Watch the Picture
Who? Indiana Hoosiers (15-9 (5-6), #41 KenPom) vs. #16 Purdue Boilermakers (19-5 (8-3), #12 KenPom)
When? Thursday, Feburary 9th, 7:00 PM, ESPN2
Where? Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Indiana
Vegas? PURDUE -1.5
Pomeroy? Purdue by 3, 39% chance of Indiana victory
Listen to Fischer
James Blackmon Jr. warming up -- this time with his knee pads, etc. #iubb— Mike Miller (@MikeMillerHT) February 9, 2017
James Blackmon Jr. threw down a nice two handed dunk before heading into the locker room. That lower leg looks healthy to me. #iubb— Zain Pyarali (@ZainPyarali) February 9, 2017
Good news IU fans, James Blackmon Jr. is warming up and his dad told a Marion radio station he is playing tonight. #IUBB #Purdue pic.twitter.com/UfgiCDJLmD— Tricia Whitaker (@TriciaWhitaker) February 9, 2017
From the game preview, Kyle Swick tells you about Purdue.
Purdue is, largely, the same team that took the court last year, and they were really good last year! The differences this season boil down to three things: their interior defense is worse (not a surprise after the loss of AJ Hammons), their three-point shooting is drastically better, and they're playing faster than they ever have under Matt Painter. The latter two have more than made up for the defensive backslide, and the Boilermakers are currently enjoying their best efficiency margin (difference between their offensive/defensive points per 100 possessions) in Matt Painter's time at the helm. It's setting up to be a true masterpiece of a first round exit for the Boilers.
The improvements come largely from great shot selection by great shooters. Four of Purdue's five starters are well-above 40% from beyond the arc but only one of them averages more than 4 attempts per game, and that would be Dakota Mathias, who is hitting 49.5% and should arguably be shooting a lot more even though he's leading the team in attempts.
In second is Carsen Edwards who, at 33.7% and holder of an offensive rating of 96.5, might want to be a bit more judicious. Or the freshman (and his coach) may want to consider ceding some possessions to PJ Thompson, who is 6th in the nation in offensive rating, hits 42.7% of his threes, and pretty much never turns it over, yet only Spike Albrecht uses less possessions and takes less shots than Thompson when on the floor. Purdue's point guard has been bizarrely underused this season, but he's almost always in position to hit a massive three-pointer. Also his shooting motion drives me nuts, I don't know why.
Then, of course, there's Biggie.
The National Player of the Year candidate and stone-cold lock to win Big Ten Player of the Year pretty much does it all. He's hitting 55.8% from two, 50.0% from three, and 79.6% from the line. He is the nation's best rebounder and draws tons of fouls. His role within Purdue's lethal offense presents a huge cover issue for the Hoosiers, because if the likes of Juwan Morgan, Thomas Bryant, or De'Ron Davis can't hold up one-on-one, then comes our consistently awful double-teams and Swanigan's ability to pass out of the post (17.1% assist rate) means he'll find an open shooter. Then, Indiana's inability to close out on the recovery means an open three is going up and, in all likelihood, going in.
It's not an ideal situation.
That said, the man can be had! He still struggles with turnovers, and if you get him to put the ball on the deck down low for long enough, he'll cough it up his fair share of times. The same goes for Isaac Haas, who, despite being 7'2", still struggles to really assert his physicality both on the boards and on offense. He is the offense's focal point, however, when he is in the game, gobbling up 32.4% of the team's possessions when he comes off the bench. His turnover rate of 25.1% in B1G play would lead last year's Hoosiers and slot in just behind Devonte Green and Freddie McSwain this year.
Of course, Indiana is 313th in dTO%, so pinning success on turning an opponent over is one of the most aspirational things we've done here, and we once earnestly campaigned College GameDay to come to Bloomington.
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