We owe Our Most Hated Rival. We owe them greatly. Last season we looked great as we headed to Iowa City for the Big Ten finale. We had a chance at winning a share of the conference and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament with a victory. Instead, we were upset 67-65 to end a seven game winning streak. 15 days later, the promising season even without Rob was over, burning in the flaming wreckage of a 1-3 finish at the most important time of year and leaving Purdue fans struggling with those two words again: What If.
I remember entering that game thinking it was the first of 10 games to finish the season: One there, three in Indy at the Big Ten Tourney, and hopefully six in the NCAAs. Instead, it was the beginning of the end. Now it is the beginning of the second season: Conference Play
2011-12 record: 8-5, 0-0 Big Ten
2010-11 record: 11-20, 4-14 Big Ten
Blog Representation: Black Heart Gold Pants
Series with Purdue: Purdue leads 83-71
Last Purdue win: 75-52 on 1/9/2011 at Purdue
Last Iowa win: 67-65 on 3/5/2011 at Iowa
|Roy Devyn Marble||13||24.1||3.7||8.3||44.4||0.2||0.9||25.0||3.3||4.2||78.2||1.1||2.2||3.2||3.7||0.9||1.7||0.4||1.8||10.9|
|Abodunrin Gabriel Olaseni||7||6.3||0.9||1.7||50.0||0.0||0.1||0.0||0.9||1.1||75.0||1.0||0.9||1.9||0.4||0.3||0.0||0.4||0.4||2.6|
The loss to the Hawkeyes may be the worst loss suffered under coach Painter, mostly because Iowa did nothing against anyone of note last season and we had beaten them by 23 earlier in the year. We couldn't stop Jarryd Cole and Melsahn Basabe even though JJ had a 22-12 game. It was an inexplicable loss. We were tied at halftime and made the mistake of letting a bad team hang around instead of putting them out of their misery.
This year they are better, but we still should be able to win and possibly start the conference season 4-0. This needs to be a win at any cost. Remember: The magic number is 10 conference wins to assure an NCAA bid. That means we have to take care of business against one of three teams that are projected to have no NCAA chances.
Iowa's schedule has not been daunting, but they have still struggled. We have a common opponent so far in IPFW, whom they beat by 10. Their losses have come against Creighton (not bad), Clemson, Northern Iowa, Iowa State, and Campbell (ugh). They still average 78 points per game, but that is buoyed by a few blowouts against tomato cans like Chicago State.
This is a balanced team. They have a fairly regular nine man rotation led by Matt Gatend with 14 points per game. Roy Devyn marble averages 10.9 points as their next leading scorer, with Basabe and Aaron White each averaging over nine points per game. Basabe is a dangerous post player because we don't have anyone to match his strength down low. Gatens is a big guard that shoots the three pretty well at 34%. Josh Oglesby is another three-point shooting specialist at around 40%, making him and Gatens their two best players from distance.
Iowa is not a particularly strong rebounding team with Basabe leading the way at 6 rebounds per game. They rank 102nd in the nation in rebounding, so they are at least in the upper third. Still, they don't have a space-eating center that is an automatic 15 and 10 every night.
This is an improving team with 209 assists compared to 153 turnovers. Marble is a solid distributing point guard that is a size mismatch at 6'5" with Lewis Jackson. Bryce Cartwright also does a good job of distributing with 49 assists to Marble's 48. They don't shoot a lot of threes with only Gatens, Oglesby, and Eric May having more than 10 made three-pointers on the year, but they have the ability to get it done inside the arc. They aren't great shooters at 45.4%, but they can be effective.
Ultimately, this is a big game because it comes against a team that is better than the one that beat us last year, but they are still expected to be in the bottom quarter of the league. The league race and number of bids will be decided by the teams that don't stumble in these types of games. Getting this potential stumbling block out of the way early is good, because then they can only help us by pulling their upsets elsewhere.
What we need to see tonight is more offensive balance like we saw against IPFW. If we get another big lead we have to keep attacking. Don't let up because the lead is at double digits with 10 minutes left. That's been disastrous for us, so we cannot get lazy and start passing the ball around and settling for threes. Sandi Marcius is still questionable with a calf injury, so we have to get Jacob Lawson minutes without foul trouble and Travis Carroll must be effective if he is in there. He was better against IPFW, but that is IPFW. D.J. Byrd's unexpected return needs to continue as well.
We'll see you at 9:30 tonight on Big Ten Network.
Prediction: Purdue 72, Iowa 66