Northwestern Vs. Purdue Preview: Wildcats Aim To Extend Win Streak To Four

COLUMBUS, OH - DECEMBER 28: Alex Marcotullio #4 of the Northwestern Wildcats takes in inbound pass as Aaron Craft #4 of the Ohio State Buckeyes defends on December 28, 2011 at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Northwestern 87-54. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

The Northwestern Wildcats (15-8, 5-6) can stay firmly on the NCAA Tournament bubble with a victory over the Purdue Boilermakers (15-9, 5-6).

The Northwestern Wildcats have three games remaining vs. ranked teams this season, and as the team looks to strengthen its NCAA Tournament resumé, those match ups will certainly be circled on its calendar. But for bubble teams like the Wildcats, games against inferior competition are just as important, too, as any slip up against a non-tournament team is just as bad as a big win is good.

It's highly unlikely that the Purdue Boilermakers will make the tournament, and so today's game is one in which Northwestern must "take care of business," and that begins by shutting down Purdue star Robbie Hummel. Hummel, after tearing his ACL in two consecutive seasons, is not the player he once was, but he still leads Purdue in scoring with 15 points per game despite shooting 38% from the field and 34% from three-point range.

At 6' 8" and with the ability to play both inside and outside, Hummel is a natural match up for Wildcats leader John Shurna, and the spotlight will certainly be on those two come game time. For his part, Shurna has been scorching of late, putting up over 20 points in six of his last nine games, including 24 points in Northwestern's huge win on the road over the Illinois Fighting Illini.

Game date/time: Sunday, February 12, 2012, 5:00 p.m. CST

Location: Mackey Arena, West Lafayette, Ind.

TV: Big Ten Network

Odds: Purdue by 6.5

For more on this game, stick with SB Nation Chicago. For more on Northwestern, head over to Sippin' on Purple, and for more on the Boilermakers, visit Hammer and Rails. For more news and notes around the country, check out SB Nation's men's basketball news hub.

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