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Indiana at Purdue: Preview, TV, Time, Odds, Streaming, How to Watch

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BECAUSE IU SUCKS!

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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

It's the biggest home game of the year tonight. Any time the hated Hoosiers come to Mackey Arena it is the biggest game of the regular season. The IU game always feels bigger because of the rivalry that divides this state. We have all heard the jokes and snide comments, but as a Purdue fan there probably always will be a bit of an inferiority complex because of those five damn banners. We all enjoy making fun of Tom Crean and his inability to solve the zone, but every Purdue fan would love to have those banners hanging in Mackey Arena instead.

So the rivalry is renewed, and this year it is a clash of style. Purdue is the old-school grind it out team that wants to pound the ball into the post to a space-eating center. Indiana is the team full of athletes. They want to get out and run while being deadly shooters from the perimeter. They are quicker. We're stronger. They are more elusive, while we're bigger. It should be an interesting game.

Opponent:

Indiana Hoosiers

From:

Bloomington, IN

Date:

1/28/2014

Venue:

Mackey Arena (14,240)

TV:

Big Ten Network

Radio Stream:

TuneIn

Satellite Radio:

SIRI 136, XM

Odds:

Purdue by 3

Tickets:

As low as $72.45 on Stubhub

Tipoff:

9pm

KenPom Ranking:

44 of 351

RPI:

36

Blog Representation:

Crimson Quarry

2014-15 Record:

15-5, 5-2

All-time series

Purdue leads 113-88

Last Purdue win:

82-64 at Purdue on 2/15/2014

Last Indiana Win:

83-55 at Indiana on 2/16/2013

2013-14 Record:

17-15, 7-11 Big Ten

Last NCAA appearance:

2013 (5-time NCAA Champions)

Coach:

Tom Crean (306-198 overall, 116-102 at Indiana)

With no regular player over 6'7" tonight it is clear what Indiana wants to do. They are likely going to pack it in and try to prevent any passes into the post for Isaac Haas and A.J. Hammons. On offense they are going to be extremely athletic. Almost every player can get to the basket and as we saw against Maryland, they can get thermonuclear hot from outside.

James Blackmon leads them in scoring at 16.5 points per game and he is also a solid rebounder at 5.5 per game. He is shooting better than 41% from long arrange and when he gets to the line he does not miss. Blackmon is playing like a strong candidate for Freshman of the Year in the Big Ten, but he can tend to be a defensive liability. Last season, in his final year of high school, he allowed 30 points to Tayler Persons, who was only five months separated from tearing his ACL, as Blackmon's Marion was upset 74-69 after they had beaten Kokomo 75-51 during the regular season without Persons.

Persons is a solid player who could be the Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year at Northern Kentucky, but Blackmon is still an excellent player. In Big Ten play he has struggled with his shot somewhat, but he is a pure scorer that can also get to the line. Once there, he is shooting 87%. He is joined in the backcourt by Kevin Ferrell, who won the great Purdue-Indiana point guard battle with Ronnie Johnson when Ronnie quit and ran off to Houston. Ferrell was going to win that one regardless because he is one of the best point guards in the nation. I saw him win consecutive state titles with Park Tudor and it was evident then he was going to be a great player.

Ferrell is averaging 16 points, 4.9 assists, and has become a deadly three-point shooter at 43.6%. He also does well when he gets to the line, hitting 88%. Ferrell and Blackmon are, by a large margin, the best backcourt we have faced all season. Jon Octeus has his work cut out for him on the defensive end, while I have no idea who can defend Blackmon.

What makes Blackmon and Ferrell so good is their supporting cast. Troy Williams (13.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg) his a versatile forward that can get to the rim. He is hitting 59% from the field and is pretty much an athletic freak of nature. We don't really have anyone that can match him there. Robert Johnson (9.2 ppg) is questionable tonight, but Stanford Robinson, Collin Hartman, and Nick Zeisloft have all played well and can shoot it. The only true post player the Hoosiers have left is Max Hoetzel, who is a 6'8" freshman who plays only 9.3 minutes per game. Emmitt Holt, a 6'7" freshman, is also more of an interior player, but they don't have anyone close to the size of Hammons or Haas. Not with Hanner Perea out.

That's what this game really comes down to. If Purdue can effectively defend the perimeter, prevent IU from going crazy from three, and limit them from getting to the basket, the Boilers will win. If Indiana can prevent Haas and Hammons from going nuts in the post (and Purdue should get them the ball on every single offensive possession) the Hoosiers will win. What should make things interesting is that Indiana has not really faced a dominant post player like Hammons this season. Unfortunately, that means very little. When IU came to West Lafayette two years ago Hammons went crazy for 30 points against a top 5 NBA pick. Purdue also lost the game by 37 points.

That's what I fear happening tonight. Indiana is really, really good and they have shown that when they go "5 out" with five solid guards that can shoot or get to the rim they can run teams off the floor. That's kind of what happened two years ago. In that game Indiana was 12 of 25 from three, and they easily could do better tonight. They were 15 of 22 from three against Maryland a week ago and it is no secret that our perimeter defense against the three sucks.

So it comes down to effort. When Purdue has put forth a strong defensive effort on the perimeter, like in the second halves against Michigan and Minnesota, it has shown it can defend the three. What makes Indiana dangerous is that if we clamp down on the three they can either pass around or drive to the basket. Ferrell is particularly effective at that. I would almost run a modified zone where we stick Hammons/Haas in the middle with the express instruction to defend the rim and trust the other four guys to swarm the perimeter. Even then, Indiana is quick enough to break it.

Tonight probably comes down to how well Indiana is shooting. If they are off, Purdue needs to dominate in the middle and it would be enough to win. If Indiana is on, we're screwed.