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Old Spice Classic 2013: WSU vs. Purdue basketball preview, TV time and game thread

The Cougs take on Purdue in the Old Spice Classic on Friday.

Crazy-eyes DaVonte.
Crazy-eyes DaVonte.
Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

After falling to the Butler Bulldogs in the first round of the Old Spice Classic, the Washington State Cougars get an early wake-up call on Friday -- an 8 a.m. PST start against the Purdue Boilermakers.

The game will be televised on ESPNU. Let's take a look at WSU's opponent and some of the keys to the game.

Purdue's strengths

The Cougs haven't had their shots blocked much this season -- just 3.5 percent of their 2s have been sent back, fifth in the country. That may change against Purdue, which is sending away 15.5 percent of opponent 2-point attempts. A.J. Hammons leads the block party; the 7-footer is swatting almost 19 percent of 2s when he is on the floor.

That ability to block shots has led to some stout interior defense overall for the Boilermakers. Purdue opposition is making just 46 percent of 2s, 46th-best nationally.

On offense, the Boilermakers do their best work in taking care of the basketball and crashing the glass. Purdue is No. 37 in the country for both turnover percentage and offensive rebounding percentage.

Purdue's weaknesses

While Purdue is a good offensive rebounding squad, the same cannot be said on defense. The Boilermakers are snagging less than 65 percent of opponents' misses, 251st in the country and well below the 68 percent national average.

That poor defensive rebounding has negated the excellent interior defense for the Boilermakers. Despite being among the best in blocking shots and limiting field goal percentage, Purdue is still just 136th nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency.

Purdue's ability to send shots away is also mirrored on the offensive end -- the Boilermakers get their shots blocked at a high rate. Thus far, 12.5 percent of Purdue's 2s have been sent back, 285th nationally.

Players to watch

Ronnie Johnson, Purdue

Johnson runs the offense for the Boilermakers -- he is assisting on 34 percent of the field goals while he is on the floor and turning the ball over less than 18 percent of his possessions.

The sophomore is good when he takes the shots, too. Johnson is shooting 53 percent on 2s, and has hit 4 of his 6 3-point attempts. Overall, he has posted a 120.5 offensive rating.

Bryson Scott, Purdue

Scott hasn't played a lot -- just 41 percent of the minutes -- but neither have many of his teammates. Purdue head coach Matt Painter has used a deep rotation this season, with no player logging more that 66 percent of possible minutes. Contrast to WSU, which has one player over 80 percent and another close to 67 percent.

Despite Scott's limited playing time, he will certainly make an impact. The freshman is aggressive -- leading the team by taking nearly 29 percent of the shots while he is on the floor. Scott played just 18 minutes to Purdue's opening-round Old Spice Classic loss to Oklahoma State, but put up 13 shots.

He's done his best work taking advantage of the new foul rules. Scott is shooting eight free throws for every 10 field goal attempts and draws 10 fouls per 40 minutes, fifth-most nationally.

D.J. Shelton, Washington State

Shelton will take two or three 3s per game, but he has struggled to hit from outside so far, knocking down just 2 of 14 attempts. It would serve the Cougs well for Shelton to knock down a jumper or two early in hopes of drawing shot-blockers out of the middle.

Beyond that, Shelton is also best equipped to take advantage of Purdue's poor defensive rebounding. When he's not searching for an outside look, crashing the boards could prove to be a fruitful endeavor.

Que Johnson, Washington State

The freshman had his best game yet against Butler -- scoring 11 points and looking comfortable for the first time all year. Johnson isn't a player to watch here necessarily for his impact on this game, but if he is able to continue that solid play it could mean a lot for the Cougs in both the short term and the long term.

DaVonte Lacy, Washington State

Can't leave out the Cougs' leader, who had one of the best nights of his career on Thursday. Lacy scored 26 against Butler, including knocking down all eight of his free throw attempts. The junior is off to a great start to this season, posting a 59.4 effective field goal percentage and hitting 84 percent of his free throws. All that is good for a 123.9 offensive rating.