If one were to check the current status of the Indiana-Purdue basketball rivalry it would read, “Advantage: Purdue”. After losing four in a row in 2012-13 Purdue has won 6 of the last 7 games with the Hoosiers. Under Matt Painter, Purdue is 12-9 against Indiana, but we have won 11 of the last 17 since he started 1-4 against them. Nationally, during the Painter era the teams are virtually even. Each has two Big Ten regular season titles. Purdue has four Sweet 16 appearances to their 3, but they had a No. 1 overall ranking and a No. 1 seed. Neither teams has been past the Sweet 16 since 2002, tarnishing a rivalry that was once among the best in college basketball.
That is probably the toughest thing to accept. Many in this state romanticize the Keady-Knight era with good reason. Bob Knight and Gene Keady had memorable battles. In 1987 both teams were in the top 6 nationally during both games. One of Keady’s best teams, 1994, suffered a loss at Indiana by two points. In late February 1987 No. 6 Purdue would beat No. 3 Indiana 75-64 in Mackey Arena. While it helped Purdue share the Big Ten title, Indiana went on to win it all and Purdue was upset in the second round of the NCAAs by Florida.
Those days are gone, and over the past 15 years it seems as if when Purdue was up, Indiana was down and vice versa. In the 21 games the teams have played with Matt Painter at Purdue the Boilers have been ranked 10 times and Indiana has been ranked eight times (Nine counting Saturday). Only twice, in 2008 and 2016, were both teams ranked in the top 25. This 22nd game will be the 20th time where one team is ranked and the other is not, yet a Purdue victory might reverse the team that is ranked.
This is still a heated rivalry. I think it is the most personal in the Big Ten, but it has been a long time since Big Ten titles were decided by it (unless you count Purdue clinching one at home two years ago). That doesn’t mean there is nothing to play for. Both sides love nothing more than beating the other.
From: Bloomington, IN
Date: Saturday, January 19, 2019
Tip Time: 2 p.m. ET
Location: West Lafayette, Indiana
Arena: Mackey Arena (14,804)
Online: Fox Sports Go
Radio: Purdue Radio Network
SiriusXM Satellite: XM (Ch. 381); Internet (Ch. 968)
Live Stats: bit.ly/PurdueLiveStats
Odds: No Line Yet
NET Ranking: 30
2017-18 Record: 16-15, 9-9 Big Ten
2018-19 Record: 12-5, 3-3 Big Ten
Opponent Blog: Crimson Quarry
Series with Purdue: Purdue leads 118-89
Last Indiana Win: 77-73 in Bloomington on 2/20/2016
Last Purdue Win: 74-67 in Bloomington on 1/28/2018
NCAA Tournament History: 43 appearances, last in 2016. 5-time NCAA Champion
Coach: Archie Miller (28-20 in 2nd season at Indiana, 167-83 in 8th season overall.
Indiana has out-recruited Purdue, but has missed consecutive NCAA Tournaments. That is pretty much a cause for a full blown panic in Bloomington. It took an NCAA scandal under Kelvin Sampson for them to miss in 2009, 2010, and 2011, but that is the only time since 1968-72 they have missed as many as three years in a row. That streak seems likely to end based on the early returns, however.
Indiana has been up and down for much of this season and has been notorious for some of its slow starts. The 96-73 win at home over Marquette looks really, really good at the moment. A few weeks later they struggled with UC Davis, as they were tied with the now 4-12 Aggies with less than 6 minutes left. They are 3-4 against tier 1 teams, beating Marquette, Louisville, and Butler.
They are much different than the old Tom Crean teams, however. Indiana now plays some pretty stingy defense. They held Montana State to 35 points, but the offense can be fitful at best sometimes. They struggled for most of a half against Illinois and two-point wins over Penn State and Northwestern are hardly inspiring. They come to West Lafayette on a three-game losing streak and on the heels of an embarrassing 66-51 home loss to Nebraska.
That Nebraska game showcased the good and the bad of Indiana’s offense. Romeo Langford (18.8 ppg) and Juwan Morgan (16.5 ppg) are two of the league’s best offensive talents. Langford has been as good as advertised as one of the best players this state has produced in decades. Morgan is a dominant senior big man that gives them a true interior presence. They combined for 35 points against Nebraska, while everyone else did very little.
Like Purdue, Indiana has struggled to get consistent nights from its role players. Devonte Green, Justin Smith, and Al Durham all average around 8 points per game, but during this three game losing streak they have struggled. Indiana blew a sizeable first half lead at Maryland and followed it up with a rather lackluster effort against Nebraska because the role guys were kept under wraps.
Indiana is still working Lafayette native Rob Phinisee back into the rotation after he missed three games due to a concussion. He was playing solid basketball at the point and some strong defense before he was hurt and hit the game-winner against Butler. Phinisee was long recruited by Painter and definitely would like to put on a show in his home town game.
Here is what Crimson Quarry had to say after the Nebraska loss:
Archie Miller is in his second season at Indiana. It is what it would be. The defense is improved, the offense does in fact exist. It is there, you can see it, there are individuals in red and white jerseys performing those duties as they are defined. There are sets, there is movement, there is shooting. None of it is particularly good or reliable or consistent or modern in the way it needs to be to win postseason college basketball games. Or regular season ones, for that matter. It is Archie Miller’s second season, and it would be unfair to call his offensive philosophy irreparably diseased. It would be out-of-line to call Scoring Nine Points In Sixteen Minutes on Tim Fucking Miles a symptom of that disease. None of that would be true. Right? Right.
So what Indiana team shows up on Saturday? Just two weeks ago Indiana was 12-2, 3-0 in the Big Ten and headed to Michigan for a bit of a “prove it” game. They have since dropped three in a row and aside from the first half at Maryland, they did not look good in doing so. They enter 7th in the Big Ten in scoring (Purdue is 3rd) and 6th in defense (Purdue is 11th). They are the best shooting team from the floor in the conference at 50.9% and they are one of the best teams at defending the three. Several of their other numbers are very close to Purdue’s numbers, but the computers (NET and KenPom) like Purdue more.
The eye test is different though. Monday night Nebraska pulled off a stunning 15-point win in Bloomington. It was stunning because Indiana very, very rarely loses by 15 or more in Assembly Hall unless they are playing Fort Wayne or Indiana State. 24 hours later Purdue (playing a worse team in Rutgers to be sure) absolutely demolished its opponent by 35 and it was one of those games where it wasn’t even that close. How much do these two things carry over?
I do know Purdue is playing at home, and over the past four seasons we have defended our home court better than anyone, going 56-4. Mackey also saves its best for when Indiana comes to town and they have not been here since the night confetti rained down celebrating a Big Ten title.
Both teams need this in a Big Ten that is going to be cutthroat every night for the next 7 weeks. I like Purdue in this one, but it is the Indiana game. The Rivalry always triumphs, and you cannot count out a team with exceptional talents like Langford and Morgan.