Northwestern vs. Purdue prediction and game preview. Two of the Big Ten’s NCAA Tournament locks face each other when the Wildcats host the conference-champion Boilermakers on Sunday.
Northwestern vs. Purdue Game Preview
When: Sunday, March 5 – 4:30 p.m. ET
Where: Welsh-Ryan Arena, Evanston, Ill.
TV Broadcast: CBS
Purdue secured the outright Big Ten championship and No. 1 in next week’s conference tournament with Wisconsin’s loss to Iowa on Thursday. The Boilermakers’ last non-shared Big Ten regular-season title came back in 1995-96, when it capped a three-season run as sole winners of the conference.
That won’t intimidate Northwestern, which removed any doubt of its NCAA Tournament chances with Wednesday’s thrilling 67-65 win over Michigan. The game was tied with less than two seconds remaining when Dererk Pardon caught a full-court inbounds pass near the basket and laid it in as time expired.
The Wildcats also will get a boost from a sellout crowd and nationally televised audience, something it didn’t have when it suffered an 80-59 loss at Purdue on Feb. 1. However, Scottie Lindsey didn’t play while battling mononucleosis. He’s still finding his rhythm in the four games since his return, but Vic Law and Bryan McIntosh have been leading the way.
The Boilermakers, meanwhile, bounced back from a 12-point loss at Michigan to beat Indiana 86-75 on Tuesday. Caleb Swanigan is tied for the national lead with 24 double-doubles after finishing with 21 points and 10 rebounds. But with the conference title and top seed in the Big Ten tournament already wrapped up, it remains to be seen how much coach Matt Painter will have his best player on the floor.
Northwestern Wins If …
… it gets solid frontcourt play. Freshman Barrett Benson is the Wildcats’ tallest rotation player at 6-foot-10, but he doesn’t see the court much. That leaves Pardon at 6-foot-8 to be the main force in the paint and on the blocks when Swanigan and 7-footer Isaac Haas are down low. Swanigan dominated with 24 points and 16 rebounds in the first meeting, and that simply can’t happen again if the Wildcats want to end their regular season on a high note.
Purdue Wins If …
… Swanigan’s supporting cast steps up. Dakota Mathias had 13 points in the first meeting and hit for 19 against Indiana the other night. Vincent Edwards also played well the last time against the Wildcats, scoring 17 points. All of that supplemented Swanigan’s effort. They’ll all need to have similar performances and not leave Swanigan on an island.
Matchup To Watch
McIntosh vs. P.J. Thompson/Carsen Edwards
McIntosh can get hot quickly, meaning the Boilermakers’ guards will have to play tight defense against him. If McIntosh gets open looks regularly, it could be a long evening for Purdue.
Northwestern vs. Purdue Betting Odds
Spread: No line as of post
Over/Under: No line as of post
Northwestern vs. Purdue Prediction
Welsh-Ryan Arena will undergo a renovation during next season, when Northwestern plays its games elsewhere. The Wildcats will close the old barn with a victory and head into the conference tournament riding high.
Northwestern vs. Purdue final score prediction: Northwestern 71, Purdue 64