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Indiana at Purdue: How to watch, matchups and more

It’s the regular season finale. Thank God.

Indiana v Purdue

Ah, yes. The Purdue game, an anticipated matchup between heated, in-state rivals. When these two teams meet on the hardwood, anyth—*record scratch* just kidding. Archie Miller can’t beat Purdue.

Indiana’s struggles against the Boilermakers predate Miller’s tenure, of course, with the Hoosiers’ current eight-game losing skid in the series stretching back to the first meeting in Tom Crean’s final season. And yet, under Miller, it feels like the gulf between these programs has only grown.

Over the past six meetings, Miller’s teams have lost by an average margin of 9.3 points. Purdue’s current winning streak is the Boilers’ longest in the series in almost 90 years, and, given the state of things, the Hoosiers seem no closer to ending its run of futility against Purdue when the teams meet on Saturday afternoon.

Eat at Arby’s.

(Editor’s note: Actually, you can’t even count on free Arby’s, given that IU has yet to score 70 points in a game vs. Purdue during the Miller era. Sick timeline, eh?)

The opponent

Since the first meeting on Jan. 14, things have trended in drastically different directions for IU and Purdue. While Indiana has been busy playing its way out of the NCAA Tournament picture, going 4-8 in that span, Matt Painter’s program has been solidifying a bid to its sixth straight appearance in the big dance.

Purdue has won 10 of its last 13 games, while posting the Big Ten’s fourth-best adjusted defensive efficiency rating and fifth-best adjusted offensive efficiency rating during league play, per Bart Torvik.

The Boilers still aren’t a great shooting team, hitting merely 30.9% of their 3-pointers during conference play. But they shot the absolute hell out of the ball at Assembly Hall in January, drilling 11 of their 17 looks from distance. Contrast that with IU, which went merely 3-for-18 on 3-pointers and — hide your eyes! — 3-for-10 on long 2-pointers in the Jan. 14 contest.

Jaden Ivey has authored a nice freshman season for Matt Painter’s crew, starting nine of the 20 games he’s played and earning the league’s freshman of the week award twice so far. Over the course of Purdue’s current four-game winning streak, Ivey is averaging 14.5 points per game. Last time out, he scored 18 points, grabbed three boards and dished two assists against Wisconsin.

Fellow freshman Zach Edey has similarly settled in as the regular season has neared its conclusion. Edey poured in 21 points in 18 minutes off the bench earlier this week against the Badgers, authoring his best performance of the season. The 7-foot-4 big man has also shown marked improvement in two areas: fouling and turnovers. Over his first seven games of the season, Edey committed 23 fouls and logged 20 errors. Across his last 18 games, he’s been whistled 34 times with just 16 turnovers.

For Trevion Williams, the first Indiana game (22 points, 10 boards) marked one of five times this season that he’s posted a 20-10 double-double. Over his last three games, Williams is averaging 9.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game.

Sasha Stefanovic missed three games due to COVID-19 in late January, and it’s taken some time for him to get back to speed. After going 0-for-7 from 3-point range over this first three games back, Stefanovic is 6-for-15 across the past three games. In five career contests against IU, Stefanovic is averaging just 4.6 points and shooting merely 30% from beyond the arc.

Things to watch

IU could be without 2 starters

On his weekly radio show Thursday, Miller said both Armaan Franklin and Race Thompson would be game-time decisions against Purdue. Franklin has been out since halftime of the Rutgers game on Feb. 24, and he was initially not expected to return before the end of the regular season. It’s still unlikely that Franklin is available against Purdue — and if he is, he’ll be limited. Thompson, meanwhile, underwent a facial procedure after the Michigan State game. His availability is also in the air, which is ... umm ... not what you want to hear before heading to West Lafayette.

Phinisee’s encore

Rob Phinisee was Indiana’s best player in East Lansing on Tuesday, looking like the aggressive, confident player he was during the early days of his college career. Look, saying he was IU’s best player on Tuesday isn’t saying a whole lot, but at this point, any sign of life from Phinisee should be welcomed and celebrated. Count this blog among those rooting for Phinisee to rediscover his confidence before the season expires. Perhaps a return home to Tippecanoe County will help him build on this week’s earlier effort. Over his first two college games at Mackey Arena, Phinisee is 5-for-19 from the field for 15 points, with two assists and two turnovers.

TJD’s bounce-back

For the first time this season, Trayce Jackson-Davis has failed to score in double figures in back-to-back games. The sophomore big is a mere 4-for-17 from the field over his past two outings, scoring 11 of his 19 points in that span at the line. Can he get back to form against the Boilers? In three career games against Purdue, Jackson-Davis is averaging 15.7 points and 5.3 rebounds.

Can Hunter find his stroke?

Jerome Hunter appeared to turn a corner after his two-game benching in early February, providing much-needed secondary scoring. But the long-range shooting has gone dry. Over the course of IU’s current four-game skid, Hunter is merely 2-for-13 from long range. The redshirt sophomore drained a pair of 3-pointers in the first matchup with Purdue.

Game Info / How to Watch

Who? Indiana (12-13, 7-11) at Purdue (17-8, 12-6)

Where? Mackey Arena, West Lafayette, Ind.

When? Saturday, 2 p.m. Eastern

Channel? ESPN | Jason Benetti (p-b-p), Robbie Hummel (analyst)

Radio? IU Radio Network; Sirius 106, XM 196, Internet 958: Don Fischer, Errek Suhr & Joe Smith

Vegas? Purdue -8