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The Rivalry: Three things to know about Purdue men’s basketball

The Hoosiers welcome the Boilermakers to Assembly Hall on Tuesday.g

Illinois v Purdue Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Indiana men’s basketball is set to host rival Purdue on Tuesday night at Assembly Hall in Bloomington for the biggest home game of the conference slate.

It’s not quite last year, when the two finished near the top of the conference, with Indiana replacing its lineup and Purdue returning almost the entirety of last year’s squad with a few additions.

Here’s three things to know about the Boilers:

Zach Edey

Purdue v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

The most important thing to know about Edey is that he’s going to get his. There’s no tried and true method for stopping him from getting the ball into the hoop.

He’s every bit as dominant this year and looks poised to cruise to a second straight sweep of all the National Player of the Year awards. His numbers are about the same as they were last year, but you can’t look to that for improvement.

Watching the games, he looks more agile on the defensive end. Not a huge difference but he’s gotten legitimately better and forced Ace Baldwin to pass in 1 on 1 coverage in space against Penn State just the other day.

Indiana could go for a similar gameplan it did two years ago when Michael Durr came off the bench to match up with his size, only this time with a guy like Payton Sparks. There’s not a defender that’ll slow him down if he can get the ball in the paint.

The plan there is to pressure Purdue’s guards to keep them from getting a clean pass off to him but with the Boilers’ improved shooting numbers that’s a taller task than it was last year.

The Backcourt

Texas Southern v Purdue Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

This is worthy of its own section because Purdue has a wealth of different tools available from its guards and wings.

Braden Smith is an All-Big Ten caliber player in his second year after a stellar freshman run. He gets the ball where it needs to go and runs Painter’s offense as well as anyone who’s worn the old gold and black.

If Painter leaves him in long enough during games he’s the kind of guy who can get a triple double and almost did once. He’s an exceptional rebounder especially for his size and is more than capable of scoring the ball himself. His shooting percentage of 48.2% from deep has gone a long way in boosting the Boilers’ all-around shooting.

Fletcher Loyer has gone off a few times to give Purdue another reliable scoring option and can’t be left alone on the arc. He’s been able to create a bit more for himself and drive to the rim this year too.

One thing to watch for: He spends a considerable amount of time at the three where he may find himself matched up with Mackenzie Mgbako, who is significantly bigger. A guy like Morton or Camden Heide will probably earn that matchup.

Lance Jones gives Purdue another wrinkle they didn’t have last year. He can put a considerable amount of heat on the ball on the defensive end of the court and is deadly in the fastbreak.

Woodson vs. Painter

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 04 Purdue at Indiana Photo by Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

One way or another, Mike Woodson currently owns a 3-1 record against Matt Painter as Indiana’s head coach.

The Hoosiers beat the Boilers on a 3-pointer from Rob Phinisee in Assembly Hall in 2022, fell after a back and fourth game later that year, controlled the home matchup in 2023 and watched Jalen Hood-Schifino bury Purdue with midrange jumpers in Mackey Arena.

This year is gonna be different because only one starter from last year’s team returned, Trey Galloway. Otherwise, it’s an all new ballgame. coach