Fifth-Ranked Men's Basketball Hits The Road To Take On Alabama

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Junior forward/center JaJuan Johnson is Purdue's second-leading scorer with an average of better than 14 points per game.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
Junior forward/center JaJuan Johnson is Purdue's second-leading scorer with an average of better than 14 points per game.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

Dec. 11, 2009

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Tip: 9:00 p.m. ET
Television: ESPN2. Carter Blackburn handles play-by-play with Jimmy Dykes alongside as color analyst and Kim Belton producing.
Radio: The Purdue Sports Network (Flagship - WSHP, 95.7 FM). Larry "The Cliz" Clisby (play-by-play) and Rob Blackman (analyst) call the action. Blackman also handles the pregame show, and Wes Scott engineers.
XM Radio: Channel 196.
Rankings: Purdue is ranked fifth in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today polls. Alabama is not ranked in either poll.
Live Stats: The University of Alabama will provide GameTracker live stats. A link to those stats is available at purduesports.com.

THE TIP-OFF
Fifth-ranked Purdue will face its first true road test of the season on Saturday when it heads into Coleman Coliseum for showdown with Alabama ... The Boilermakers have won 13 of their last 14 games, dating back to last season ... A win over the Crimson Tide would give Purdue nine-straight wins to open the season, extending the second-longest winning streak during Painter's tenure as head coach ... A victory on Saturday would also give Purdue its first 9-0 start since the 1993-94 campaign - a span of 15 seasons ... Purdue owns a league-leading +7.5 turnover margin and a +2.5 edge on the boards this season to give them an average of 10 possessions per game more than their opponents ... For the second game in a row, the turnover battle will be a factor on Saturday, as Purdue averages 12.5 a game and the Tide turn the ball over at a clip of 12.0 times per contest ... The Boilers are 64-17 under Painter when winning the turnover battle,

UP NEXT
Purdue will play its fourth neutral-site game of the season next Saturday when it ventures to Indianapolis for a date with Ball State in the Wooden Tradition at Conseco Fieldhouse. Purdue is 4-4 in the Wooden Tradition heading into its ninth appearance in the event, and owns a 7-2 edge in the all-time series with BSU. The teams have met once in Indianapolis, with Ball State taking a 72-52 decision in 1999 as part of the Boilermaker Blockbuster.

BOILERMAKERS OFF TO SIXTH-BEST START IN PROGRAM HISTORY
With its win over Valparaiso on Wednesday, Purdue moved to 8-0 on the season, marking the sixth-best start in school history. A win over Alabama on Saturday would tie the Boilers for fourth on that list, and move them to within five games of matching the 1993-94 squad for the best start in school history (14-0).

BEST SEASON STARTS IN PURDUE HISTORY
1. 14-0 1993-94
2. 11-0 1936-37
3. 10-0 1927-28
4. 9-0 1937-38
9-0 1992-93
6. 8-0 2009-10
7. 7-0 Three times
10. 6-0 Three times

PURDUE FORCING OPPONENTS INTO LONG FIELD GOAL DROUGHTS
In eight games this season, the Boilermakers have forced opponents into 20 field-goal droughts of four minutes or more, including eight basketless periods of five minutes or more.

In a key second-half stand that saw the Boilers explode on a 14-2 run, Purdue held Wake Forest without a field goal for 5:18 while opening up a 15-point lead. They also kept Valpo from recording a field goal for at least four minutes on three occasions in their last outing.

Purdue forced Central Michigan to three field-goal droughts of more than five minutes, including a season-long 8:08 slump. In the championship game of the Paradise Jam, the Boilermakers held ninth-ranked Tennessee to a stretch of 7:58 without a basket from the floor in the second half to move from a three-point deficit to a five-point lead.

PURDUE HOUNDING OPPONENTS INTO EARLY-SEASON TURNOVERS
In eight games this season, Purdue has induced its opponents into 160 turnovers, an average of 20.0 per contest. The havoc created by the Boilermakers' defense has also limited opposing teams to an assist-to-turnover ratio of just 0.46, and propelled the Boilers to a Big Ten-best +7.5 turnover margin.

Purdue's ballhawking style forced 25 Wake Forest turnovers in the Boilermakers' win on Dec. 1, including 17 in the second half.

Purdue has induced double-digit turnovers in a single half eight times in 16 opportunities this season, with the Demon Deacons' 17 miscues standing as the high single-stanza mark of the year.

The Boilers have forced more than 20 turnovers on three occasions this season, with Cal State Northridge and Wake Forest sharing the high mark with 25 apiece. The Boilermakers forced at least 20 turnovers in a game seven times in 2008-09, and have done so on 34 occasions in 141 games since Matt Painter took over the reins of the program prior to the 2005-06 season (24.1 percent).

BOILERS TURNING DEFENSE INTO OFFENSE AT A HIGH RATE
In addition to forcing an average of 20.0 turnovers per game, Purdue is also taking advantage of those miscues to the tune of an average margin of +14.1 points per game off of turnovers. The Boilermakers have outscored their opponents by a total of 194-81 off of turnovers this season.

Points off of turnovers were crucial in the win over Wake Forest, as the Boilermakers posted a 26-6 edge in that department en route to an 11-point win. Purdue has also enjoyed large points-off-of-turnover margins against Cal State Northridge (30-5), Saint Joseph's (32-6) and Valparaiso (23-9) in double-digit victories.

BALL SECURITY A STRENGTH FOR PURDUE'S BACKCOURT IN THE EARLY STAGES
One of Purdue's strengths through the season's first eight games has been the steady play of its guards, a group that has propelled the Boilers to a 1.34 assist-to-turnover ratio as a team. Purdue's three starting guards - Keaton Grant, Chris Kramer and E'Twaun Moore - have combined for a sparkling 2.36 ATR, piling up 66 assists to just 28 turnovers.

The inclusion of the Boilermakers' other primary ballhandlers - Kelsey Barlow, Ryne Smith and Mark Wohlford - yields an ATR of 1.80.

Four of Purdue's six primary ballhandlers are averaging better than 2.0 assists per game, with Kramer leading the way with an average of 3.3 per contest. The Huntington, Ind., native also ranks second in the Big Ten with a 4.33 assist-to-turnover ratio.