Indiana Hoosiers at Purdue Boilermakers: can IU steal one on the road (preview)?

Purdue Boilermakers

Current record: 15-7 (5-4)
Current RPI: 54 (IU is #23)
Current Sagarin: 34 (IU is #11)
Current Pomeroy: 36 (IU is #14)

2010-11 record: 26-8 (14-4), lost to VCU in NCAA Tournament round of 32
2010-11 RPI: 12
2010-11 Sagarin: 13
2010-11 Pomeroy: 9

Series: Purdue leads 112-84
Last IU win: 2/19/2008 (77-68 in Bloomington)
Last Purdue win: 2/23/2011 (72-61 in Bloomington)
Last IU win in West Lafayette: 3/1/06 (70-59)
Pomeroy scouting report
TV: 7 pm Saturday, BTN

Blogs: Hammer and Rails, Boiled Sports, The Railroad Tie

Having fallen under .500 in the Big Ten for the second time this season, IU seeks to get back to even at the venue that has been a very tough place for IU to win for as long as it has existed, Purdue’s Mackey Arena. I’ve said this many times before, but it has been extremely rare for IU to win at Mackey without some combination of a) IU having a much better team than Purdue; and b) Purdue not having a very good team. Obviously, neither of those things is true this year. Here is a quick rundown. Although Mackey opened in 1967, IU didn’t win there until 1975.

  • 1975: IU was undefeated in the regular season; Purdue finished 17-11 (no NCAA);
  • 1976: IU was undefeated and the NCAA champion; Purdue finished 16-11 (no NCAA);
  • 1983: IU was 24-6/13-5 and won Big Ten; Purdue was 21-9/11-7 (NCAA first round);
  • 1984: IU was 22-7/13-5 (but advanced to Elite 8); Purdue was 22-7/15-3 and won Big Ten (NCAA second round);
  • 1989: IU was 27-8/15-3 and won Big Ten; Purdue was 15-16/8-10 (no NCAA);
  • 1991: IU was 29-5/15-3 and won Big Ten; Purdue was 17-12/9-9 (NCAA first round);
  • 1993: IU was 34-4/17-1 and ranked #1 at end of regular season; Purdue was 18-10/9-9 (NCAA first round);
  • 1999: IU was 23-11/9-7; Purdue was 21-13/7-9 (although did advance to the Sweet 16);
  • 2001: IU was 21-13/10-6; Purdue was 17-15/6-10;
  • 2005: IU was 15-14/10-6; Purdue was 7-21/3-13 (yet this game still went to double overtime);
  • 2006: IU was 19-12/9-7; Purdue was 9-19/3-13.
So, there you have it. Only once, in 1984, has IU won at Mackey against a Purdue team that would finish ahead of IU in the Big Ten standings. Ten of the 11 IU teams that have won at Mackey made the NCAA Tournament; only 5 of the 11 Purdue teams that have lost to IU at Mackey did so. In eight of the 11 games, IU had a team that was worlds better than Purdue's team (1983, 1984, and 1999 are the only exceptions). An IU win tomorrow night would not be unprecedented, but it would be unusual compared to the history of the rivalry.

Of course, while IU does not have a huge advantage over Purdue in this game, the 2011-12 Boilermakers certainly are a cut below their teams of the previous four years. Like most people, I thought before the season that Purdue would be fine defensively but suspect offensively; to the contrary, Purdue's offense has been better than its defense, although the offense has been a bit streaky. Purdue lost only four Big Ten home games over the previous four seasons, but already has two Big Ten home losses (although offset by three road wins), and flirted with disaster against High Point and Western Carolina in the pre-conference.

Purdue has stayed afloat offensively, despite mediocre shooting percentages, mostly by taking good care of the ball. Purdue is first in the nation and first in Big Ten games in turnover percentage. This has served to cancel out mediocre shooting and rebounding numbers and absolutely abysmal free throw shooting (Purdue is #314 in the nation at 62.4 percent and is dead last in Big Ten games). Defensively, Purdue has done a nice job forcing lots of turnovers, which is very nice for a team that takes such good care of the ball itself, but has offset that with not-so-good field goal defense. The most tantalizing number for IU is that Purdue is dead last in Big Ten games in giving up 40.6 percent shooting from three point range. IU, of course, is #3 nationally and #1 in Big Ten games in three point shooting.

