Michigan State coach Tom Izzo recounts how Delvon Roe's hand frequently was planted firmly in front of Purdue center JaJuan Johnson's shot and how it just didn't matter.
Loads of Big Ten opponents already know that moving Ohio State forward Jared Sullinger off the block is like trying to push a boulder with a pencil.
One has been a work in progress for four seasons, the other an instant success. One has the power of strength, the other the skill of versatility.
But when Johnson, a senior, meets Sullinger, a freshman, on Tuesday night in Columbus, it creates an intriguing matchup that is beneficial to the Big Ten.
"It's great for our league," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "Both of those guys are about winning and trying to help their team get over the hump. Jared is a load and also has great feet. He can hurt you in a lot of ways. … Obviously with JaJuan, he's a guy who made unbelievable improvement and keeps getting better in front of our eyes."
Sullinger, a 6-foot-9, 280-pound Columbus native, has established himself quickly as a force for the No. 1 Buckeyes (20-0, 7-0), earning conference player of the week honors four times and freshman of the week recognition nine times out of a possible 11. His name has been mentioned as a national player of the year candidate with averages of 17.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.
Some are starting to think Johnson deserves the same kind of attention. His versatility allows him a smooth jump shot as well as a solid inside game that has drawn comparisons to Kevin Durant.
"Johnson's having an All-America year and a player of the year type year," Izzo said.
Tuesday's game is an opportunity for Johnson to show the nation what plenty of Big Ten observers already know.
Purdue (17-3, 6-1) needed this kind of production from Johnson, who averages 20.5 points and 7.9 rebounds a game. After forward Robbie Hummel was lost to a season-ending knee injury, Purdue was widely discounted.
Because of Johnson and guard E'Twaun Moore (18.1 points per game), the Boilermakers are ranked 12th and remain in the thick of the Big Ten hunt.
Johnson, a 6-10, 221-pounder, has gone from a lanky shot-blocker to a force.
"That confidence is the last piece for him," Painter said. "He believes he can be productive each night."
Happy new year: After failing to live up to expectations last season, Texas is exceeding them this season.
The Longhorns showed over the weekend they have all the talent of last season's hyped team by beating then-No. 2 Kansas 74-63 at Allen Fieldhouse, but things are clicking better for some reason.
Their defense ranks second in the Big 12, holding opponents to 37 percent shooting, and fourth by limiting teams to 61.4 points per game.
Sophomore swingman Jordan Hamilton averages 19.5 points per game, while freshman Tristan Thompson averages 13.1.
Games to watch: Tuesday: Purdue at Ohio State. Big Ten's most anticipated matchup of season.
Wednesday: San Diego State at BYU. The unbeaten Aztecs try to keep Jimmer Fredette under 40.
Thursday: UCLA at Arizona. Both Pac-10 teams, who are tied for second, are trying to gain on Washington in the conference race.
Saturday: Kansas State at Kansas. K-State can undo a lot of its misfortune by beating its rival. The Jayhawks hope to recover from rare home loss.
Sunday: Duke at St. John's. The Johnnies have proven they're not pushovers anymore.