Current record: 24-4 (12-4)
Current RPI: 10
Current Sagarin: 8
Current Pomeroy: 9
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: 2/4/2010 (78-75 in Bloomington)
Last IU win in West Lafayette: 3/1/06 (70-59)
Pomeroy scouting report
TV: 6:30 pm, Big Ten Network
Purdue edged IU a month ago in a surprisingly competitive game. Both teams have taken turns for the worse since then. IU's problems are well-documented here, and it's no exaggeration to say that IU hasn't competed with any team for a full game since Verdell Jones's potential tying three point shot was off the mark. Purdue, on the other hand, was playing as well as any team in the country until Robbie Hummel tore his ACL 13 minutes into Purdue's game at Minnesota. Purdue allowed a huge run by the Gophers after the Hummel injury but came back to win at the Barn, but in the 67 minutes since the Hummel injury, Purdue, which other than a rough week in the middle of the Big Ten season hadn't lost a game all year, has been outscored 97-77 and lost by 9 at home to Michigan State.
Now Purdue, which looked like a Final Four favorite and title contender just a week ago, becomes a fascinating story for the rest of us. How will the Boilers fare in the Big Ten Tournament? If they fare poorly, how with the Selection Committee handle it? Of course, Purdue is fortunate to play the two worst teams in the Big Ten to finish the regular season. Purdue in its current state is better than several teams that slaughtered IU (Iowa, Northwestern, Michigan, Minnesota, and maybe even Wisconsin). I think the fact that Purdue's ultimate goals are likely out of reach makes it more likely that tonight's game will be a bloodbath.
Here are the teams' numbers:
|Verdell Jones III||28||30.9||4.7||11.8||40.0||0.6||2.3||26.6||4.6||6.1||75.0||0.8||3.0||3.9||3.2||2.9||1.0||0.5||1.8||14.6|
Both teams now can gaze longingly at some impressive but moot numbers at or near the top.
All year, one of the concerns expressed about Purdue, as compared to other top 5 teams, has been depth. Obviously, there is a huge dropoff in offensive production after the top three of Hummel, E'Twaun Moore, and JaJuan Johnson. Replacing Hummel necessarily involves relying on a player or players who have not been forced to carry a heavy load before now. Keaton Grant has struggled offensively all year. Chris Kramer is an excellent defender but isn't much of a scoring threat within the offense. Lewis Jackson has struggled offensively since his return. Patrick Bade isn't ready. Hummel is such a complete player that his absence inevitably will have an impact. Of course, most teams would kill for Purdue's problems. Absent an implosion, Purdue probably will end up as a 2 or 3 seed and still will have a decent chance at reaching the Sweet 16.
As I said, IU has been so far from competitive in the last 8 games that it's really difficult to preview this game. IU last played well against Purdue, and hopefully that will resume, but I have no reason to believe it will happen. Even under much better conditions and much worse Purdue teams, Mackey has been a tough venue for the Hoosiers. Given how the scrubs have been known to shine when IU plays at Mackey (anyone remember Ije Nwanko), I fully expect Bade to do a Bill Walton impression tonight. Still, I've been surprised at this team's rapid decline, so hopefully the surprise can be pleasant for once.