Indiana embarks on the first of four road games in their next five contests as they travel to Mackey Arena to face Purdue on Saturday.
It might be just as well that IU hits the road after a humiliating 15 point loss at Simon Skjodt Assembly to Nebraska on Monday night that saw the fans leave early while raining boos on what looked like a lackluster effort.
The game comes as the state’s top programs appear to be headed in opposite directions. When they last occupied the same building back in December at The Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis, the Hoosiers were on top of the world after a last second win over Butler, and Purdue looked to be headed nowhere fast after a loss to Notre Dame.
Since that day, IU has gone just 3-3, while Purdue has posted a 5-1 mark.
GAME DAY ESSENTIALS
No. 25 Indiana (12-5, 3-3) at Purdue (11-6, 4-2)
- Tip time: 2:00 p.m. Eastern
- Location: Mackey Arena (14,240), West Lafayette, Indiana
- Television: Fox (Gus Johnson, Jim Jackson, Andy Katz)
- Series: Purdue leads 116-89. IU leads during the NCAA Tournament era (i.e. — since 1939), 79-66.
- Prediction: KenPom predicts a 75-69 Purdue win.
- Tickets (Seat Geek affiliate link)
Matt Painter is in his 14th year leading the Purdue program. In his 15 season career, Painter has compiled a record of 331-160.
- Archie Miller previews the game.
- Matt Painter discusses Indiana .
- IU’s last six wins at Mackey Arena.
- McRoberts and Edwards discuss the series.
Indiana (KenPom No. 33)
- Juwan Morgan, forward, 6-foot-8, 232 pounds, senior
- Justin Smith, forward, 6-foot-7, 227 pounds, sophomore
- Al Durham, guard, 6-foot-4, 181 pounds, sophomore
- Romeo Langford, guard, 6-foot-6, 215 pounds, freshman
- Rob Phinisee, guard, 6-foot-1, 182 pounds, freshman
Key reserves: Zach McRoberts (G), De’Ron Davis (C), Evan Fitzner (F), Devonte Green, (G), Clifton Moore (F)
Purdue (KenPom No. 15)
- Grady Eifert, forward, 6-foot-6, 220 pounds, senior
- Trevion Williams, forward, 6-foot-9, 280 pounds, freshman
- Ryan Cline, guard, 6-foot-6, 195 pounds, senior
- Carsen Edwards, guard, 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, junior
- Nojel Eastern, guard, 6-foot-6, 220 pounds, sophomore
Key reserves: Matt Haarms (C), Evan Boudreaux (F), Eric Hunter (G), Sasha Stefanovic (G), Aaron Wheeler (F)
TALE OF THE TAPE
Stats credit – NCAA
KEYS TO VICTORY
Slowing down Carsen Edwards. This one is obvious. And note we didn’t say “stopping” Edwards. He is going to score. The question is how efficient is he, and how many turnovers can you force? Indiana has the blueprint — they held a similarly talented Markus Howard of Marquette to 18 points on 6 of 14 shooting and 4 turnovers. That kind of day from Edwards would go a long way towards an IU win.
Purdue’s three-point shooting. The Boilers love the three-point shot. 40% of their total points come from behind the line. Purdue has attempted a Big Ten leading 487 shots from long range this year, and with IU likely forcing the ball out of Edwards’ hands, the deep shots are likely to be there. Indiana has been effective on the year, holding opponents under 30% from long range, while Purdue as a team shoots north of 37%. IU won’t be able to help too much off of Ryan Cline, who shoots 41% from three-point range.
Conversely, Purdue is one of the worst teams in the country at guarding the three-point shot. It would be an optimal time for IU to finally have a big day from long range.
Justin Smith has an opportunity to shine. Smith is likely going to start the game with Grady Eifert guarding him. This is undeniably a mismatch on both ends of the floor — on paper anyway. And we mean no disrespect to Eifert. He bridges the talent gap with effort and fundamentals. He’ll outwork Smith if IU’s sophomore forward doesn’t come ready to put up a fight. This can and should be a game where Smith takes a big step forward.
Juwan Morgan will have interesting matchups too. Morgan will likely either be guarded by freshman Trevion Williams or Purdue’s 7-foot-2 Matt Haarms. Williams is a rising star, but the senior Morgan is surely enthusiastic about an opportunity to put the youngster in his place. When Haarms guards Morgan, it will be an opportunity to pull the Boiler big man out to the perimeter and test his ability to stay with IU’s star off the dribble. In any case, Morgan will need to stay out of foul trouble as Purdue will surely be looking for every opportunity to send him to the bench.
Indiana needs to show some pride. Just about every critique you have seen or heard regarding IU basketball this week likely included something along the lines of “Indiana needs to play tougher, harder, more passionate, etc.” Purdue is a good team that has been improving this year, but this is a very winnable game for Indiana. There is no meaningful talent gap here. Beyond simply knocking down shots, this game will largely come down to who wants it more. In its recent games, IU just hasn’t appeared to be that team.
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