Indiana Hoosiers v. Purdue Boilermakers: can the Hoosiers stop heavily favored Purdue?

Purdue Boilermakers
Current record: 18-3 (6-3)
Current RPI: 10
Current Sagarin: 10
Current Pomeroy: 8
2008-09 record: 27-10 (11-7) (lost to Connecticut in Sweet 126 of NCAA Tournament)
2008-09 RPI: 20
2008-09 Sagarin: 14
2008-09 Pomeroy: 18
Series: Purdue leads 108-84
Last IU win: 2/19/2008 (77-68 in Bloomington)
Last Purdue win: 2/21/2009 (81-67 in West Lafayette)
Last Purdue win in Bloomington: February 9, 1999 (86-81, OT)
Pomeroy scouting report
TV: 7 pm, ESPN

When IU faces Purdue tonight, the Boilermakers will be heavily favored, probably moreso than in any IU-Purdue game previously played at Assembly Hall.  Purdue last won in Bloomington eleven years ago, which is by far the longest drought in the Big Ten.  Of course, part of that is because IU's last two teams have lost at least once to every Big Ten team that has played in Assembly Hall.  Still, even setting aside the last two years, every Big Ten team other than Penn State and Northwestern has won in Blomington more recently than Purdue.  Of course, the 1999 win was the third time in four years that Purdue had won in Bloomington, but the Boilers have gone dry since then.  The 2000s, in which IU led the series 12-5, were the most lopsided decade of the series since the 1950s.  Even though they are heavily favored, my guess is that Purdue will be very motivated tonight.

The problem that IU has, of course, is that even a mediocre game by Purdue may be enough to win.  Other than three losses in an eight-day stretch in mid-January, Purdue hasn't lost at all.  The Boilers have three true road wins, including a comeback win over Alabama and Big Ten road wins at Iowa and Illinois.  Purdue is ranked in the top 10 in all human and computer polls.  Purdue is an extremely experienced team, led by the fine junior class of Robbie Hummel, E'Twaun Moore, and JaJuan Johnson.   Given their high ranking, it's no surprise that Purdue is among the most efficient teams in the nation offensively and defensively.  On the offensive end, Purdue takes very good care of the ball (only #8 in turnover percentage), shoots free throws very well, and shoots from inside the arc very well.  The only obvious weaknesses are on the boards (Purdue's offensive rebounding percentage is middle of the pack) and three point shooting (Purdue makes only 31 percent of its three point shots).  On defense, Purdue is even better.  Purdue opponents turn the ball over on nearly a quarter of their possessions and their two point defense is excellent.  As on the offensive side, three point shooting is a bit of a weakness: Purdue's opponents make 36 percent of their three pointers.    Here are Purdue's individual stats:


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
E`Twaun Moore 21 30.3 6.7 13.2 50.4 1.3 3.7 35.9 2.7 3.9 68.3 1.0 2.5 3.5 2.6 2.3 1.4 0.3 2.4 17.3
Robbie Hummel 21 30.6 5.3 11.6 46.1 1.7 4.6 36.5 3.9 4.3 90.1 1.7 5.5 7.2 2.2 1.0 1.2 1.1 2.0 16.2
JaJuan Johnson 21 28.9 5.0 9.5 52.8 0.0 0.1 0.0 4.1 5.6 72.9 2.7 4.1 6.8 0.7 1.9 0.8 1.9 1.9 14.1
Chris Kramer 21 26.3 2.0 3.7 53.2 0.1 0.4 33.3 2.0 2.5 77.4 0.3 2.8 3.0 2.8 1.0 1.7 0.3 2.0 6.0
Keaton Grant 21 20.4 2.0 5.4 36.0 0.5 2.6 20.4 1.3 1.6 81.8 1.1 1.8 2.9 2.0 1.0 0.7 0.2 2.1 5.7
Kelsey Barlow 21 16.4 1.7 3.5 48.6 0.0 0.2 0.0 0.7 1.3 50.0 0.9 1.3 2.2 1.8 1.6 0.6 0.3 2.7 4.1
Ryne Smith 21 14.2 1.0 3.2 32.8 0.8 2.6 29.1 0.5 0.5 100.0 0.3 0.9 1.2 1.0 0.4 0.4 0.0 1.4 3.4
John Hart 11 8.3 1.0 2.9 34.4 0.5 1.4 33.3 0.2 0.5 40.0 0.5 0.4 0.9 0.5 0.1 0.3 0.0 0.9 2.6
D.J. Byrd 21 10.0 0.7 2.8 25.9 0.4 1.8 23.7 0.5 0.9 55.6 0.4 0.4 0.9 0.7 0.6 0.2 0.0 1.9 2.3
Lewis Jackson 2 14.5 1.0 1.5 66.7 0.0 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5 2.0 2.5 1.0 2.0 0.5 0.0 1.5 2.0
Patrick Bade 21 8.0 0.8 2.0 38.1 0.0 0.1 50.0 0.3 0.6 53.8 0.6 1.3 1.9 0.1 0.7 0.2 0.4 1.7 1.9
Mark Wohlford 19 7.6 0.6 1.0 63.2 0.4 0.7 57.1 0.2 0.5 44.4 0.3 0.5 0.8 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.7 1.9
Dru Anthrop 6 2.0 0.2 0.2 100.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.3 100.0 0.0 0.2 0.2 0.0 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.7
Bubba Day 6 1.7 0.2 0.5 33.3 0.2 0.2 100.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.5
Stevie Loveless 6 2.5 0.2 0.8 20.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.3
Kyle Coleman 6 2.0 0.0 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.5 0.3 0.0


Obviously, Hummel, Moore, and Johnson are a formidable scoring trio, and Moore and Hummel shoot very well from behind the arc (looking at the numbers, Keaton Grant may be almost singlehandedly responsible for Purdue's poor overall three point shooting numbers).  Others to watch are Chris Kramer, one of the best defensive players in the country, Lewis Jackson, the point guard who recently returned from injury and hasn't made much impact yet, and John Hart, who moved into the rotation out of nowhere a few games ago. 

It will be interesting to see how IU tries to defend Purdue.  Hummel, in particular, as a taller player who is mobile and can shoot anywhere on the court, is a matchup nightmare.   Ultimately, this game will be a challenge, to say the least.  Vegas favors Purdue by 11 points.  Ken Pomeroy favors Purdue by 12 and gives the Boilers and 89 percent chance of victory.  For anyone who remembers Todd Foster and Brad Miller spitting on the Indiana logo, or remembers Brian Cardinal blowing kisses, any home loss to Purdue, however expected, is tough to swallow.  IU will have to play its best game of the last two seasons to prevent it.

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