If it’s Saturday it’s time for the roundtable. Let’s see what the staff thinks about today’s question shall we?
Illinois just completed a huge comeback against Northwestern. Purdue’s magic number is 1. They’ve got a chance to clinch a share of the conference title with a win over IU this weekend. What does Purdue have to do to win this one and title 25?
I didn’t think that Purdue would find themselves in this position to start the year. However, once Purdue kicked into high gear I never doubted they’d find themselves with a chance at the title. Don’t believe me? Check out prior roundtable answers.
Purdue got it taken to them when they played at IU. IU punched them in the mouth and Purdue failed to respond until about midway through the second half. That can’t happen again. Purdue is at home. Purdue has a chance to clinch a conference title. Purdue has to jump out to a quick start and get IU’s heads down. If Purdue can come out and (I hate to say this) play like IU did for the first 10 minutes of their first meeting this should be Purdue’s game to win. The crowd will be electric and I think they get to see a great show. Purdue wins and we celebrate title 25.
This may end up being one of the biggest games in Mackey Arena history because of what is on the line for Purdue and Zach Edey. A victory gives them title number 25 but a big game from Edey at the same time likely wraps up the national player of the year award for Edey as well.
Purdue needs to simply play their brand of basketball this season and not let that moment get too big for them. This is a time when the leadership of Edey, Gillis, and Jenkins needs to shine through. If I’m looking at what exactly Purdue needs to do to win is what I mentioned in my article from Friday: shoot 35% or better from behind the arc, turn the ball over 12 or less times, and have 15 or more assists. When Purdue does those three things, they are undefeated this season.
Purdue needs to come out guns ablazin’. If they can start hot and get the Mackey crowd behind them, they can and will take down the Hoosiers. Trayce Jackson-Davis will almost certainly get his, but if Purdue can limit Jalen Hood-Schifino and the random bunch of other guys that look like the preppy high school bullies from the 80’s (looking at Galloway and Copp), Purdue will be just fine. This is the perfect opportunity to snatch B1G Title 25 and players on this team seem to understand that importance very well. Let the confetti rain!
Unless the referees want to inject their presence into this game I expect each team’s two star bigs and NPOY candidates to get their own. We’ll probably see 20+ point games from both Edey and TJD if they don’t get strapped with foul trouble. The question is what does everyone else do? Does the Fletcher Loyer we know come out and throw up double digits, can Morton contribute, will Gillis be raining threes, is Smith going to razzle and dazzle and be a double digit scorer? Hood-Schifino hasn’t played well on the road and I can see the freshman be rattled in what is likely to be the most hostile environment that he’s been in. Purdue needs to play good D on everyone and not let IU get their heads up. This is rivalry game, and a big one, one that weird things happen in. Who would have thought that Purdue would’ve clawed their way out of a huge deficit in Assembly Hall with a chance to win the game at the end? Purdue needs to control the weird and just play their game, solid and efficient basketball. We’ve started a lot of games slow this year before bouncing back, we need to control the game from the tip and not let our foot off the gas.
I mention this a lot and I’m sure some people are tired of it, but Purdue needs to continue to attack on offense like they did against Ohio State. We’ve seen I.U. turn Edey loose to the tune of 33 and 18 and still win because the rest of the crew didn’t back up the big man. That needs to change today. We need guys coming off screens looking to shoot or attack the basket on every catch, and taking good shots if they’re available early in the clock. Zach will still get his touches, even if it means a few less hook shots and a few more put backs. On defense, the low post double is coming, that’s what Purdue does. The key is not letting the rest of Indiana’s players cash in easy looks off the double. Hood-Schifino put up 16 on Purdue in the last matchup and along with Galloway putting up 11, gave Jackson-Davis the support Edey didn’t receive. In summary, Purdue needs to be aggressive on offense and keep Indiana’s secondary scorers from putting up numbers.
Indiana is a very good team, but they played out of their minds in the first half at home and the game still came down to the wire. I’d be very surprised to see that energy matched on the road in one of the toughest buildings to visit with a home crowd experiencing a certain degree of bloodlust.
I see Purdue getting back to their preferred pace of play and, while I do think it’ll be a solid back-and-forth for the first, let’s say 30 or 32 minutes, the Boilers should pull away down the stretch and outlast the Hoosiers who need to win out (with Purdue and Northwestern losing a few more) for any shot at the regular season conference title and a #1 seed in the Big 10 tournament.