A mercurial Purdue team made history last season. For the first time ever it won a fourth consecutive game in Assembly Hall. The double-digit victory was also only the second double-digit road win over the Hoosiers since the mid-70s. Finally, Tommy Luce became the first four-year Purdue player to never lose to Indiana. There are no players on Purdue that have lost to Indiana, and not even Joey Brunk for the Hoosiers has a win over Purdue when he was with Butler.
Now Purdue can go for even more history. The Boilers have not won five consecutive games in Bloomington since 1917-23. It only won as many as six once, from 1908-13. We are, indeed, in happy times as Purdue has won 10 of the last 11 over the Hoosiers and Matt Painter is 16-9 against them, with two losses coming in his dismal nine-win first season. If the Boilers can get a sweep I am officially going to call for a lifetime contract extension for Archie Miller.
Of course, nothing is ever easy in Bloomington. Purdue’s excellent 2010 team needed to survive a late three to beat a very bad Indiana team. My eyes are still bleeding from the ugly 48-46 win two years ago that was an afront to the game of basketball. Even with no real crowd in attendance we cannot take anything for granted. This is a semi-desperate Indiana team that needs a victory before beginning a brutal stretch of their schedule.
From: Bloomington, IN
Date : Thursday, January 14, 2021
Tip Time: 7pm
Location: Bloomington, IN
Arena: Assembly Hall (17,222)
Television: Fox Sports 1
Radio: Purdue Radio Network
SiriusXM Satellite: XM (Ch. 381); Internet (Ch. 968)
Live Stats: bit.ly/PurdueLiveStats
2019-20 Record: 20-12, 9-11 Big Ten
2017-18 Record: 8-5, 3-3 Big Ten
Opponent Blog: Crimson Quarry
Series with Purdue: Purdue leads 122-89
Last Indiana Win: 77-73 at Indiana on 2/20/2016
Last Purdue Win: 57-49 at Purdue on 2/27/2020
NCAA Tournament History: 5-time NCAA Champion (1940, 1953, 1976, 1981, 1987). 43 appearances, last in 2016
Coach: Archie Miller (63-48 in 4th season at Indiana, 202-111 overall)
We’re witnessing a strange era of Indiana basketball. For the first time in decades they had a class of seniors graduate without playing in at least one NCAA Tournament, though to be fair, they were probably just barely on the right side of last year’s bubble. They are a hard team to figure out, too. They have a lot of raw talent, and always have under Archie, but they struggle to put it together for long stretches. Just look at two seasons ago. They got an unexpected season sweep of Michigan State, but the second win was part of a 1-12 stretch of the season. Like Purdue this year and last, they have struggled greatly with consistency. They got an excellent win last year over Florida State, but were swept by Purdue.
So far this season they are a lot like Purdue. They have won the games they should for the most part, but have lost the ones they should. They are two games from being a top 25 team with overtime losses at Wisconsin and Florida State. A neutral court loss to Texas and road loss to Illinois are not bad. Still, they lost at home to Northwestern and had to go to overtime with Penn State. On Sunday they blew a big lead and actually trailed last place Nebraska in the second half before recovering for an 84-76 win.
Indiana is always dangerous because they have an all-Big Ten caliber player in Trayce Jackson-Davis that can take over a game at any time. He is fourth in the Big Ten in scoring at 20.1 points per game and he is third in rebounding at 9.3 per game. Only Trevion Williams and Kofi Cockburn are slightly ahead of him in rebounding. What concerns me the most about Jackson-Davis is his athleticism. Trevion has gotten quicker in his career, but he is nowhere near as athletic as TJD.
Purdue has not been able to take advantage of an opponent missing a major player on the road yet. The Boilers lost at Miami when they were missing Chris Lykes and Rutgers when they were missing Ron Harper Jr. Indiana will likely be without No. 2 scorer Armaan Franklin, who averages 18 points per game and is shooting 47% from three. The Hoosiers tend to go the way of their guards, so the play of Al Durham, Rob Phinisee, Trey Galloway, and Khristian Lander will be critical. When they are hitting from outside the Hoosiers are lethal.
Durham is averaging 11.1 points per game and leads the team at 3.3 assists, but is only shooting 30.8% from long range. Jerome Hunter and Race Thompson at the forward spots are shooting better than any of Indiana’s guards. They also have some lack of depth down low with Brunk also out. The Hoosiers are 11th in the conference at 33.6% as a team.
This is a game that will likely be decided by guard play. Purdue has not shot well on the road and Indiana has not shot well at all. I feel like the combination of Zach Edey and Trevion Williams can play Jackson-Davis to a stalemate in the middle, but who hits from outside? Who can get into the paint and score? Purdue is still last in the conference in scoring, but Indiana is 12th. Purdue is third in defense and Indiana is fifth. These are two very similar teams. Can either one get consistent guard play to open up the middle?