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Up next for Purdue: Today at Iowa
When: 2 p.m.
Where: Carver Hawkeye Arena
On the air: BTN
Records: Purdue (15-13 overall, 5-10 Big Ten), Iowa (19-9, 8-7)
Expected starters for the Boilers: Ronnie Johnson – 6-0 sophomore guard, Terone Johnson – 6-4 senior guard, Rapheal Davis -- 6-4 sophomore guard, Kendall Stephens – 6-6 freshman forward, A.J. Hammons – 7-foot sophomore center.
Update: This game was originally scheduled for Saturday, but coach Matt Painter agreed to move it back a day to help Iowa, which had to adjust its schedule after its Feb. 18 game at Indiana was postponed because of a fallen metal plate at Assembly Hall.
If ever there was a time for the Boilers to run, this is it. Iowa's transition defense has been a disaster lately. The Hawkeyes have allowed more than 90 points to Minnesota and Indiana in the last week. With the improved play of point guards Ronnie Johnson and Bryson Scott, and with Terone Johnson seemingly having regained his scorer's touch, there's no reason for Purdue to take it slow. The key is, as always, especially on the road, to play smart, take good shots and minimize the turnovers.
Purdue has lost eight of its last 10 games. A big goal is to get one more victory to avoid a losing record for a second straight season. The Boilers seemed to have recovered from Wednesday's 77-76 gut-wrenching loss against Michigan, a game they led nearly the entire time. They did a lot of things right. Just a little more poise on each possession could be the difference maker. It would help if forward Jay Simpson is available, but his status remains uncertain after suffering dizziness at Nebraska.
Sophomore Rapheal Davis is coming into his own. Against Michigan, even though his shot wasn't falling (he was just 2-for-10 from the field), he still recorded the first double-double of his career with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Just a week or so ago Iowa seemed on the verge of a Big Ten title. It had dominated Michigan at Carver Hawkeye Arena 85-67 behind its impressive depth. Then it went on the road for three straight games and lost all three -- to Wisconsin, Minnesota and Indiana. Still, the Hawkeyes have one of the Big Ten's best players in Roy Devyn Marble, who averages 16.9 points and 3.6 rebounds. They push the pace in coach Fran McCaffery's get-after-it system.
Coach Matt Painter (On changing the date with Iowa): “I respect what Fran does. He does things the right way. He works hard. He's a standup guy. Why not help somebody? You get into these battles and it's hard. It's a very competitive business. We'll have 14 teams in our league next year. I feel like I just joined our league and I've been here nine years. Only a couple of faces are still around from when I first got here. That really puts things in perspective. If you don't enjoy it, if you don't try to help somebody else out,what's the point? I don't think get rewarded for doing what supposed to do either.
“If you look at Iowa's schedule, our schedule and Indiana's schedule, it was the only thing that made sense. It was the only real option. If they were in the same position, they'd help us. I thought it made sense to move it back a day. We'll have the same practice time we would have had for Wisconsin (Purdue plays there on Wednesday). It doesn't put us out. It's the right thing to do.”
(On playing fast against Iowa) “I don't know if it's pace. If you make good decisions and take care of the ball, there will be some opportunities to go quick at times – a layup or an open three. You've got to take those, but any time you're on the road, you have to be more selective and patient.”