COLUMBUS, Ohio -- In place here at Value City Arena. Some pregame notes from tonight's matchup between No. 4 Purdue and No. 12 Ohio State:
The game is a sellout. Kind of. Ohio State got rid of every ticket in the 19,049-seat Value City Arena, but it took some deep discounting to make it happen. Starting last Friday, the school made a buy-one-get-one-free offer at the bargain price of $10, and the game officially sold out Wednesday afternoon. Moral of the story: Don’t build an arena this big for a football-centric fan base. They can put more than 100,000 in Ohio Stadium for home football games, but have to give away tickets to fill this place for a huge Big Ten basketball game. (Now you know why the marquee on one merchandise store near campus is still advertising Rose Bowl gear.)
Last time these two teams met, the stars were spectacular. Purdue’s Robbie Hummel hit eight first-half 3-pointers and finished with 32 points. But Ohio State’s Evan Turner owned the second half and finished with 35 points while leading the Buckeyes to a 70-66 comeback victory back on Jan. 12. If these guys come close to reprising that night, this will be one entertaining game -- but expect both defenses to be focused on preventing that.
Which is the hotter team? Purdue, but not by much. The Boilermakers have won seven straight, Ohio State has won six straight. The Buckeyes are coming off, what most observers here think, was their best game of the season -- spanking Illinois in Champaign by 19 points. Purdue probably had its most impressive win of the year last week, beating Michigan State in East Lansing by 12.