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Opening Odds and Game Preview: #8 Purdue vs Indiana

Purdue will host their rivals on Senior Day.

Syndication: Journal-Courier Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times / USA TODAY NETWORK

For seniors Sasha Stefanovic, Trevion Williams, and Eric Hunter Jr. this will be an unusual feeling. They’ll be hosting Indiana for senior night with the need to avenge their first and only loss to their rivals in Bloomington. Not just this season. Ever. In their career.

For three seasons, Purdue led by their senior class, dominated their in state rival for nine straight wins in total. That all ended in dramatic and disappointing fashion in Bloomington on a Thursday night in January. In a rivalry as historic and hated, those three seniors will have extra incentive to not finish their last season without a win over IU. They’ll get one last guaranteed shot, at home, in front of what should be a raucous Mackey Arena crowd.

It’s the only time anyone on Purdue’s roster has experienced a loss to IU.

For Indiana, that win against Purdue is their lone bright spot in what’s been a terrible last half of the season. Indiana has lost 6 of their last 8 games. Their home loss to Rutgers on Wednesday on a last second shot to Ron Harper Jr., 66-63, a familiar vanquishing to Purdue players and friends, might have been the final blow to what was supposed to be a promising new regime under coach Mike Woodson.

Instead, IU is most likely going to miss the post season for the sixth straight season.

For Purdue, their grand dreams of a #1 seed in the NCAA has fallen away after back to back game winning threes knocked off Purdue on the road against Michigan State and #10 Wisconsin. The two banked shots to end the game for the Badgers probably also broke off any chances for Purdue get to a #2 seed.

Now Purdue is attempting to salvage and maintain a favorable #3 seed. The first step will be taking on their rival at home on senior night and winning with authority ahead of the Big Ten Tournament.

The rematch couldn’t go much worse for Purdue, who struggled at times against one of the better defenses in the country. Jaden Ivey played through a hip injury and scored 21 points, but the seniors all struggled. Stefanovic went 1 for 7 from three and Trevion Williams had just 2 points while Eric Hunter Jr. scored zero points.

They’ll all look to bounce back and have one last defining moment against IU.

IU on the other hand didn’t get any scoring from their star, Trayce Jackson-Davis who had 4 points in just 11 minutes of action. Purdue’s size was too much for him, and the limited offensive player couldn’t get to the rim the way he was used to.

Instead, Rob Phinesee, the Lafayette native, had the game of his career, scoring a career-high 20 points including the three that put IU ahead of Purdue at the end of the game. One of a series of late back-breaking threes that has accounted for four of Purdue’s six losses on the season.

Xavier Johnson, a physical guard, also gave Purdue problems, getting to the hoop and knocking down two three-pointers on his way to 18 points. Purdue will have to maintain him, but with Hunter’s defensive resurgence, particularly in how he defended Johnny Davis on Tuesday, looks for Purdue to continue their improvement to their perimeter defense.

Purdue’s offense will continue to look to feed Zach Edey early and often. He’s too big for anyone on IU’s roster, and anyone’s roster in the country if we’re being honest. But Purdue needs more from Trevion Williams who has struggled mightily against Wisconsin and has been uneven at best for most of his senior season.

It’s always hard to get to this point where you realize, on Saturday, at 2:00, for Hunter, Williams, and Stefanovic, it will be their last time stepping onto the court in front of a full Mackey Arena. Their final home game.

There’s a lot of work to do for a class that started their career getting to the Elite Eight, and just mere seconds away from Coach Painter’s Final Four, and who now have a team capable of getting back and further.

The final stretch for their final journey starts now. A goodbye to Mackey Arena with the hope of bringing back the kind of success Purdue has never seen.

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
Streaming Radio TuneIn
Live Stats: Purdue Sports
KenPom 101
NET 124
Blog Representation: None
2020-21 Record 14-11, 10-8
Postseason Result: None
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)