Tuesday night left a bad taste in everyone’s mouths. Purdue let a win get away, and it is the type of loss that could be crippling on Selection Sunday. Getting a non-conference true road victory over a major conference opponent like that would have been huge, especially in a year with only seven non-conference games and just one as a true road game. Purdue had every chance to put the Hurricanes away, but didn’t Even with six minutes left and with a lead I felt the game was lost because we saw where it was going.
Now there is little margin for error. For Purdue to feel remotely comfortable on selection Sunday I don’t think it can lose another non-conference game. We absolutely need to beat Indiana State tomorrow and get a major conference win over Notre Dame next week. Going 0-3 in our three non-conference major conference games would be bad. Getting at least one seemed paramount before the year started, especially since two were all against teams that were around .500 like us last season. I then think we need to go, at minimum, 11-9 in Big Ten play. That would have Purdue at 16-11 going into the Big Ten Tournament against a tough conference slate too. That should be enough.
Let’s not overlook the Trees though.
Indiana State Sycamores
From: Terre Haute, IN
Location: West Lafayette, IN
Venue: Mackey Arena (14,240)
Odds: No Line Yet
Date & Time: December 12, 2020, 7:30pm ET
Live Stats: Purdue Sports
Blog Representation: Sycamore Pride
2019-20 Record: 18-12, 11-7 Missouri Valley Conference
2020-21 Record: 1-0
NCAA Tournament History: 4 Appearances, last in 2011. 1979 NCAA Runner-up
Series with Purdue: Purdue leads 29-4
Last Purdue win: 65-52 on 12/18/2010 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Boilermaker Blockbuster)
Last Indiana State win: 89-70 at Indiana State on 12/28/06
Coach: Greg Lansing (167-154 in 11th Season at Indiana State)
It has been a while since Purdue and Indiana State have played, and it actually ended up being a nice non-conference win for the Boilermakers. Purdue triumphed in what was the final edition of the Boilermaker Blockbuster at the Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis. The Crossroads Classic took over the next season as our marquee Indy event each season. The Trees went on to make a run through the MVC tournament and clinch he automatic bid, reaching just their fourth ever NCAA Tournament. They then lost to Syracuse 77-60.
They also had John Wooden as a coach and Larry Bird as a player at one time. Both were basketball enthusiasts of some note.
Since then Indiana State has hovered around .500 a lot. They reached the 2012 CIT and the NIT in 2013 and 2014, but have not seen the postseason since. Last season was their best since going 23-11 in 2014. They were 18-12 and finished third in the MVC. Missouri State knocked them out of Arch Madness 78-51 in the first game, however. Their toughest two games all year came in the first two, where they lost at Dayton by five and Louisville by 29.
This season, like for so many teams, Indiana State has an incomplete. They have one game so far: an 80-66 win over Division II Truman State from Kirksville, Missouri. Randy Miller Jr. had 19 points to lead them. Tre Williams had 16, Jake LaRavia had 13, and Cooper Neese had 10.
LaRavia has been through some battles here in the state as he played at Lawrence Central. Neese is one of the state’s best pure scorers with 2,496 poitns scored in high school at Cloverdale. He was originally at Butler before transferring. He has averaged around 8 points per game in his career so far and has shot around 35% from three.
This is going to be a team that struggles with Zach Edey. LaRavia is their tallest player at 6’9” while Williams at 6’7” is listed as their center. They are the only two players over 6’4” that played against Truman State.
This is also a younger team. Miller and Tobias Howard Jr. are both grad transfers and Tyreke Key is a senior, but much of this team is building toward the future. They did shoot 37% from three as a team and they averaged 68 points per game. Key and Neese are their primary outside shooters, while LaRavia can step outside and shoot too.
Like Oakland and Valparaiso, this needs to be a tune-up game, especially with tough games against Ohio State and Notre Dame next week. After a sleepy effort against Valpo and a collapse at Miami Purdue has a lot it needs to work on. Limiting fouls is one. Knocking down open threes is another. If Jaden Ivey can go this is a great game to integrate him back into the offense before next week. Purdue should win, but I want to see it play significantly better than the final 10 minutes at Miami.