Game Info / How to Watch
When? Saturday, 1/19/19 2:00 P.M., Mackey Arena
Vegas? O/U 143.5, Boilermakers -7
KenPom? Purdue by 6, 75-69 (not nice), 73% chance of Boilermaker Victory
On Saturday Indiana will attempt to break their three-game losing streak in a matchup with Purdue in West Lafayette. They’ve lost their last three games against the Boilermakers, their last win in the series coming in 2016. On top of that, the Hoosiers haven’t won in West Lafayette since 2013 and have lost six of the last seven matchups against Purdue.
The Boilermakers stack up pretty well compared to the rest of the country in the four factors. They are top 20 nationally in both turnover percentage (15.7) and offensive rebounding percentage (35.8). The only area in which they perform below the national average is offensive free throw rate (27.5).
What to watch for
- Frontcourt depth
Just as they have in other recent editions of this matchup, the Boilermakers feature a rather large gentleman in their starting lineup and it could cause a problem for IU. Matt Haarms might not be AJ Hammons, Caleb Swanigan, or Issac Haas, and he may have a weird tendency to frequently fix his hair while on the court, but he could still be a thorn in Indiana’s side.
The Hoosiers have been outrebounded in each of their last two games. Nebraska did so by a 40-31 margin and Maryland pummeled Indiana on the boards, grabbing 15 more rebounds than the Hoosiers. Haarms might not pull down a ton of rebounds in this one, but his presence alone could help his teammates get into the paint and clean the glass.
Another problem the Hoosiers could have is their frontcourt players getting into foul trouble. If Haarms can draw some fouls and get De’Ron Davis, Juwan Morgan, or Justin Smith into foul trouble, especially early, things could get dicey for Indiana. In that case we could see plenty of Evan Fitzner, Clifton Moore, or Jake Forrester which probably isn’t ideal if you’re IU.
- Guarding Carsen
You may have heard that Purdue has one of the most prolific scorers in college basketball on their team—they do. Carsen Edwards is averaging nearly 25 points per game as a junior while shooting just under 43 percent from the floor and over 38 percent from downtown. That seems like it could be a problem for the Hoosiers.
So who gets the unenviable task of guarding Edwards? Well IU has some options, but it’s debatable how effective any of them may be. Al Durham is a sound defender and may be the top choice at this point. Maybe Rob Phinisee gives it a whirl at some point and hopes for the best. Maybe Zach McRoberts gets a shot despite some struggles this season. Maybe it doesn’t matter and Edwards lights up anybody who stands in front of him, if so the Hoosiers had better hope that their offense can keep up with the Purdue star.
- Start well/Bring some energy
The fanbase didn’t even wait until after the game to show their displeasure with IU’s effort against Nebraska on Monday. The Hoosiers were booed by their home crowd and whether you agreed with that display or not, you could see why it happened.
Putting that behind them and getting geared up for a rivalry game (I mean it’s not Kentucky, but still) is going to be a key for Indiana on Saturday. Will the Hoosiers be able to get off to a decent start in both halves, or will they look like they’re going through the motions? History lends itself to the latter, but maybe IU will shock us.
Archie Miller said on Friday that this is the biggest game on the schedule. Maybe that was just coachspeak, but this game is important. If the Hoosiers drop this one, they could very well be a poor performance on the road against Northwestern away from heading to r u t g e r on a six game losing streak. Now you shouldn’t expect a loss in Piscataway, like ever, but there’d be much more reason for optimism if Indiana can at least have a good showing against the Boilermakers before heading to Evanston and then hosting Michigan next week.