Indiana (18-2, 6-1) can't afford to over look Purdue (11-9, 4-3). This is a classic trap game sandwiched between two huge match-ups. IU will host No. 1 Michigan on Saturday, but for today all the focus in on the Boilermakers who are sixth in the Big Ten.
IU in 1-6 at Mackey Arena over the past seven seasons. Most of that is due to a) IU recovering from the Kelvin Sampson-era and b) Purdue having multiple future NBA players. Last season IU swept the two game series, winning 78-61 at Purdue and then 85-74 at home.
Purdue's team is very different now, and everything suggests that IU should blow the Boilermakers out. But since this is a rivalry game, and Matt Painter is a good coach, this could be a much closer game. Purdue is ranked 63rd in the Pomeroy Ratings with the 138th offense and 38 defense.
Let's look at some statistics.
Purdue is in the bottom third of the Big Ten in scoring and defense. The Boilermakers are scoring 66 points per game and holding opponents to 61.5 points per game (just a 4.5 point scoring margin). IU is leading the Big Ten in scoring with 83 points per game and holding opponents to 60.5 points a game.
- Terone Johnson vs Victor Oladipo. It's more than likely that Oladipo will be on Johnson, Purdue's leading scorer with 13.5 points per game. If this is the case, then Johnson will be in for a long day. Oladipo is playing defense on a different level right now and Johnson simply doesn't stack up well against Oladipo. Oladipo is 6-5 and 214-pounds where as Johnson is 6-2 and just under 200-pounds.
- Ronnie Johnson vs Yogi Ferrell. The two freshmen point guards will go head-to-head for the first time since…last year in high school. Ferrell (Park Tudor) always seemed to get the better of Johnson (North Central) when the teams played each other. Johnson appears to be having a little bit better season but Ferrell has really started to come alive since the Big Ten season began.
- AJ Hammons vs Cody Zeller. This will depend more on if Zeller shows up or not, but Hammons could prove to be a problem. Zeller gives up 40-pounds to the freshman Hammons. Zeller, as we have stated before, has a problem with more physical defenders. However, the size difference will mean that Zeller is able to get a better first step against Hammons and will be able to use his speed to get to the rim. Lately, the offense hasn't exactly flowed through Zeller but this might be a good chance to assert his dominance and find his game before IU faces Michigan.
The biggest problem for IU should be: are they looking ahead or can they stay focused in the moment? Tom Crean has done a good job keeping this team focused, especially after the two losses.
Make no mistake, IU should win this game by double digits. There is nothing to suggest that Purdue can keep up with the Hoosiers on offense. If IU gets out and runs, then this game will be over before halftime.
Don't forget to follow us on twitter @hoosiers101 we will be live tweeting during the game.
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