Current record: 18-5 (7-3)
Current RPI: 11 (IU is #152)
Current Sagarin: 9 (IU is #89)
Current Pomeroy: 9
2009-10 record: 29-6 /14-4 (lost to Duke in NCAA Tournament Sweet 16)
2009-10 RPI: 16
2009-10 Sagarin: 9
2009-10 Pomeroy: 16
Series: Purdue leads 110-84
Last IU win: 2/19/2008 (77-68 in Bloomington)
Last Purdue win: 3/3/2011 (74-55 in West Lafayette)
Last IU win in West Lafayette: 3/1/06 (70-59)
Pomeroy scouting report
TV: 7 pm, ESPN
Blogs: Hammer and Rails, Boiled Sports
The Indiana Hoosiers face one of their toughest tests of the season when they travel to Mackey Arena to play Purdue tonight. Even under the best of circumstances, Mackey has been a tough place for the Hoosiers to play. During the first 15 seasons that Mackey was open, only two IU teams won there: the two teams that beat everyone else, the 1975 and 1976 teams. Only one IU team that wasn't NCAA-bound, the 2004-05 IU team, has won at Mackey, and that was in double overtime against a horrid Purdue team in Gene Keady's final season. This would be a tough road trip for any IU team, and particularly so for this one.
Purdue began the season, or at least the pre-season, with NCAA championship dreams. Robbie Hummel's second season-ending knee injury of 2010 made Purdue a title longshot, but the Boilers remain in the top 10 among all computer rankings and have as good a chance as any non-Ohio State team to win a share of the Big Ten title. All that said, I don't have a great feel for Purdue yet. They certainly have a good team, and don't have any horrible losses (Richmond is the worst they have, but it was an early season game on a neutral court against a comfortably top 100 team). Their other four losses were in true road games against Ohio State, West Virginia, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Still, while they lack a bad loss, they don't yet have a great win, either. Currently, their best is probably a road win against Virginia Tech. After that...Alabama? Minnesota at home? At Michigan? It seems to me that the three games between their two games against IU--at Illinois, vs. Wisconsin, and vs. Ohio State--will tell the story.
Without Hummel, his two senior classmates, E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson have carried the load:
Johnson, as you can see, is averaging over 20 points per game and Moore over 17, and no one else is over 7 points per game. Purdue fans lose their minds if anyone suggests that the Boilers need a consistent third scoring option, so I won't say it. Purdue has gotten enough contribution from the supporting cast to be 7-3 in the Big Ten, so they certainly have not slipped in to mediocrity. As usual, Purdue has been an excellent defensive team, but they really are sound at both ends of the court: they take care of the ball, force lots of turnovers, take good shots, and play solid field goal defense (although opponents have done reasonably well from behind the arc against them). In addition to Johnson and Moore, Ryne Smith and John Hart have been strong from three point range, and Lewis Jackson has been occasionally dangerous as a scorer in addition to his solid play at point guard.
This isn't a good matchup for IU, particularly given the current composition of our roster. No Big Ten team truly has an answer for Johnson, but it's even more glaring for IU. He would be a physical mismatch even if he played exclusively in the paint, but he doesn't. I assume that Jeremiah Rivers will be shadowing Moore all night. Will it be enough to stay close? I don't know. IU hasn't played well on the road this year, and Purdue always is highly motivated against IU, regardless of record. I think we will have a chance at home, but Mackey has been a wasteland for much better IU teams against much worse Purdue teams. The crowd is always fired up. It's the one time a year that the "IU sucks" cheer isn't pathetic. I'll hope for the best, but it has the makings of a tough night.