Here's the challenge for No. 13 Purdue as it prepares to face No. 22 Davidson and super-scoring guard Stephen Curry in Saturday's John Wooden Tradition battle at Indianapolis' Conseco Fieldhouse:
Do not let Curry touch the ball.
Curry is the nation's leading scorer. He averages 31.9 points and has twice scored 44 points. He shoots 47.9 percent from the field. His range is whatever he wants it to be. He averages 10 three-point attempts a game, making nearly four of them.
Curry's scoring average is even more impressive considering he didn't score at all in the Loyola-Maryland win because the Greyhounds double-teamed him the entire game. He took just three shots, 18 below his average. That means in the eight games he's scored, he averages 35.9 points.
Curry, who has 1,948 career points, has scored at least 20 points in 55 games, at least 30 points in 21 games. He has surpassed 40 points five times.
He isn't a gunner. He has a team-leading 61 assists (against 32 turnovers) for the season. His 260 career assists rank 14th in school history.
“Curry might not get 45, but he'll still get 32 and then nine or 10 assists,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “That's what just kills you. That combination and being that lethal scares you as a coach.
“Once guys like that get going, they're tough to stop. You just make them work for everything so they don't get in that rhythm. Once they get in that rhythm, there's not a whole lot you can do.”
Purdue's Chris Kramer will get the main rhythm-breaking role. Kramer, a former Huntington North standout, is the reigning Big Ten defensive player of the year. He is 6-3 and 207 pounds to Curry's 6-3 and 185 pounds.
Stopping Curry means fighting through screens, getting physical and pressuring him all over the court.
It won't all be on Kramer. Figure freshman point guard Lewis Jackson also will get a shot. He's become a defensive catalyst Painter uses despite Jackson's youth.
Lewis has started three straight games. He's bumped junior Keaton Grant out of the starting lineup.
“He ignites what we do defensively by putting pressure on the ball,” Painter said. “If they can't start their offense, they can't run their offense.
“At times he doesn't allow people to start their offense. Or, he pushes them so far out, they can't feed the post. It's very important we get that kind of pressure from him.”
Purdue will pressure an 8-1 Davidson team that has won six straight games and 33 of its last 35 since Jan. 3. The Wildcats' only loss this season came 82-78 at No. 4 Oklahoma.
While Purdue (8-2) can't match Curry, it does have sophomore forward Robbie Hummel. He won Big Ten player of the week honors after averaging 20 points and nine rebounds in wins over Ball State and Indiana State. He had a career-high 25 points against Indiana State.
Purdue has won three straight games against mediocre competition. Arkansas Pine Bluff, Ball State and Indiana State are a combined 5-20. The Boilers' average margin of victory during their three-game winning streak is 30.3 points. For their eight victories it's 26.4.
That's fine, but Painter was hoping for a 10-0 start. Instead, the Boilers lost to top-10 teams Duke and Oklahoma and missed out on a high-profile victory. Beating Davidson would be a good start.
“You're greedy as a coach,” Painter said. “You want to win them all. We have to live with 8-2.
“We got beat. We can't do anything about it. You hope those losses help you down the road. You have to learn from them.”
The pick: Purdue 74, Davidson 70