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
Robbie Hummel 22 30.7 5.4 13.6 39.5 1.9 5.5 35.0 2.5 3.2 78.9 1.4 4.7 6.0 1.8 0.7 0.7 1.2 1.9 15.2
Lewis Jackson 22 24.7 3.5 7.1 48.4 0.2 1.0 21.7 3.1 4.3 72.3 1.1 2.1 3.3 3.9 1.8 1.2 0.0 1.8 10.2
Ryne Smith 22 27.7 3.0 6.9 44.1 2.5 6.1 41.8 0.8 0.9 85.0 0.4 2.4 2.8 1.2 0.6 0.9 0.1 2.0 9.4
Kelsey Barlow 22 23.9 2.7 6.5 41.5 0.4 1.3 27.6 2.3 3.3 69.9 1.4 2.5 3.9 1.8 1.0 1.3 0.2 2.4 8.0
Terone Johnson 22 21.5 3.0 6.5 46.5 0.7 2.2 30.6 0.9 2.7 33.3 0.5 2.6 3.1 1.7 1.5 1.2 0.2 1.8 7.6
D.J. Byrd 21 15.1 1.9 4.9 39.2 1.3 3.2 39.7 1.0 1.3 71.4 0.5 1.0 1.5 0.7 0.5 0.3 0.2 1.4 6.0
Anthony Johnson 22 15.0 2.1 5.3 40.5 0.4 1.5 26.5 1.0 2.0 51.2 0.9 1.4 2.3 0.9 0.9 0.4 0.0 1.5 5.7
Jacob Lawson 21 14.0 1.3 2.2 59.6 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.4 1.2 34.6 1.4 1.0 2.4 0.3 0.7 0.6 0.9 2.9 3.1
Travis Carroll 22 16.7 1.3 2.7 46.7 0.1 0.3 33.3 0.3 0.6 50.0 1.6 1.6 3.2 0.5 0.7 0.5 0.7 1.5 3.0
John Hart 10 7.2 0.9 2.1 42.9 0.5 1.4 35.7 0.4 0.6 66.7 0.0 0.6 0.6 0.2 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.7 2.7
Sandi Marcius 15 9.6 0.8 1.3 60.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.4 0.7 54.5 0.7 1.5 2.3 0.3 0.9 0.1 0.1 1.5 2.0
Dru Anthrop 7 4.3 0.4 1.1 37.5 0.0 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 1.0 1.3 0.7 0.0 0.4 0.1 0.3 0.9
Neal Beshears 6 2.8 0.2 0.3 50.0 0.0 0.2 0.0 0.3 0.3 100.0 0.2 0.0 0.2 0.3 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.7

Purdue is leaning heavily on Robbie Hummel, who missed nearly two calendar years because of successive season-ending ACL tears. Hummel doesn't look like the same guy, clearly isn't as mobile, and his shooting percentages, particularly from two point range, are the worst of his career. Still, he is a fierce competitor and is managing to lead the Boilers in scoring, rebounding, and blocks by a large margin. After that, the Boiler offense is something of a grab bag. Lewis Jackson is Purdue's second leading scorer, and he is managing to shoot 48 percent from the field despite being 5-10 and a below average outside shooter (he shoots 53 percent from inside the arc and 21 percent from outside). Ryne Smith and DJ Byrd are very effective from three point range. Terone Johnson has not lived up to the "E'Twaun Moore 2.0" hype, and sports a free throw percentage that would make Tom Pritchard blush, but he has his moments, and played very well in Bloomington last year. The black hole for Purdue is in the middle, where neither Travis Carroll, nor Jacob Lawson, nor Sandi Marcius has proved to be a reliable option. Lawson has been the most effective offensively, but he averages 3 fouls per game in only 15 minutes per game. Matt Painter has increasingly gone small, and claims he will do so even when Cody Zeller is on the floor. That's probably his best option, really. It's probably better to try to take Zeller out of his element defensively than to hope that one of Purdue's big men could handle him when he's on offense.

On paper, Purdue's poor three point defense and lack of much quality play on the interior seems to play into IU's hands. On the other hand, Lewis Jackson's quickness is a poor match for IU's permiter defense. The larger issue, of course, is that this is Purdue v. IU at Mackey Arena. The place will be crazy. It doesn' t matter that IU hasn't defeated Purdue in four years. Purdue fans and players always feel like the aggrieved party in this rivalry. At lunch today, I saw a couple of goobers walking around Monument Circle with a sign that said, "Go Purdue, Beat Indiana." They weren't college kids. They looked to be a couple of middle aged office workers. The various blatherings on the Internet this week illustrate it as well. No matter how big the chip on our shoulder should be, theirs always will be bigger. On paper, IU should compete tomorrow night. In the real world, I'll expect nothing and be happy if we get more.
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