With a group of four seniors like we have in Vince Edwards, Isaac Haas, P.J. Thompson, and Dakota Mathias it is fun to see what marks they can hit as a class. They are closing in on the record for most wins by a 4-year class. The 2011 seniors won 107 games in their four year careers. This group has won 92, so with a good tournament run that is in reach. The first 30-win season in school history is possible. They are also two away from going 14 for 14 in winning at least one game in each Big Ten venue, a feat that has not been accomplished by any school since Rutgers and Maryland joined the conference (surprisingly, Wisconsin’s really good teams never won at Rutgers).
Those two venues are the State Farm Center in Champaign and Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.
If Purdue is looking for more motivation tomorrow, it is the fact these seniors are winless in Iowa City. They have had a pair of chances, losing there 83-78 last season after blowing the Hawkeyes out by 22 in West Lafayette just two weeks earlier. They also lost there 83-71 in 2016. This year’s Iowa team is… not good, but Purdue still needs to be on guard. Remember Wisconsin above? In 2015, the first year Rutgers and Maryland were in the league, Wisconsin went 16-2 in the league, 36-4 overall, and was national runner-up. They lost at Rutgers, who would finish 10-22, 67-62.
That means anything can happen.
From: Iowa City, IA
Date : Saturday, January 20, 2018
Tip Time: Noon ET
Location: Iowa City, IA
Arena: Carver-Hawkeye Arena (15,400)
Radio: Purdue Radio Network
SiriusXM Satellite: XM (Ch. 381); Internet (Ch. 968)
Live Stats: bit.ly/PurdueLiveStats
2016-17 Record: 19-15, 10-8 Big Ten (Lost ot TCU 94-92 in NIT Second Round)
2016-17 Record: 10-10, 1-6 Big Ten
Series with Purdue: Purdue leads 88-76
Last Iowa Win: 83-78 at Iowa on 1/12/2017
Last Purdue Win: 89-67 at Purdue on 12/28/2016
NCAA Tournament History: 25 Appearances, last in 2016. 1955, 1956, and 1980 Final Four
Coach: Fran McCaffery (147-111 in 8th season at Iowa, 398-288 in 22nd season overall)
It has been a rough season for Iowa after entering this year with modest expectations of making the NCAA Tournament. A 3-0 start against three body bag opponents set up a disaster of a trip to the Cayman Islands for their exempt tournament. They lost to Louisiana by 9 and South Dakota State by 8 before winning the 7th place game over UAB. That gave way to a four game losing streak against Virginia Tech, Penn State, Indiana, and Iowa State. They got a nice neutral court win over Colorado in late December, but in Big Ten play the only positive has been a 104-97 comeback win over Illinois last week.
In that game the Illini led by 20 in the first half before the Hawkeyes came roaring back. It was an odd game. Illinois led 49-29 just before halftime, but then fell behind by five. Trent Frazier tied it at 90-90 on a three at the buzzer, but Iowa scored the first 10 points of overtime to win.
The numbers for Iowa do not look good going into this. Even before losing at Rutgers 80-64 this week the Iowa defense was dead last in the conference at 76.2 points per game given up. Illinois in 13th place was four points better. Then Rutgers happened. It was only the third time ever that the Scarlet Knights have hit 80 points in a Big Ten game, and the first time since the wild 110-101 triple overtime loss to Illinois in 2016. Given that Purdue is second in the league in scoring at 85 points per game, just 2 tenths of a points behind Michigan State, The Hawkeyes have a tough task ahead.
Iowa does a fair amount of scoring, at least. They are third in the league at 81.9 points per game. Purdue, in the meantime, is third defensively at 62.7 ppg given up, but we have held our last two opponents to 50 points or less.
Tyler Cook leads them in scoring at 14.8 points per game and he is tops in rebounding at 6.8 per game. Jordan Bohannon has also been solid at 13.5 points and 4.9 assists per game. He is third in the league in assists behind Cassius Winston and Bryant McIntosh. Bohannon also leads the league with 52 made three-pointers (he is shooting 44.5%). Isaiah Moss and Luke Garza are both in double figures scoring-wise, but yesterday’s interview with Black Heart Gold Pants said a lot about the current state of Iowa basketball:
It could be they rarely practice it, according to a “prominent former Hawkeye,” yet they still roll out a half dozen different defenses (M2M, 2-3, 3-2, 2-3 matchup which I’m unclear how this is different, 1-3-1, 1-2-1-1 press) on a game-to-game basis so guys regularly don’t know what to do. The youth, which I mentioned above, is not helping. There are too many guys who cannot defend what they’re asked to do, specifically Cordell Pemsl and Jack Nunge, it is almost laughable. I expect Purdue to get, like, 8 corner threes when Pemsl is defending the corner in Iowa’s 2-3 zone. Bohannon is asked to do so much on offense that he gets lackadaisical on defense.
It sounds like a nightmare scenario for Iowa. They are the worst defensive team in the conference and they have to stop perhaps the best offensive team. It does concern me that Iowa can score points though. If they can get hot they might have a shot. Unfortunately, this is the type of game Purdue should be able to win quite easily. I know anything can happen. I know the dreaded “bad game” is probably coming, but Purdue has some pretty significant advantages here. It is sometimes as simple as “We’re playing really good basketball right now and they are not.” Purdue 82, Iowa 66