Sunday, February 25, 2007

One Step Closer

Purdue edged one step closer to an NCAA Tournament berth by earning their second road win of the season Saturday at Northwestern. The Boilers topped the Wildcats and Tim Doyle's hair 75-68 in Welsh-Ryan Arena behind another strong outing from David Teague. Teague had 26 points in the win, and reserve Chris Lutz chipped in with 15 points going 4-7 from three. Purdue struggled with Northwestern's tricky zone defense, until they broke it open with a 22-6 run that put them up 19 with 7 minutes to go.

Up next for Purdue are games are against 2 of the 3 worst teams in the Big Ten in RPI #177 Minnesota and RPI #167 Northwestern. With Painter's Boilers hungry for the postseason, one would think there's no way Purdue can drop either of these games at Mackey Arena where they are 14-1 this season.

Working in their favor are some strong non-conference wins and some convincing wins against other middle-of-the-pack Big Ten teams. In the non-conference, Purdue knocked off RPI #60 DePaul, #38 Virginia, and #75 Missouri. In league play, Purdue throttled RPI #21 Michigan State by 24, #23 Indiana by 13, #31 Illinois by 17, and #54 Michigan by 14. At this point it would seem the Boilers are guaranteed a tournament bid if they can close out the season with 2 wins to finish at 20-10 (9-7).

In other conference action today, Ohio State knocked off the Wisconsin Badgers 49-48 to claim their second Big Ten regular season title in a row.