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Purdue at Iowa: Preview, Q&A, Odds, and How to Watch

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Ross Binder talks about Purdue's second game with Iowa.

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Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

We have already played Iowa this year, with disastrous results as the Boilers blew a 17 point halftime lead at Mackey Arena for a shocking home loss. In lieu of a preview we have Ross Binder from Our Most Hated Rivals stopping by to answers some questions about tomorrow's game.

Opponent

Iowa Hawkeyes

Location:

Iowa City, IA

Date:

1/24/2016

Venue:

Carver-Hawkeye Arena (15,500)

TV:

Big Ten Network

Radio Stream:

TuneIn

Satellite Radio:

SIRI 136, XM

Odds:

Iowa by 2.5

Tickets:

As low as $40 on Stubhub

Tipoff:

1pm

KenPom Ranking:

4 of 351

RPI:

11

Blog Representation:

Black Heart Gold Pants

2015-16 Record:

15-3, 6-0 Big Ten

All-time series

Purdue leads 87-74

Last Purdue win:

67-63 at Purdue on 1/24/2015

Last Iowa Win:

70-63 at Purdue on 1/2/2016

2014-15 Record:

22-12, 12-6 Big Ten

Last NCAA appearance:

2015 (27 appearances) 3 Finals Fours, last in 1980

Coach:

Fran McCaffery (111-78 in 5th year at Iowa, 360-255 overall, 4-6 vs. Purdue)

Here is what Ross had to say, with my answers to his questions already up at BHGP:

T-Mill: The first game in Mackey was really a tale of two halves. Was that the worst and then best Iowa has played?

Ross: I don't know if the first half was the worst that Iowa's played all year -- but it's way, way up there (or, uh, down there).  Iowa had a bad second half against Iowa State (although Iowa State also had a really, really, really good second half, too -- which made for a bad combination) and they also had some pretty bad stretches against Notre Dame and Dayton earlier in the year.  But that first half against Purdue was pretty bad.  Iowa couldn't do much to stop Purdue's offense (or, really, Purdue's long-range shooters) and outside of Jarrod Uthoff, Iowa's offense couldn't do much of anything.

Likewise, I don't know if the second half was the best that Iowa's played all year -- but it's way, way up there.  Iowa also had a really good first half against Iowa State and some absolutely incredible stretches against Michigan State (especially the first half in East Lansing this year, which was just 20 of the best minutes I've ever seen an Iowa team play), but there's no doubt that the second half against Purdue in West Lafayette belongs on that list.  The defense upped the pressure and did a spectacular job of forcing turnover after turnover (and it helped that Purdue's shooters started to regress to the mean) and the offense made clutch shot after clutch shot, especially less obvious weapons like Anthony Clemmons, Dom Uhl, and Nicholas Baer.  From an Iowa fan perspective, that second half against Purdue was pretty damn amazing.  I'm sure y'all have a slightly different take on it, of course.

T-Mill: Who is the Bear you have been going on about? Here is your forum to preach on him.

Ross: Nicholas Baer is a redshirt freshman walk-on who's emerged as a key sparkplug for Iowa off the bench this season.  He was excellent in Iowa's first win over Michigan State (11 points on 4/7 shooting, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks) and he also gave Iowa some really good minutes against Purdue (7 points on 3/3 shooting, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks) and Michigan (7 points on 2/5 shooting, 1 rebound, 1 steal).  He provides some nice stretch four skills off the bench -- he's shooting 43% from 3-point range and his reach (he's 6'7" with long arms) makes him disruptive on defense -- and has been a key reserve for Iowa this year. He's a guy that coaches and teammates had been talking up for a while; we initially chalked it up to over-hype for a nice story, but it turns out he really is a valuable Big Ten contributor.  It's definitely been a very pleasant surprise to get that from a walk-on. 

T-Mill: Iowa is legitimately good and the second half of the schedule is favorable. Is this the year to win the B1G?

Ross: I think we'll know a lot more a week from now, honestly.  Iowa has Purdue at home on Sunday and then goes to College Park for their only game against Maryland on Thursday, which concludes the brutal first half of their league schedule.  Win those games and I think Iowa is definitely firmly in the driver's seat in the Big Ten.  Split them and Iowa's still in very good shape.  Lose them both and Iowa's still very much in the conversation -- that 6-0 start (and sweep of Michigan State) has given them a nice cushion in the league -- but they may need a bit of help.  It doesn't help Iowa that Indiana has an absolute joke of a league schedule this year -- playing Maryland, Michigan State, Michigan, and Purdue just once each is ridiculous -- which sets them up to win a ton of games.  I think 16-2 or better will win the league outright.  15-3 might win it outright, but will likely get you a share of the title.  14-4 and you're probably looking at a shared title at best.  All that said, I'm bullish on this Iowa team -- they're loaded with experience, they've already won at some tough venues (East Lansing, West Lafayette), and they have several guys playing the best ball of their careers.  That seems like a recipe to win a league title to me.  I think they're going to get at least a share of the regular season crown.  

T-Mill: How about Uthoff for B1G POTY?

Ross: KenPom thinks so and who am I to disagree with our geek overlord?  But, seriously, he's been incredible this year.  He's averaging 18.7 ppg (best in the Big Ten), 6.3 rpg (11th in the Big Ten), 3.1 bpg (tops in the Big Ten -- despite not being a traditional paint-bound rim protector).  He's posting a 56.1 eFG%, despite the fact that the majority of his shots are jump shots.  He's also making 46% of his three-pointers on the year, which is 6th best in the Big Ten (and only one guy -- Michigan's Duncan Robinson -- has attempted more 3s than Uthoff has so far this year).  He's an utterly unique player, he's having a tremendous influence on both ends of the court, and he's a huge reason why Iowa is front and center in the Big Ten title race.  I'd say that deserves some serious Big Ten Player of the Year consideration. 

T-Mill: What concerns you about Purdue coming to Iowa?

Ross: Well, I still don't think Purdue is a very good match-up for Iowa, which is sort of what played out in the first half of the Iowa-Purdue game earlier this season.  The main thing that worries me is Purdue's ability to pound the ball in the paint and get easy points at the rim -- especially if Adam Woodbury gets into foul trouble. Michigan had success scoring inside against Iowa and Rutgers had an incredible amount of success attacking the interior against Iowa, especially when Woodbury was on the bench and Iowa's interior defense went to pieces.  My nightmare is Woodbury sitting on the bench while Hammons, Haas, and Swanigan just pour in buckets on Iowa.  I'd also be lying if I said I wasn't a little worried about Purdue's shooters getting hot and roasting Iowa -- I know they've been struggling lately, but I also still remember that first half against Iowa, when they just could not miss.  I dread a repeat performance like that.  

T-Mill: Who ya got?

Ross: In terms of match-ups, Purdue still makes me pretty nervous.  But I can't pick against Iowa, not after the way they won in West Lafayette and East Lansing and the way they've been able to raise their performances for the best teams on the schedule in Big Ten play.  I think it will be a close game, but Uthoff, Gesell, and Jok will make enough key baskets for Iowa down the stretch for Iowa to earn the season sweep over the Boilermakers.  Iowa 71, Purdue 66