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

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Purdue has a ton on the line Saturday against Illinois.

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Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

This is for everything.

The last time Purdue played a home game with stakes anywhere close to this was four years ago, when E'Twaun's 38 Special saw us beat the No. 2 team in the country, keep alive the dream of a Big Ten title and a No. 1 seed, and a possible Final Four berth (before it all bizarrely fell apart). The stakes aren't quite that high, but the 2012 was pretty solidly in the tournament and did not have a make or break game like this. After 30 games we are exactly where I said we would need to be, at minimum, to make the NCAA Tournament. The journey has been a little different than we expected, as we traded expected home wins over Gardner-Webb and North Florida for a surprise road win at Indiana, but the result is the same in the end.

At stake for Purdue with a win:

  • A very good chance at a double bye and top four finish in the Big Ten, which was unexpected in October and a freaking pipe dream in late December.
  • A place in the NCAA Tournament. I don't think we become an absolute lock with a victory, because something odd like a 40 point blowout in Chicago could be trouble, but a win would make Purdue 5-1 against fellow Bubble teams in NC State, BYU, Indiana, and Illinois, which is huge. A win would mean something extraordinary would have to happen in Chicago and championship week as a whole (like a third MVC team stealing the auto bid) to knock us out, especially since we would be in the pecking order ahead of Indiana and Illinois.
  • A 20th victory - something that has not happened in three years.

Illinois has plenty at stake as well with their own NCAA hopes on the Bubble. A victory means a season sweep of Purdue, something that would look very good when compared to another Bubble team.

Opponent:

Illinois Fighting Illini

From:

Champaign, IL

Date:

3/7/2015

Venue:

Mackey Arena (14,240)

TV:

Big Ten Network

Radio Stream:

TuneIn

Satellite Radio:

SIRI 136, XM

Odds:

Purdue by 5

Tickets:

As low as $99 on Stubhub

Tipoff:

4:30pm

KenPom Ranking:

53 of 351

RPI:

59

Blog Representation:

The Champaign Room

2014-15 Record:

19-11, 9-8

All-time series

Purdue leads 97-86

Last Purdue win:

66-58 at Illinois on 1/15/2014

Last Illinois Win:

66-57 at Illinois on 1/21/2015

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 (146-95 overall, 61-39 in 3rd year at Illinois)

The game in Champaign was eerily similar to Wednesday's loss in East Lansing. Purdue played well early and built a lead, but falter and gave up a run before halftime. Illinois then dominated the second half as Purdue had its worst offensive effort of the season. Like Michigan State, the Fighting Illini were shorthanded too, with Rayvonte Rice and Aaron Cosby out.

Well, Cosby is gone for good, but Rice is back and playing at an all-Big Ten level. He is averaging 16.6 points per game and has had several good games since returning from suspension. He can get to the free throw line and is excellent once he is there, hitting 83% of his shots.

It was at the line where Illinois hurt Purdue the first time around. They hit 21 of 24 free throws while Purdue only attempted 9 and, like every Big Ten loss for the Boilers, we could not keep them off the line. There was an interesting stat last night. In all six Big Ten losses Purdue has put its opponent on the free throw line far more than it has reached the line itself. Part of that is from fouling at the end to try and catch up, but the numbers are still staggering:

Wisconsin outshot Purdue 31-7, won by 7

Maryland outshot Purdue 31-20, won by 9

Illinois outshot Purdue 24-9, won by 9

Minnesota outshot Purdue 20-5, won by 4

Ohio State outshot Purdue 35-13, won by 4

Michigan State outshot Purdue 29-12, won by 6

It is pretty clear that if Purdue can't keep a team off the line it is going to lose. Now I know five of those games were away from Mackey Arena, where it is always difficult to get calls on the road, but the numbers are still ridiculous. They are skewed enough that they were the significant difference in all but probably the Maryland game. That is the only one where the end-game catch-up scenario caused it to balloon.

All this is especially true against an Illinois team that shoots 80% from the line. They get there a lot too, at 18 times per game. Purdue cannot afford to keep sending the Illini to the line. They beat Purdue in Champaign because they got balanced scoring (four players in double figures) and hit their free throws.

Fortunately, we're at home, which has been a fortress in Big Ten play except for the Maryland game. There have been some great crowds and home moments this year, and with a sellout crowd expected we need to find a way to take it beyond the level that was achieved in the Indiana game. That was just IU. This is a game to complete an unexpected run back to the NCAA Tournament. There is a ton at stake here, and the players need to be focused and feed off the crowd.

Purdue played strong in Columbus and lost a close game. Purdue played with a lack of focus in East Lansing and lost. That cannot happen here. Illinois has plenty to play for and is going to go balls out. It should be an excellent game.