PURDUE (8-5, 3-3 B1G) at INDIANA (8-5, 3-3 B1G)
ABOUT THIS GAME
The first meeting of the season between Purdue and Indiana comes in the Bloomington, between two teams with identical records. … The Boilermakers have won the last seven meetings with their arch-rival.
NUMBERS AND SUCH
* According to VegasInsider.com (Consensus)
Purdue’s coming off arguably its best win of the season, its victory at No. 23 Michigan State on Friday night, the Boilermakers’ first true road win of the season. … Purdue won despite shooting 3-of-24 from three-point range. … The Boilermakers are now shooting a modest 30.8 percent from long range in Big Ten play after a relatively hot start to the season. Purdue’s shooting 25-percent from three-point range in true road games this season, but shot 47.8 percent in three neutral-site games. … The Boilermakers haven’t cracked 60 in either of the past two games and are now averaging a league-low 64 points in Big Ten games. Purdue has played at a methodical pace, though, at least according to KenPom, which ranks its tempo 307th nationally. … The Boilermakers are 35th nationally in defensive efficiency, per KenPom. Since giving up 81 to Ron Harper-less Rutgers, Purdue’s allowed just 66 at Illinois and 55 at Michigan State.
C — 50 TREVION WILLIAMS (6-10, 265, Junior)
15.0 PPG • 9.5 RPG • 2.4 APG • 53.1% FG
Having just carried Purdue to the win at Michigan State with 26 points, Williams has been playing at a really high level lately. The past three games, all against ranked teams on the road, Williams is 26-of-40 from the floor and averaging 20.3 points and 9.7 rebounds.
F — 0 MASON GILLIS (6-6, 230, Redshirt Freshman)
4.8 PPG • 2.9 RPG • 48% FG
Gillis didn’t play terribly well at Michigan State until it mattered most, when he tied up the game’s most important loose ball, then stymied Aaron Henry in transition defense on his potential game-winner at the other end. At IU, Gillis will be an important piece of Purdue’s plan against Trayce Jackson-Davis, and must help keep that IU frontline off the offensive glass.
G — 55 SASHA STEFANOVIC (6-5, 200, Junior)
10.7 PPG • 3.1 RPG • 2.5 APG • 49.3% 3-PT
Stefanovic was 1-of-8 from the floor and scored just three points at Michigan State, but over the last three road games, he’s made 6-of-14 from long range. Purdue’s not been shooting all that well collectively since conference play took hold, but the junior is still flirting with 50 percent for the season.
G — 2 ERIC HUNTER JR. (6-4, 170, Junior)
10.3 PPG • 29.3% 3-PT • 3.4 APG • 1.1 STL
Hunter remains in an offensive rut, struggling to make shots on the road. In four Big Ten road games, he’s 5-of-31 from the floor. The Michigan State outcome shouldn’t distract from the reality it’s going to be difficult for Purdue to win high-level games unless its best all-around guard gets untracked at the offensive end. Defensively, Phinisee will be a really important matchup for the Boilermakers at Indiana. That’ll be on Hunter.
G — 5 BRANDON NEWMAN (6-5, 195, Redshirt Freshman)
9.3 PPG • 3.5 RPG • 40% 3-PT
Newman never really got involved offensively at Michigan State, but he was largely responsible for keeping Aaron Henry in check. Shot-making will be a big deal at Indiana most likely, as will rebounding, and those are a couple areas where Newman can really help his team.
C — 15 ZACH EDEY (7-4, 285, Freshman)
8.8 PPG • 4.0 RPG • 62.3% FG
Edey will tower over Indiana’s front line, as he does most front lines, and Purdue will hammer the ball inside to him as it does every game. After turnovers were an issue for him earlier in the season, he’s committed only one total over the past three games. He’s not getting as many touches, but he’s also eliminated the offensive fouls of late.
G — 11 ISAIAH THOMPSON (6-1, 160, Sophomore)
5.8 PPG • 41.2% 3-PT
Thompson made some big shots in Purdue’s win in Bloomington last season. He’s shot the ball well from the perimeter this season, but the Michigan State game snapped his run of five straight games with at least one made three. His decision-making off the dribble has to be sharp, though, too.
F — 1 AARON WHEELER (6-9, 205, Junior)
4.2 PPG • 5.0 RPG
Wheeler might have been the difference in Purdue’s win at IU last season. There always seems to be an unexpected hero in these games for the Boilermakers. He played a season-high-tying 29 minutes at Michigan State before fouling out.
