Previewing No. 14 Ohio State’s gigantic match-up with No. 3 Purdue

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 20: Jae'Sean Tate
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 20: Jae'Sean Tate /

Atop the Big Ten basketball standings, Ohio State and Purdue look to settle the top spot in the conference.

Tonight’s conference game is no regular task for the No. 14 Ohio State Buckeyes. After last week’s physical victories over Indiana and Illinois, the Buckeyes set for a gigantic game against No. 3 Purdue.

Head coach Matt Painter’s team currently stands in comfortable position for a top-seed in the NCAA tournament, with their last loss coming on November 24th, 2017 against Western Kentucky. While the loss isn’t pretty, winning 17-games in a row cleans that mess.

As a whole, there is no fluke to Purdue’s 23-2 (12-0) start. They make the upset bids of other clubs seem meaningless with their prowess in all phases of the game. Purdue ranks 20th in the nation in scoring (84 PPG) and 18th in points allowed (64.2 PPG).

One thing going for the Buckeyes tonight, as he has all season, is Keita Bates-Diop, the best player the Big Ten has to offer this season.

While the junior averages team-highs with 20.2 PPG and 8.9 RPG, he’s looked comfortable finding his role within a game. Just last week, he had a do-it-all-but-not-too-much game against Indiana before scoring 35 points in a tough scoring game for his teammates against Illinois.

While Ohio State likely has the best player in the conference, Purdue has the next two. 

Though Vince and Carsen Edwards aren’t brothers, their shared last name seems to share a basketball electricity. The sophomore Carsen leads the team with 16.6 PPG, shooting 47.1-percent from the floor. Meanwhile, the senior Vince is second in scoring with 15.5 PPG and the team’s leading rebounder at 7.8 RPG.

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Furthermore, the two create the big plays that swing college basketball games.

The two are only bolstered by senior Isaac Haas, who has gotten better in each of his four seasons as a Boilermaker. He’s averaging 14.5 points and 5.4 rebounds, but his 7-foot-2 frame gives him unique defensive advantages at the college level.

Ohio State’s senior forward Jae’Sean Tate might have a big say in tonight’s outcome. When Ohio State saw Purdue last season, Tate scored 17 points, points that would be gigantic if he can find them tonight.

However, Holtmann’s Buckeyes are down a starter against the Boilermakers. Fifth-year senior Kam Williams faces a three-to-five game suspension for violating team rules. The suspension began against Illinois and is certain to hold him out tonight.

Next: No. 14 ranking, KBD and recurring issues

This gigantic Big Ten game tips-off at 8:30 PM on the Big Ten Network and it is must-watch material. Ohio State hasn’t played this high-profile of a basketball game in a long time and Chris Holtmann can seal his coach of the year candidacy with a win. Find a way to tune-in; you won’t want to miss this game.