Iowa (15-8, Big10 7-5) vs #1 Purdue (22-2, Big10 11-2)
February 9th, 2022, 7 PM EST
Mackey Arena - West Lafayette, Indiana (home of your #1 ranked Purdue Boilermakers)
|Center||0||Filip Rebraca||Sr||6'9"||230||Sombar, Serbia||U of North Dakota|
|Forward||24||Kris Murray||Jr||6'8"||220||Cedar Rapids, IA|
|Wing||30||Connor McCaffery||Sr||6'6"||215||Iowa City, IA|
|Guard||11||Tony Perkins||Jr||6'4"||205||Indianpolis, IN|
|Point Guard||1||Ahron Ulis||Jr||6'3"||190||Chicago, IL|
|Guard/Wing||20||Payton Sandfort||So||6'7"||215||Waukee, IA|
|Wing/Forward||22||Patrick McCafery||Sr||6'9"||210||Iowa City, IA|
|Guard/Wing||4||Josh Dix||Fr||6'5"||192||Council Bluffs, IA|
Iowa On Offense
First thing about Iowa: they’re very careful with the ball. They’re ranked ninth nationally in turnover percentage and first nationally in non-steal turnovers, so don’t expect them to gift Purdue many extra possessions. There won’t be many errant passes, but with the Boilers’ length, maybe they can poke some dribbles away from the Hawkeyes...just don’t count on it.
Their adjusted offensive efficiency is a whopping 121.0, which, for context, is actually tied with Purdue’s to put them both as the second-highest in college basketball. They shoot pretty well in all areas, hitting 35.2% of their three point attempts (118th), 52.1% inside the arc (99th), and 74.7% of their free throws (72nd). Their overall effective field goal percentage is an 88th-ranked 52.3 and but are a middling team in terms of having their shots blocked, so Edey, Furst, and Morton are going to need to keep those hands up.
They are the 31-st ranked team in average height with some muscle and good footwork down low, so I can see them potentially giving Purdue more fits in the paint than most teams could. Not that I expect anything different that his typical great defense, but Edey’s going to have to be on his game.
In terms of scheme, they set up in a similar way as Purdue with four spaced around the arc with a talented center down low. I’m not going to lie, I really like Rebraca’s footwork and positioning, and he helps make the Hawkeyes one of the better offensive rebounding teams in the country (81st nationally at at 31.9%). However, the Serbian senior will almost assuredly be limited offensively by a much larger center (par for the course when facing The Big Maple) and I don’t predict him reaching his average of 14 PPG. He’s also one of the weaker free throw shooters on the team at just over 60%, so if Edey, who rarely fouls (especially compared to last year), wants to use one or two more fouls than usual, he knows who to foul.
Their mid-range game is especially solid when a screen allows them even a few feet of space, so I anticipate Purdue’s defense to force them to abandon much play down low and rely on the mid- and long-range game.
Iowa on Defense
The Hawkeyes rank near the middle in all defensive categories aside from the fact that they don’t foul a lot and thus are ranked third nationally in the ratio of free throws allowed to field goals allowed. That shouldn’t be an issue even if Purdue is one of the better free throw shooting teams in college hoops.
They haven’t had to deal with a player like Edey even if they have had success limiting seven-footers. They did beat Michigan earlier this season in overtime, but relied on on fast paced offense and great shooting while still allowing 84 points.
Looking at some of these scores, they’re capable of scoring in the 90’s, but against teams without exceptional defensive stats. The Hawkeyes seem to get out of sync with heavy ball movement and the Boilers tend to be pretty good at confusing defenses that way. Especially when your centers are 6’9” you’re going to have to double-team Edey and, as per usual, that’s just a simple case of choosing whether or not to commit to that strategy and leaving open a shooter capable of having a career night when repeatedly left alone around the perimeter.
They are not especially good at protecting the rim and seem lost when a shifty guard or forward shows off even decent footwork with dribble drives. Guys like Loyer, Smith, and Morton could give them some trouble in that regard. I don’t necessarily think it’ll even come down to that as I can envision Zach Edey with another 30+ point scoring night. He’s simply too big to not dominate over some shorter centers. Two guys between 6’7” and 6’9” could limit Edey, but again, then you leave somebody like Loyer, Smith, Gillis, or Jenkins open. I’ve used this phrase a lot this year, but it’s an issue of picking your poison.
X-Factor - Turnovers
As previously mentioned, Iowa is one of the best teams in college basketball when it comes to not shooting themselves in the feet with turnovers. Purdue is in a similar sphere but not quite on the same level while slipping in the rankings of creating turnovers. If Iowa wants to steal a W in Mackey Arena, they’re going to have to win the possession battle (and are well-equipped to do so). If Purdue gets more aggressive at the top of the key and creates transition points, and if Edey can poke the ball away should Iowa try to play it in the paint, the turning of tables would essentially ensure a Boilermakers win.
Draft Kings Odds
(Draft King Odds presented by PUB97 this week)
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details
Purdue - 81
Iowa - 72
Purdue - 79
Iowa - 66
I think Iowa is a fully capable team offensively, but they’re going to have to rely on a great shooting night if and when Purdue takes away the ability to feed the ball anywhere within six feet of the basket. They typically shoot best against teams that don’t close out shots as well as the Boilers do, so especially on the road, that’s a tough task for the Hawkeyes.