs. Northwestern Wildcats Preview

Friday, Friday, gotta write posts about Robbie Hummel while skipping class on Friday, everybody's getting ready for the Robbie Hummel

In good omen news for Northwestern, my IM basketball team, which we all agree is inextricably linked to Northwestern basketball, brought 11 guys to its matchup with some seniors in Pike and won going away, 30-11, marking Sigma Nu's first victory since the 2010 season. My point is, anything is possible. If Sig Nu can win, surely Northwestern can find three to four extra scholarship athletes capable of competing on the Big Ten level by tomorrow and dress more than seven players. Mark my words: Sig Nu's improbable playoff run will coincide with NU's first ever tourney appearance. (Okay, please stop marking my words.)

Jump for talk.

Are they good?: I'm pretty shocked at how middle of the pack Purdue is this year. After losing E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson, the face of this team is drastically different than it has been in years past, but I look at Purdue and I see a team with no real quality wins - maybe Illinois? - and a loss to a mediocre Butler team and a blowout loss to Penn State. I'm very "meh".

Who they got?: Purdue really comes down to two players: Robbie Hummel, the brilliant scorer who you know from his 18 years in college and $Texas horrific knee injuries , and Lewis Jackson, the point guard. Everybody else is some combination of "new", "less good", and "I'm Ryne Smith and I shoot threes." Hummel has a little bit of everything in his game - he can post, he can shoot, he can drive - notably, never, ever, ever turns the ball over, so doubling him is pretty useless. Jackson has no jumper to speak of but can finish on his way to the hoop and is a nifty passer. If I were Matt Painter, this team would be pick-and-roll/pop based with those two and Smith spotted up beyond the arc, but alas, I'm not, and instead they just play college-y motion offense. Boring.

What are they good at?: Purdue is the best team in the country in not turning the ball over. Only 14.8 percent of their possessions end up in turnovers.

What are they bad at?: Opponents shoot 36.2 percent from three against the Boilermakers, which is wheeeeeeeeeee! material for Northwestern, considering their game plan.

Do you have jokes?: Yes. The people at Wildside asked me if I could do the little sheet they give out at home games with things about opposing players. Unless they got qualms with me posting what I wrote here, these are the lies I made up about Purdue. Major hat tip to Seth Rosenthal from Posting and Toasting, who perfected this art form over the years with his Know the Opponent and Pre-Game Reconnaissance posts. Some things are modestly factual.

Dru Anthrop: Dru's career high is three points, against Alcorn State. He refuses to go any higher as a tribute to his parents' insistence on spelling "Dru" with only three letters.

Kelsey Barlow: Girl's name girl's name hahahahahahahahaha looololololol he probably sucks because he has a girl's name
Neal Beshears: Neal throws uncontrollable temper tantrums every time the movie on the team bus isn't "Deuce Bigalow 2: European Gigolo".
D.J. Byrd: "DJ Byrd" is also D.J.'s DJ name. He is the three-time winner of Purdue's modestly coveted "Worst Student DJ Name" award.
Travis Carroll: Travis chose Purdue because Matt Painter was the only coach to assure him he would be allowed to play co-rec intramural basketball, where he averages 93 points and 49 rebounds a game.
Donnie Hale: The actual reason Donnie has yet to see any playing time this year Purdue is that he follows every made basket with an elaborate gyrating dance that takes nearly 45 seconds, leaving the Boilermakers short-handed on defense and oddly aroused.
John Hart: John tried to make his entrance music for player introductions "My Heart Will Go On" when he was informed that a) there was no music for player introductions and b) he wasn't a starter.
Robbie Hummel: Part of the fine print for Purdue attendees is that Robbie Hummel can harvest your ACL at any given time.
Lewis Jackson: Since a trip to Medieval Times, Lewis has exclusively referred to Coach Painter as "my liege".
Anthony Johnson: This is the same Anthony Johnson who played in the NBA from 1997-2010. In a landmark decision, the NCAA granted him extra eligibility because "we feel bad that his neck is so short and we like his beard".
Terone Johnson: Terone began referring to the tandem of himself and Anthony as "Johnson and Johnson", which everybody thought was fine until he began forcing Anthony to spend most of his free time devising and packaging consumer pharmaceuticals for their business.
Jacob Lawson: Jacob's teammates have subjected him to demeaning tasks for being a freshman, like making him carry their luggage from the team bus to the hotel, and making him live and attend classes in East Lafayette, Indiana.
Sandi Marcius: Teammates assume "Sandi" is a common name in Marcius' homeland of Croatia, but in fact, Sandi is a 55-year old woman.
Ryne Smith: Under the belief the NBA lockout extended to college, Ryne began the year not showing up to practice. At first, Purdue staff tried to explain the situation to him, but after a few days, they gave up and "agreed to negotiate" with him.

Do you think Chris Kramer is a jerk?: Yes, he was the worst.

Should NU play the 1-3-1?: Uh, no. Purdue just played Michigan, and although they ended up losing by two, the two possessions Michigan played the 1-3-1 were textbook and resulted in five simple points off of quick passing. If anybody up at Welsh-Ryan is charged with watching, you know, opponents, play, they should have seen this. Keep the Kraken chained, Bill.

Can NU win?: I believe so. (As does Kenpom.) Both teams need this game, and Northwestern has been significantly better at home than on the road. Purdue's good, but they're not worldbeaters. The Cats have had a week to rest and recuperate, let's get it now.