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#3 Purdue vs Butler: Hoosier Crossroads Odds and Preview

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Purdue attempts to get back on track in an in-state Classic that’s been historically difficult for them.

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at N.C. State Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Purdue Boilermakers are -15.5 point favorites in their final Hoosier Crossroads Classic game against Butler according to Draftkings. Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.

Purdue’s first, and to this point, only week at #1 did not go as planned. They lost their first ever game at #1 when Rutger’s Ron Harper Jr. hit a half court heave at the end of regulation. They nearly left New York City 0-2 as the highest ranked team in the country. Instead, a big comeback and a convincing overtime against NC State let them hold onto some national respect and they only dropped two spots to #3.

For Butler, a team that didn’t have the highest expectations going into the season, found themselves looking down a slippery slope early. A difficult stretch of games against Michigan St., Houston, and Texas A&M led to a three-game losing streak just six games into the season.

For Butler, it looked like their season was on the precipice of major disappointment for Coach LaVall Jordan. Instead, they took care of a couple easy opponents and picked up a quality win at Hinkle Fieldhouse in overtime against Oklahoma a game ago.

Butler’s team has struggled to find its identity. Their defense has been middling - they’ve rebounded well and defended the three, but they have almost zero rim protection. They’re allowing teams to shoot 53% inside the perimeter and they don’t force any turnovers.

On offense, they’ve been even worse. They have the 116th best team in the country in offensive efficiency according to KenPom. They have just one player with an offensive rating over 110 on the team - in comparison, Purdue only has one regular rotation player under 110. (Purdue is still the best offense in the country.)

Butler doesn’t do anything on offense well. They haven’t shot the ball particularly well. They play a motion offense not too dissimilar to Coach Painter’s system and they run it with decent discipline, but they lack offensive fire power. Their arguably most dangerous offensive player, Aaron Thompson, is a big time play maker with an assist rate over 30%, but he’s also turning the ball at nearly the same rate. He’s an almost empty threat trying to score though.

Butler is the 328th team in turnover rate despite playing one of the slowest tempos in the country. They’re also not a very big team, a particular problem when staring up at the giant two-headed Center lineup heading at them.

When you watch Butler you see a team that knows what to do. The school has been one of the more consistent over the last couple decades, but this team really lacks top-end talent, offensive threats at any level, or that one singular player to tie the team together and make more from their parts as a whole.

That said, the Oklahoma win was a positive sign they’ve figured some things out. Chuck Harris went off, dropping 26 points. It will take another Herculean effort for Butler to have a chance this game.

That said, it is the Crossroads and some deal with the devil was certainly made to keep Purdue teams at bay. While I believe Purdue will win the game, and maybe even without much drama, 15 points is a little much for me.

Give me Butler and the points in a Purdue win.

Basketball GameDay Vitals

Illinois Fighting Illini Record: 13-3, 6-0 Big Ten
Illinois Fighting Illini Record: 13-3, 6-0 Big Ten
From: Champaign, IL
Game Location: Champaign, IL
Venue: State Farm Center (15,544)
Odds: Illinois by 2
Date & Time: Monday, January 17, 2022, Noon ET
Streaming Radio TuneIn
TV: FOX
Live Stats: Purdue Sports
KenPom 11
NET 11
Blog Representation: The Champaign Room
2020-21 Record 24-7, 16-4 Big Ten
Postseason Result: Lost to Loyola-Chicago 71-58 in NCAA Tournament Second Round
NCAA Tournament History: 31 appearances, last in 2021. 2005 NCAA Runner-up
Series With Purdue: Purdue leads 102-90
Last Purdue win: 73-56 at Purdue on 2/27/2019
Last Illinois win: 66-58 at Illinois on 1/2/2021
Coach: Brad Underwood (84-59 in 5th year at Illinois, 193-86 overall)