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IUPUI At Purdue Preview

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The Hoosiermakers will face Purdue for the first time ever.

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Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

It is a weekend of double shock power as the men's basketball team kicks off the season with a Friday-Sunday doubleheader. I am elated to be taking my son to his first ever Purdue basketball game Sunday afternoon as a result, so let's preview what he is going to see.

Opponent:

IUPUI Jaguars

Location:

Indianapolis, IN

Venue:

Mackey Arena (14,846)

TV:

BTN

Satellite Radio:

XM Station 192, SIRI 134

Radio Stream here.

Odds:

No Line yet

Tickets:

As low as $10.94

Tipoff Time:

3pm

All-time Series

First Meeting

Last Purdue win

None

Last IUPUI win:

None

Blog Representation:

None

2013-14 Record:

6-26, 1-13 Summit League

Last NCAA Appearance

2003 (0-1 all-time in NCAA Tournament)

Coach:

Jason Gardner (1st season, 0-0 all-time)

Last season IUPUI was one of the worst teams in the country. That is why Jason Gardner, the 1999 Mr. Basketball in Indiana and former point guard at Arizona, is their new head coach. As a small Purdue tie-in, Gardner played for EWE Baskets Oldenburg in 2011, which is now Chris Kramer's team in Germany.

Gardner was a heck of a player when I saw him at North Central high in Indianapolis and IUPUI has an NBA alum in Pacer George Hill, but this is a very lengthy rebuild he is facing. Among the six victories last season three came against non-D1 teams in Indiana-Northwest, Cincinnati Christian, and Judson College. They won a single conference game and that came against Denver.

They did have a few competitive moments though. They only lost 63-61 at Northwestern, which is actually better than Purdue did in Evanston. They had a 14 point loss at Missouri, a six point loss to a good Evansville team, and a win at Bradley over a Missouri Valley team.  There is some positive momentum around the program as they move out of a glorified high school gym on the IUPUI campus to play in the renovated Pepsi Coliseum on the State Fairgrounds. They will open their new home Friday night against Indiana State.

This is, amazingly, the first ever meeting between Purdue and IUPUI. The Hoosiermakers were in the Boilermaker Invitational one year, but we didn't play them. The turnaround will not be immediate as they lost quite a bit from a team that was not that good in the first place. Point guard Ian Chiles was the team's leading scorer at over 15 points per game, but he became a graduate transfer and will play his final season at Tennessee. Mitch Patton was the only other player that averaged double figures and he is gone too. That leaves Khufu Najee, who averaged 9.9 points as a 6'4" guard as their top returning scorer.

As with most teams getting a complete overhaul, this is a very young team, but it has a lot of promising in-state players that aspired to get offers from the bigger programs. One such player is Aaron Brennon, whom Purdue showed some interest in at one time. They also have Justus Stanback, a sophomore forward from West Lafayette and the son of former player Ian Stanback.

Gardner has also gotten several other players to transfer closer to home, such as DavRon Williams (Marion, transferred from North Carolina Central), Nick Osbourne (Muncie, transferred from Loyola-IL), Matt O'Leary (Terre Haute, also from Loyola-IL), Jordan Pickett (Indianapolis, also from Loyola-IL), and P.J. Boutte (Indianapolis, IN, transferred from Detroit). In addition to Brennan, Gardner also got a solid freshman in D.J. McCall from Fort Wayne and John Hubler from Whiteland.

It should be interesting to see how this works out. Gardner is trying to build this team from local talent, and it is not a bad idea. There is plenty of talent in Indiana to build a quality basketball program around it. Indiana, Purdue, Butler, and Notre Dame are always going to be in the running for the best players, but there are still several very good players for the state's smaller programs to get. Get enough of them and get them to play together as a team and they become good.

That's what Gardner is trying to do, but it also takes time. This should be another easy win for the Boilermakers where we get a chance to work on things. Purdue 92, IUPUI 63