The tale of two 7-0 teams couldn’t look much different than this Big Ten opening match-up for the #2 Purdue Boilers and the equally undefeated Iowa Hawkeyes. Both teams have started the season winning their first 7 games of the season behind incredible offensive performances.
The likeness ends there.
Purdue came into the season with a top-10 ranking and Final Four aspirations and an early schedule that was going to challenge them to show they belong with the Bluebloods and best teams in the country. They’ve already handled North Carolina, Villanova, and Florida St.
Iowa’s best opponent before their last second win against a struggling Virginia (5-3) team on Monday was against something called Longwood. In the Virginia game, Iowa squandered a 20 point late first half lead to trail by one with less than a minute left and Virginia going to the line. A miss front end on a 1 and 1 allowed the Hawkeyes the chance to capitalize and get out of Charlottesville with a one-point win.
Iowa does have one of the best players in the country. Keegan Murphy is a 6’8” bully with the ball, long and skilled, he’s been one of KenPom’s highest ranked players to this point. He has one of the more well rounded offensive games in the country. He attacks the basket relentlessly, using his length and body to get clean looks at the hoop. He’s shooting over 70% from inside the arc and has knocked down a modest but important 10 of 29 threes on the season.
It will be Caleb Furst’s biggest test to date. The true freshman has been phenomenal for Coach Painter to start the season, but he’s not been tested like he’s going to be Friday night. Mason Gillis is still getting his legs underneath after his early-season suspension, but he will be another body to throw at Murray.
But how much of Iowa’s success is real? They are the fourth most efficient offense in the country. They’ve racked up these points and baskets against some of the worst teams in the country. Besides Virginia, they have not played another team in the country ranked inside the top 200 according to KenPom. Their opponent defensive rating is 341th toughest in the country.
Despite this, they barely have a top-100 defense themselves. They’ve forced turnovers at a decent rate but they are giving up nearly a 28% offensive rebounding rate. They have no rim protection, and their big guys are mostly just big men by nomination.
This is probably a problem because Purdue is one of the biggest teams in the country. They’re one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country. They are the best offensive team in the country. They’re coming off the best offensive performance against Florida St. in 15 years. Their efficiency ratings to this point in the season are record breaking.
Zach Edey and Trevion Williams have been giving Coach Painter a perfect 40 minutes of center play. They play entirely different styles which just plays into Painter’s offense which is able to shapeshift and attack weaknesses specific to each team they’ve played this season.
Jaden Ivey is also this team and he’s making his case for best guard in the country. A once in a generation athlete with uncontrollable body control that’s attacking in transition and getting into the paint where he’s grown even more confident in playmaking for others. This is a perfect offensive team.
Purdue’s been tested this year by dominant offenses in North Carolina and Villanova. They’ve struggled at times - giving up too many open threes, particularly in the corner. Iowa will look to inflict this pain on Purdue. They have shooters everwhere.
Jordan Bohannon is still around. Joe Toussaint is a tiny dynamo of a players. There’s two McCaffreys to contend with now. Their offense has been humming.
But they have to come into Mackey Arena on a Friday night when the whole spectacle of the Purdue program and its promise shines in front of them. Purdue has never been ranked #1 in the country. There was talk about if they were deserving when Gonzaga fell to Duke, but Coach K got the benefit of the doubt.
Duke fell the next game to the Ohio St. Buckeyes.
This is Purdue’s time. A win against the Hawkeyes and Purdue will claim their first #1 ranking.
There’s always magic in Mackey, but this season, with this team, with this chance ahead of them? Expect something entirely different. Entirely new. A Purdue team ready to take its next step.
It’s an 11.5 point line according to DraftKings. You couldn’t make this line high enough. Give me Purdue to dominate Iowa from start to end.
On Monday, the #1 Purdue Boilermakers will shine like all the Christmas lights in West Lafayette.
Basketball GameDay Vitals
|St. Peter's Peacocks||Record: 21-11, 14-6 MAAC|
|St. Peter's Peacocks||Record: 21-11, 14-6 MAAC|
|From:||Jersey City, NJ|
|Game Location:||Philadelphia, PA|
|Venue:||Wells Fargo Center (19,500)|
|Odds:||Purdue by 12.5|
|Date & Time:||Friday, March 25, 2022, 7:09pm ET|
|Live Stats:||Purdue Sports|
|2020-21 Record||14-11, 10-8|
|NCAA Tournament History:||4th appearance. This is the first season they have won a game. 2017 CIT Champions|
|Series With Purdue:||Purdue leads 1-0|
|Last Purdue win:||65-43 in Chicago, IL on 3/18/2011 (NCAA Tournament First Round)|
|Last St. Peter's win:||None|
|Coach:||Shaheen holloway (63-55 in 4th year at St. Peter's)|