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Indiana vs. Purdue: Men’s basketball mailbag

Hoosiers vs. Boilermakers. You asked, we answer.

Syndication: The Herald-Times Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times / USA TODAY NETWORK

Well, it’s finally time.

Purdue is coming to town on Saturday and you better believe we’re getting all that good #content ready for you to read ahead of the game.

We put out a Tweet not long ago asking for questions, so here are the answers:

Q: Purdue and fouling

It’s true that Purdue doesn’t foul a lot for a team built around a massive 7’4” centerpiece.

Whether you think that’s because of clean basketball, genuinely bad officiating due to referees’ incapability of properly comprehending Zach Edey or apparently a conspiracy between Purdue and the Big Ten to limit foul calls on the Boilermakers is anyone’s guess.

Outside of Edey and the difficulties of properly officiating someone that vast, Purdue doesn’t really have a ton of guys who could foul in large volumes. They don’t really need to. I do think officials should probably pay attention to elbows in the post on Saturday and I’m sure that’ll be a joy to analyze in real time on the bird app and everyone will be completely cool about it.

Q: You thought you had something here

Probably about a year younger than they are now considering Teri Moren got yet another win in her old stomping grounds last year.

Specification is important!

Q: Will Indiana play an up-tempo, guard-heavy offense?

Don’t count on it.

I think the Hoosiers will definitely try to leverage the athleticism of guys like Trayce Jackson-Davis and Malik Reneau against Edey, but I’m not sure Indiana has enough guards in the rotation to feel confident trying something like this.

With history in mind, Indiana will likely retain the same starting lineup it’s been using, which includes Jalen Hood-Schifino and Trey Galloway at guard. After them is Tamar Bates, just one semi-reliable guy to contribute to such a plan. I don’t think Mike Woodson is going to throw C.J. Gunn into the fire either.

There’s also the absence of Jordan Geronimo. Despite his moments, they’d obviously rather he be available than injured. He’d be ideal here.

I can see Indiana speeding the offense up as it’s currently constructed, not much of a lineup change because I don’t think there’s a real possibility there. Expect one of the bigs to be on Zach Edey duty so Jackson-Davis doesn’t get into foul trouble.

Q: What does Ethan Morton do?

He’s averaging around 26 minutes a game but scoring just 4 or so points in that time. Looks weird, but there’s a reason.

He’s not scoring because, frankly, he doesn’t need to. Just find Edey or Fletcher Loyer and let them work. Morton’s out there to defend and can do so against multiple positions. It’s one less guy to worry about when Indiana’s on defense but someone to keep an eye on when the Hoosiers have the ball.

KenPom has one of his player comps as, get this, 2022 Miller Kopp. So there’s that, I guess?

Q: What’s an important matchup (non-Edey v. TJD division)

So I know you said “not Edey,” but I’m also gonna give you two matchups to cancel that out. First, it’ll be Edey vs. whoever Indiana has guarding him to keep Jackson-Davis out of foul trouble.

TJD is pretty good about staying out of foul trouble on his own, but there is no player in all of college basketball quite like Edey and I don’t expect Woodson to play with fire. He had Michael Durr for this job last year, he has to find someone new this year.

Aside from that, Indiana has to get someone not named Jackson-Davis going while limiting every Boilermaker not named Edey on defense if it wants to win. The obvious answer would be Xavier Johnson, but that’s obviously not possible. Instead, it’ll probably be Hood-Schifino or a wildcard like Bates.

Hood-Schifino lacks Johnson’s willingness to drive into the paint and the presence of Edey won’t exactly help that, which could be where Bates comes in. I’d keep an eye on Smith vs. Hood Schifino and Loyer vs. Galloway.

The recipe to beating Purdue likely lies in a big game from Jackson-Davis and Indiana doing what it can against Edey while limiting the rest of the roster. Not letting Smith and Loyer do too much damage is key. Watch those two against JHS and Galloway.