G — 23 JADEN IVEY (6-4, 200, Freshman)
5.6 PPG • 2.5 RPG
Ivey’s ability to penetrate helped give Purdue some offensive life during that rough first half, and that’s where he can really help this team, by attacking. He’s not turned the ball over since returning to the lineup seven games and more than 100 minutes of playing time ago, but just 2-of-17 from three-point range in Big Ten play, the two makes being those back-to-back big ones vs. Maryland.
G — 25 ETHAN MORTON (6-6, 215, Freshman)
Matt Painter wants more minutes for Morton, and a means to that end has been to use him some at the 4. That may not happen against the Hoosiers, because matching up on the glass will be especially important.
C — 4 EMMANUEL DOWUONA (6-10, 245, Sophomore)
Indiana had to stave off a second-half rally to beat lowly Nebraska this weekend as part of a road trip that didn’t even bring them back to Bloomington after they’d played at Wisconsin. … IU is 14th nationally in defensive efficiency, per KenPom, and one of the more productive shot-blocking teams out there. Opponents are shooting just 41.1 percent against them. … The Hoosiers are the third-lowest scoring team in the Big Ten — Purdue is the lowest — at an average of 72.8 points per game and is shooting a modest 33.6 percent from three-point range as a team. … Indiana is shooting 67.8 percent at the foul line, better than only Nebraska and Rutgers in the Big Ten. … IU has played the whole season thus far without center Joey Brunk, who played both games against Purdue last season. That will make for a different matchups dynamic from the games a year ago. … Armaan Franklin has been outstanding for the Hoosiers this season, but the much-improved sophomore wing has been sidelined by an ankle injury lately. He may be a game-time decision. He’s Indiana’s second-leading scorer, most efficient three-point shooter and an effective defender.
BEST GUESS STARTERS
F — 23 TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS (6-9, 245, Sophomore)
20.1 PPG • 9.3 RPG • 53.2% FG
One of the best players in the Big Ten if not the country, Jackson-Davis will be the focal point of Purdue’s defensive game plan and should have the Boilermakers’ full attention on the glass.
F — 25 RACE THOMPSON (6-8, 228, Junior)
9.5 PPG • 6.6 RPG • 56.4% FG
The productive 4 man can be productive as a scorer around the rim and on the offensive glass.
G — 1 AL DURHAM (6-4, 185, Senior)
11.1 PPG • 3.8 RPG • 3.3 AST • 30.8% 3-PT
Durham’s a streaky shooter who Purdue will want to be sure to keep out of the lane. But it’ll certainly respect his ability to shoot.
G— 10 ROB PHINISEE (6-1, 187, Junior)
8.0 PPG • 2.5 AST • 32.6% 3-PT
Containing Phinisee off the dribble would probably be Purdue’s second priority in halfcourt defense, second only to Jackson-Davis, of course. The Lafayette native can really penetrate, with a burst of quickness and a really effective hesitation dribble.
G — 32 TREY GALLOWAY (6-4, 210, Freshman)
The freshman has already established himself as a valuable glue guy for the Hoosiers, a valuable passer and defender who seems poised to have a nice career for IU.
G — 3 ANTHONY LEAL (6-5, 210, Freshman)
The freshman’s come in and given Indiana a needed dose of shot-making off the bench with Franklin sidelined. He’s 4-of-10 from three-point range the past two games.
F — 21 JEROME HUNTER (6-7, 215, Junior)
5.2 PPG • 3.2 RPG • 36.4% 3-PT
Hunter will come in at times alongside Thompson and Jackson-Davis as part of a bigger lineup that can make IU especially effective on the glass. Hunter’s also one of Indiana’s best long-range shooters by percentage.
G — 2 ARMAAN FRANKLIN (6-4, 195, Sophomore) (Q)
12.7 PPG • 4.2 RPG • 47.6% 3-PT • 1.4 STL
One of the most improved players in the Big Ten, the sophomore’s status heading into Purdue isn’t known. He’s been Indiana’s second-best player this season.
PREDICTION: PURDUE 70, INDIANA 69
These games haven’t been all that pretty lately, and this one may not be either, but Purdue has found ways to win seven times in a row now. Not sure either of these teams is necessarily better than the other at this point, but history here gives us reason to give Purdue the benefit of the doubt, especially without the Indiana homecourt advantage the Boilermakers have had to overcome in the past.
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