Purdue-Michigan St. Preview


While it failed to steal a road win to start Big Ten play, Michigan State hasn't had as much trouble putting away teams at home.

Having won 10 straight Big Ten home openers, the 18th-ranked Spartans look to bounce back from their first loss since November and prevent Purdue from pulling off a second consecutive upset Saturday.

Michigan State (11-3, 0-1) has won 27 of 28 at the Breslin Center, including 9-0 this season while winning by an average of 21.0 points. The Spartans are 15-2 in Big Ten home openers under coach Tom Izzo.

They rolled past an unranked Boilermakers squad 83-58 on Jan. 21 in the last meeting in East Lansing. Purdue (7-6, 1-0) did won its previous two visits as a top 10 team, joining Ohio State as the only visitors to win there twice since the 2009-10 season.

This Boilermakers team has the worst overall record in the Big Ten but should enter with some confidence after knocking off then-No. 11 Illinois 68-61 on Wednesday.

"You can't take any team in the Big Ten for granted," Michigan State guard Branden Dawson said. "We can't underestimate (Purdue)."

The Spartans didn't fare nearly as well against a ranked opponent in their most recent game. They blew a five-point lead with less than 8:30 to play in a 76-63 defeat at No. 9 Minnesota on Monday that snapped their six-game winning streak.

"You'd like to steal one when you have a chance, but they earned the win," Izzo said.

Izzo's club will try to get back to its stingy ways on the defensive end after allowing season highs in scoring and field-goal percentage (56.6) to the Gophers. Michigan State, yielding 57.5 points per game, still ranks second in the Big Ten in opponents' field-goal percentage (36.8) and is facing the conference's second-worst shooting team - Purdue is making 41.9 percent.

Keith Appling (14.9 points per game) and Gary Harris (12.3) lead the offense as the only Spartans averaging in double figures.

Dawson has scored in double digits only once in the past five games but has done some damage against the Boilermakers. The sophomore totaled 29 points while shooting 13 for 19 from the field in two meetings last season.

The Spartans outrebounded the opposition in 13 straight games before Minnesota stopped that streak Monday.

Purdue has outrebounded each opponent during its three-game winning streak, including a 45-35 edge against the Illini.

"It's unfortunate we had the struggles we've had, but we just have to have some consistency," coach Matt Painter said. "Hopefully, we can build off of this. We'll see."

Junior guard Terone Johnson hopes to build off the best performance of his career after scoring 25 points against Illinois. He's the only Purdue player averaging in double figures (13.6 per game), including 18.3 in the last three games.

D.J. Byrd, the team's top 3-point threat, has made 12 of 27 from beyond the arc in his last four games.

The Boilermakers will take any kind of offensive spark they can get against the Spartans, who have limited opponents to averages of 53.2 points and 31.9 percent shooting at home.

Michigan State has won the last three meetings, most recently a 76-62 road victory Feb. 19.