Know thy enemy: Purdue Exponent writer predicts upset win over MSU
Michigan State is looking to win its ninth-straight game on Tuesday, while trying to extend their season-long win streak at home.
Standing in the way of the eighth-ranked Spartans (13-2 overall, 4-0 Big Ten) is conference foe Purdue. The Boilermakers (9-5, 2-1) will enter the Breslin Center winless in three road games this season, including losses to then-No. 10 Virginia Tech, then-No. 9 Florida State, second-ranked Michigan, Notre Dame and Texas.
The State News was able to interview Ethan Newett of The Purdue Exponent, one of the men’s basketball reporters for the student publication, to preview the 9 p.m. tipoff (ESPN).
Here’s what he had to say.
Editor's note: This was lightly edited for clarification purposes.
Q: Purdue is 9-5 overall, 0-3 on the road, but when you look at the schedule it’s been incredibly tough with losses to Florida State, Michigan, Texas and Notre Dame, etc. Why has Purdue struggled so mightily on the road and what have you seen?
A: "I think that losing the starters last year was kind of a big hit. This team is young. Other than (Carsen) Edwards, a lot of these kids have not started or had the leading roles so I think at home they’re comfortable but this is the first time they’ve had to go out and lead a team on the road, and I think they’ve been a little slow to adjust.
I think as the season goes on they’ll get better. We’ve also lost a couple games at the very end where I think at home they were calm and prepared to have a good last 30 seconds and close out the game and win, but on the road they’ve been a little bit hesitant at the end of games, a little bit nervous, which have cost us a few times. I think as the season has gone on they’ve showed more maturity and I think they’re getting better at it. I think they’re getting better as the season goes on."
Q: Carsen Edwards is Purdue’s leading scorer at 25.5 points a game. What’s his biggest improvement from a year ago and what’s the offense like that it’s modeled around him?
A: "I think his biggest improvement has definitely been his ability to just score almost at will sometimes. He’s been able to lead the teams. There have been a few games where he just keeps Purdue in the game single-handedly through points, assists. He’s been pretty good with steals for a good part of the season. I think his maturity has been his best improvement this season. He’s been the guy late in the game who gets the ball, he’s the one who leads the offense.
I think the biggest difference to the offense is that it's Carsen-centric. It’s all around Carsen. The year previous it was all the older guys with experience. The ball was shared more, you had Haas down low who could score. You had Vincent Edwards, you had all these other guys that could kind spread the ball. I think these young guys like to give it to Carson sometimes to let him do his thing when they’re nervous or they all have their faith in Carsen."
What does Purdue have to do to come out of East Lansing with a win?
A: "I think Edwards will have to have a good game, as usual. He’ll have to be able to play the point and not struggle too bad. Cline will have to get a little bit out of his shooting slump, probably have to come out and hit a few threes to help the offense when we’re struggling. I think one of the biggest keys will be to get Matt Haarms involved. I think if Haarms can get involved, limit shots in the post, block a few, make Michigan State not want to drive against them, as well as get involved on offense, I think that can be a determining factor in the game."
Newett: 68-65 Purdue
Casey Harrison: 80-68 MSU
Chase Michaelson: 84-71 MSU