We ask the experts around the nation for their prediction on the game. So far, if you average all their score predictions out, the two teams are separated by 0.4 points! Some of our favorite writers and our new favorites give their predictions for Friday afternoon’s game… Feel free to submit your predictions in the comments section of this article!!
Matt Norlander College Hoops Journal & Yahoo’s The Dagger
Siena’s the popular pick. It’s going to be the pick everyone takes — outside of Cornell over Temple. I think it’s going to be a damn good game, but although Purdue is without Robbie Hummel and may not have Lewis Jackson, this group is still tough. And I mean TOUGH. Siena is going to face some bruising like it hasn’t seen for most of the season. That kind of play can knock a team back in the opening minutes of the game. I think it’ll be close but one of those arm’s-length kind of decisions. I hate picking scores, but let’s go Purdue 63, Siena 55.
Ken Pomeroy KenPom & Basketball Prospectus
Busy crunching the numbers but gave his brief opinion on the game
“It was a nice draw for Siena to get Purdue. I doubt the Boilermakers will be as bad as they looked against Minnesota, but it’s a winnable game for Siena, for sure.”
Current kenpom.com prediction: Purdue 71, Siena 65 (26% chance to win)
Mike DeCourcy Sporting News Columnist
I’ve seen Purdue play in person three times in the post-Robbie Hummel era, so to speak. There is not a team in this tournament that will fight harder for every inch of the court. However, this group is so offensively limited without Hummel that it can’t go far. The only question is where the season stops. Siena certainly is good enough to beat the Boilermakers, but it’ll have to play with greater intensity and precision than when I saw the Saints at Butler. The key, to me, is pushing the pace a bit and making sure this game is played at least in the 70s, and in conceiving a proper game plan to limit the influence of E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson.
Prediction: Siena 70, Purdue 64.
John Gasaway Basketball Prospectus
Last year you asked me the same question and I said Ohio State would win a close game. I got the “close game” part correct. So this time I’ll guarantee victory for your Saints by going with Purdue, 64-61. They got three years of bad basketball out of their systems with that first half against Minnesota.
Travis Miller Hammer & Rails
I think Purdue is going to be motivated by all the bad press and they will play especially tough defensively. We have also shown in the past we can run if we want to. Look at our 2008 first round game with Baylor.
Prediction: Purdue 72, Siena 66
Jeff Eisenberg Yahoo’s The Dagger
If you had asked the Saints which potential top-four seed they would have liked to play in the first round, Purdue should have been at the top of their list. The Boilermakers have looked ordinary since losing Robbie Hummel and have struggled to score consistently with teams focusing so much attention on E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson. Siena’s lack of success against quality opponents this season scares me a bit, but this seems like a classic upset opportunity. The Saints have plenty of offensive firepower and plenty of tourney experience. Give me Siena, 68-63.
A lot is being made by the fact that when Siena played several high-major non-conference teams this season, they lost all of those games. In a tough series of nonconference tests, the Saints lost at Temple, at Georgia Tech, at Butler, at Northern Iowa, and vs. St. John’s on a neutral court. The easy thinking is to presume that this shows that Siena isn’t as good as the team who knocked Vandy and Ohio State out of the first round of the NCAA Tournament in successive years. Don’t fall into this lazy-man’s trap. In both 2008 and 2009, Siena lost all of those same away/neutral games in the nonconference season, yet they still managed to completely overwhelm VU and outlast the Buckeyes in March. We think Purdue is walking into a veritable hornet’s nest here. As exhibited by the 11-point egg the Boilers laid on Saturday, Matt Painter’s team is still clearly adjusting to life without versatile forward Robbie Hummel, and Siena is not the kind of inexperienced, undisciplined team on which to try to figure things out on the fly. Hummel isn’t just the straw for Purdue; he’s the flippin’ drink. Siena will use their experienced quartet of Edwin Ubiles, Alex Franklin, Ryan Rossiter and Clarence Jackson to really pressure the Purdue defense, while focusing on denying the ball into the post and JaJuan Johnson in the one area where the Boilers still hold a significant advantage. The way we see this going is that Siena will jump out on Purdue early, with the Boilermakers fighting back to tie or take a late lead using their typical heart, grit and defense. But when it comes time to win the game, Siena’s Edwin Ubiles comes through on a tip-in after a mad scramble with two seconds left. Siena moves into the second round for the third consecutive year, and mid-major nation everywhere rejoices.
