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Purdue at Illinois: Time, TV, Streaming, Odds, How to Watch

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Purdue's season was saved in Happy Valley. Can that momentum continue?

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Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

Before Purdue won in Happy Valley over the weekend it had not win in a true road environment in over a year. That last road win? On January 15, 2014 at Illinois. Now the Boilers are going for consecutive road wins, something it has not done since 2012 when Purdue won at Illinois and Michigan to help them make the NCAA Tournament.

It is no coincidence that the last time Purdue went to the NCAA Tournament was the last time it won consecutive road games. It is likely going to have to do that this season in order to make it again, and tonight's game is perfect for that because it feels a bit like an elimination game. For Purdue, if you go with the metaphor that the Big Ten season is six three-game series that Purdue needs to win in order to make it to March, tonight is the rubber game of the second series and Purdue is 1-1. Illinois is also one of those middle of the pack teams that we're battling for placement in the league.

For the Illini, they are already just 2-4 in league play and cannot afford to fall further off the pace. They have more margin for error than Purdue with no bad non-conference losses, but they have already missed some opportunities for conference wins against Michigan and Indiana. They likely need to get to 10-8 in the league to feel safe, and they have already used half their allotment of losses for that. Purdue is likely going to have to beat them at least once to make it to the tournament too.

Opponent:

Illinois Fighting Illini

From:

Champaign, IL

Date:

1/21/2014

Venue:

State Farm Center (17,085)

TV:

Big Ten Network

Radio Stream:

TuneIn

Satellite Radio:

SIRI 136, XM

Odds:

Illinois by 4

Tickets:

As low as $7.25 on Stubhub

Tipoff:

9pm

KenPom Ranking:

73 of 351

RPI:

63

Blog Representation:

The Champaign Room

2014-15 Record:

12-7, 2-4

All-time series

Purdue leads 97-85

Last Purdue win:

66-58 at Illinois on 1/15/2014

Last Illinois Win:

79-59 at Illinois on 2/13/2013

2013-14 Record:

20-15, 7-11 Big Ten (Lost in NIT second round)

Last NCAA appearance:

2013 (2005 NCAA Runner-up)

Coach:

John Groce (139-91 overall, 54-35 in 3rd year at Illinois)

Illinois lost leading scorer Rayvonte Rice for a few weeks with a broken hand and he has been out since the Maryland game. The results without him have been mixed. They sprung an upset of the Terrapins (in which Mark Turgeon openly said was Maryland's worst game of the season) but they lost to Nebraska and Indiana while barely beating Northwestern.

Against Indiana they held a 72-71 lead with 1:30 left before the Hoosiers closed on a 9-2 run. It was a lot like the loss at Michigan, where they couldn't close in regulation and the Wolverines won in overtime. The loss to Nebraska saw them score only 43 points and shoot 27% from the field (15 of 55).

The loss of Rice is a huge benefit for Purdue. He was averaging 17.3 points per game, 6.9 rebounds, and 2.2 assists. He is also the top three-point shooter at 48.3% and he can create his own shot. He was a solid 51.5% from the field overall and 80% from the line. Basically, he was by a large margin the top player in the Illini offense. Not having to defend him is an enormous bonus.

That does not make this game an automatic win, however. Illinois has still been competitive without him and they beat an awfully good Maryland team thanks to the supporting cast. Malcolm Hill had 28 points against the Terrapins and he averages 13.6 per game. The sophomore hit four of his 18 made threes on the season against Maryland and he also shoots well from the field at 49.5%. Kendrick Nunn (10.4 ppg) is another solid guard Purdue is going to have to defend. He is 33 of 73 from long range on the season, so guarding him on the perimeter is big.

Once again, Purdue's perimeter defense will be tested. Illinois shoots about 22 threes per game and hits them at a decent rate of 36.4%. They can be streaky, however. They hit almost 43% of them against Maryland, but only 20% against Nebraska. Nunn, Hill, Ahmad Starks, and Aaron Crosby are going to jack it up from deep. If Illinois is hitting we're going to be in trouble. If they aren't, we should be more than fine.

Inside Illinois will battle the Haas/Hammons duo with Nnanna Egwu, who has been a solid defensive player this year. He averages 7.1 points and 5.4 rebounds to go with 1.7 blocks. He is backed up by Maverick Morgan and Austin Colbert, but if he ends up in foul trouble defending both Hammons and Haas that should give Purdue another major advantage.

Just because Rice is out does not mean Purdue automatically wins this, but let's be honest. We're playing a team that is good, but it is missing its top player. That's a situation you have to take advantage of to get a big road victory and keep the dream of an NCAA berth alive. Their guards are very, very good, but Purdue should have an advantage inside, especially if Egwu gets into foul trouble. Purdue has generally played well in Champaign under Painter. The Boilers have won four of the last five there and we have won nine of the last ten against Illinois overall. That trend needs to continue tonight.