Has Indiana quit?
It is a valid question. The Hoosiers have lost 10 of 11, but the one victory was a stunning overtime win at Michigan State. The result and opponent make that a stunning outlier in the last several weeks of the season. If Indiana had really quit, Michigan State should have blown them out in East Lansing. Instead, Indiana played one of its best games of the season.
In the other 10 games of the last 11, however, the Hoosiers have looked awful. It started innocently enough with an 11-point loss at Michigan, but there have been some really bad ones in here. Losing by 15 at home to Nebraska is bad. Losing at Rutgers and Northwestern is bad. On Saturday they lost by 21 at Minnesota in a game that wasn’t even that close.
The thing is, this team can beat good teams. The wins over Louisville, Marquette, and Michigan State are keeping them afloat for NCAA consideration despite being just 13-12 overall. With six games left in the regular season they probably have to win four to feel even remotely safe for the tournament, but that includes home games against Purdue, Michigan State, and Wisconsin. With Nick Ward out for MSU that is certainly possible, but not with the way they have played of late.
This is still Indiana-Purdue. Purdue has never won three straight in Assembly Hall, but has won the last two and three of the last four. Purdue is going into a hostile atmosphere and the Hoosiers are talented. We can take nothing for granted.
From: Bloomington, IN
Date: Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Tip Time: 7pm
Location: Bloomington, IN
Arena: Assembly Hall (17,222)
Radio: Purdue Radio Network
SiriusXM Satellite: XM (Ch. 381); Internet (Ch. 968)
Live Stats: bit.ly/PurdueLiveStats
Odds: Purdue by 4.5
2016-17 Record: 16-15, 9-9 Big Ten
2017-18 Record: 13-12, 4-10 Big Ten
Opponent Blog: Crimson Quarry
Series with Purdue: Purdue leads 119-89
Last Indiana Win: 77-73 at Indiana on 2/20/2016
Last Purdue Win: 70-55 at Purdue on 1/19/2019
Indiana’s season is over if it loses this game. They are barely hanging on to the NCAA Tournament, but a loss at home to Purdue, a game where they have no excuse not to get up for, would be it. They’d be at .500 overall with games left against Wisconsin, at Iowa, Michigan State, and a tricky trip to Illinois. Even if they beat Purdue it is still a tough schedule with a deep hole already dug, but it is safe to say that they need to be drastically different than they were at Minnesota.
Romeo Langford scored 3,000 points in four years of high school. He was an elite recruit and will very likely be a lottery pick in a few months. For some reason he attempted only six shots at Minnesota in 31 minutes. That’s absolutely criminal. The first Purdue game was his worst game of the year and if we can repeat that performance it will go a long way towards winning this game.
Juwan Morgan has still been great and is averaging 15.3 points per game, but the Hoosiers have lacked consistency from everyone else. In the first half against Minnesota they had one assist and they finished with eight. This is still a dismal shooting team from long range, but De’Ron Davis and Morgan give me cause for concern inside. Al Durham is also one of the few guys playing well for them of late. Justin Smith also had a good game against us the first time around with 15 points.
To me, I would be deeply concerned for only two reasons: if they start hitting some threes (31.9% on the season, 12th in the league) and if Romeo start playing to his capability. They flat out need Romeo to be their Carsen Edwards right now. If he takes less than 15 shots it is criminal, but if Nojel Eastern can shut him down again that factor can be erased.
The Hoosiers will not beat us unless they play much, much better offensively than they have in weeks. I know we’re not going to get calls on the road. I know Eastern can easily get in early foul trouble along with Trevion Williams. I know we could go ice cold like we did at Maryland or turn the ball over with abandon like we did against Penn State. This is still a team that has scored 52, 72, 46, and 51 in its last four home games. Meanwhile, in every road game this year we have scored 72, 57, 68, 59, 84, 79, 99, and 56.
These are clearly teams headed in opposite directions. We have only lost once in our last 10 and they have only won once in their last 10, but the Rivalry evens all. I only need remind you of 2010, when Purdue was 18-3 and entered ranked 8th, facing an Indiana team that was 9-11 and eventually went 4-14 in Big Ten play. We still needed to survive a late miss by Verdell Jones III to steal a 3-point win. As much as I would like to pay them back for the unmerciful 37 point beating we took in 2013, I am realistic. This is still Indiana-Purdue and they are a team with a bunch of raw talent. It is never easy to win there, so expect this to go down to the wire.