Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Northwestern takes on Purdue and D.J. BYRD CACAW CACAW (record scratch)
Again, I gotta run - going to a basketball game for the first time since graduating, it's the Knicks, but I can just show up a half-hour late and stand in the fifth row behind the basket with the other 35 students, right? but you know I can pump this out.
Are they good? Not really. Not the way you expect Purdue to be under Matt Painter, but that's what happens when you lose Robbie Hummel - FINALLY - LewJackSwing, Ryne Smith, Kelsey Barlow - for non-graduating reasons - . Per Kenpom, marginally better than NU - NU's 89, they're 78. Losses to Eastern Michigan and Oregon State WOO CRAIG ROBINSON GO CATS on the noncon, although they've turned around well: wins over Illinois and Iowa, only losses to top-20 teams per Kenpom, plus, they did some unfortunate, not-safe-for-TV things to a sub-par West Virginia squad.
What are they good at: Defense. They don't get many steals, in fact, they're nationally bad in that category, but they've improved almost entirely due to A.J. Hammons on the defensive end. Really impressed with the seven-foot freshman on that end of the floor. I'm not sure how the rest of everything turns out, since they really don't have much length.
What are they bad at: Offense! Not to make this so simplistic, but, man, there's no great shooters, none of the Johnson-and-Johnson-and-Johnson trio - Terone and Ronnie and Anthony - are great points, and well, a large part of their offense is D.J. Byrd.
DJ BYRD Y'ALL: airhorn CA-CAW airhorn CA-CAW BLUEBIRDS CARDINALS AND CANARIES UP IN THIS PIECE airhorn airhorn airhorn airhorn airhorn CA-CAW
WE FLY IN ANY WEATHER
Why do you hate D.J. Byrd so much?: Well, he reminds me of myself. Byrd has the build and game of the best guy you ever played IMs against - that's not me. He chucks extraordinaire, and more than any player I've ever seen at a Big Ten level, banks in threes accidentally.
I bank in a lot of threes accidentally. I don't shoot airballs, but I bank a lot of threes accidentally. Do you realize how weird that is? Do you realize how blatantly inaccurate a shot has to be to be a banked airball? You have to aim about a foot - or further long - and way to the right. You'd think that if that was the case, someone who hits a banked airball would occasionally shoot a shot wayyyyyyy short, or way to the left. This doesn't happen for me, and it doesn't happen for D.J. Byrd.
This is his game. He'll hit one three, then bank the next, then hit another one regular style. This is my game, but I'm not the best offensive option on a Big Ten team.
How does NU beat them?: I'll be honest, I really like what Northwestern did on offense against Michigan - besides the missed layups. Keep that up. JUST DON'T LET THE BYRD LOOSE. And Northwestern has a chance, nay, a good chance, at the win.