Prediction: Siena 67, Purdue 65.
Raphielle Johnson CollegeHoopsNet
This is an interesting 4/13 matchup to say the least; the Saints won yet another MAAC crown while the Boilermakers put up a historically bad (11 points in the first half) showing in their Big Ten Tournament semifinal loss to Minnesota. It’s never easy to “replace” a player the caliber of Robbie Hummel; other guys have to step up an increase their production in his absence. I don’t even look at E’Twaun Moore or Ja’Juan Johnson as the keys for Purdue when it comes to advancing; both are “given” contributors despite Moore’s poor shooting against the Golden Gophers. The guy who has to step up if Purdue is to have any chance of getting to Indianapolis: Keaton Grant.
His point totals since Purdue lost Hummel in the win at Minnesota: 7 (L, Michigan State), 5 (W, Indiana), 17 (W, Penn State), 4 (W, Northwestern) and 1 (L, Minnesota). I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that Siena is better than either Indiana or Northwestern (blatant sarcasm); if he plays like this against the Saints, Purdue can check out of their hotel. Also of importance for Siena will be the play of Edwin Ubiles and Clarence Jackson, with the idea being that whoever isn’t being guarded by Chris Kramer needs to be effective offensively. Look for Alex Franklin and Ryan Rossiter to hold their own against Ja’Juan Johnson (Ohio State was bigger last year and that was no deterrent), and Ronald Moore will run the show effectively.
Prediction: Siena 71, Purdue 64
Dan Shanoff The Wake-Up Call for SportingNews.com/DanShanoff.com
We have seen this before: Siena as a 13-seed upending a 4. Yes, Siena will miss Clarence Jackson — but Purdue will miss Robbie Hummel even more.
Prediction: Siena 59, Purdue 55
Jonathan Tannewald Philly.com’s Soft Pretzel Logic
I have Siena beating Purdue in large part because of Robbie Hummel’s injury, but I’ve followed Siena all year and I really like what they’re doing. I will tell that I actually have the Saints in the Elite Eight. Really. This is what happens when a bracket comes down that gives a team a surprisingly easy path forward.
I have Siena beating Utah State, then getting revenge on Louisville for last year’s loss. It’s the only heart-over-head pick I’ve made, but it’s not out of the question. I do think Louisville beats Duke; if that doesn’t happen, Duke beats Siena. Then Villanova beats Siena to go to the Final Four.
Hopefully Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery will go to Houston. If not, remember that Tim Brando was in Tampa when Siena beat Vanderbilt. There are a lot of people in Philly rooting for Siena not just because of Fran McCaffery but also because of his players from this area, especially Ronald Moore.
And should you all require them we have plenty of onions to send your way from our various cheesesteak stands.
Prediction: Siena 71, Purdue 69
Jeff Washburn Lafayette Journal & Courier
Based on Purdue’s smothering man-to-man — they play zero zone — Purdue 61, Siena 55. This will not be a high-scoring game.
Dave Zeitlin Penn Gazette Sports
From what I hear, almost everyone thinks Siena is fairly evenly matched with Purdue and that the Hummel injury might sway things a bit in the underdog’s favor. In fact, even the people I know picking Purdue are saying things like “I don’t want to pick Siena because they’re the trendy upset pick” or “When everyone picks an upset, that never happens.” To me, that’s just perception, and certainly not a good reason to pick against the best mid-major in the tournament. I think Siena’s experience gets it done and McCaffery will have this third straight tourney win — and maybe even a trip to the Sweet 16 this time around.
Prediction: Siena 72, Purdue 65
Vahe Gregorian St. Louis Post-Dispatch voted Siena in AP Top 25 earlier this year
Based on Purdue playing without Hummel and Saints’ recent past in NCAA tourney, it’s almost not predicting an upset to predict an upset. But here goes anyway: Siena will act like it’s been there before because it has and wins 73-71.
That’s 8-5 Siena over Purdue by an average score of 65.6 to 65.1.