What to Expect: Purdue

  • 02/14/2014 4:45 pm in

Indiana will look to avoid its first three game losing streak of the season when it travels to West Lafayette on Saturday to meet Purdue at Mackey Arena. The Boilermakers and Hoosiers have the same records: 14-10 overall and 4-7 in the Big Ten.

The game will be broadcast on ESPN at 4 p.m. ET and on the IU radio network:

At this point, the title of our game previews might need a tweak. If we’ve learned anything over the first 11 conference games, it’s that we really have no idea what to expect from this Indiana team. There have been ups and even more downs when you look at the record, but inconsistency has been a constant.

The Hoosiers are clearly at a crossroads in the season. The NCAA tournament is not a discussion point following the losses to Minnesota and Penn State, but getting some positive momentum going into the final stretch of the season is of major importance.

What Indiana needs to avoid is a complete free fall scenario where its young players lose confidence as the losses pile up. Saturday’s game at Purdue is a perfect opportunity not only to beat a bitter rival, but to also reverse the recent trend of road collapses. Indiana has been in all but one of its seven Big Ten losses. It’s time to get over the hump.

PERSONNEL

This isn’t the same Purdue program that Matt Painter built in West Lafayette when Indiana was going through its rebuilding phrase. The Boilermakers are coming off a CBI appearance last season and look to be headed to the NIT at best this season. Players like Lewis Jackson, Robbie Hummel, E’Twaun Moore and JuJuan Johnson are gone and their replacements just haven’t exhibited the same toughness, grit or effectiveness as the group that won 129 games over a five-year span.

The 2013-2014 version of the Boilermakers, much like Indiana, is young and inconsistent. Painter is playing 10 guys in conference games with just one player, senior Terone Johnson, averaging more than 30 minutes per game. Johnson is Purdue’s third leading scorer in league play while his younger brother, sophomore Ronnie Johnson, is the team’s second leading scorer. Terone (38.5 eFG%) has been far less efficient than Ronnie (49.4 eFG%) in Big Ten games and Ronnie is also the Big Ten’s second best distributor with an assist rate of 29.5 percent.

The focal point of the Purdue offense is sophomore big man A.J. Hammons, who is using 29.9 percent of Purdue’s possessions in conference and is scoring a team-high 14 points per game. Hammons is also second in the Big Ten in rebounding at eight per game and his block percentage (10.4) is third in the league. When you look at the season as a whole, his block percentage of 14 is fifth in the country. Hammons has the ability to dominate on the block, which makes the times when he disappears in games even more frustrating for Purdue fans.

Freshman wing Kendall Stephens comes off the bench, but has made a team-high 25 3-pointers in Big Ten play and is shooting 36.9 percent from distance. Another freshman, Basil Smotherman, has started 10 of 11 conference games and has made the most of his limited offensive opportunities by scoring 4.4 points per game on 48.6 percent shooting. He’s also third on the team in rebounding in Big Ten play with 4.3 per game. Also in the rotation are graduate senior Sterling Carter, sophomore Raphael Davis and freshman Bryson Scott. Davis has an effective field goal percentage of 62.1 in Big Ten play, while Carter (40 eFG%) and Scott (26.5 eFG%) ┬áhave been dreadful from the field.

The frontcourt rotation is rounded out by graduate senior Errek Peck, the team’s second leading rebounder and redshirt freshman Jay Simpson.

TEMPO FREE PREVIEW

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Plenty of similarities exist between Indiana and Purdue beyond the lack of experience. Both teams are very good on the offensive boards and solid on the defensive glass. Neither team shoots it well. And both teams, Indiana moreso than Purdue, have turnover issues.

As much as Indiana has struggled offensively, Purdue has been even worse. The Hoosiers are hitting just 44.2 percent of their 2s in league play, while the Boilermakers are shooting just 43 percent on 2s. Purdue also ranks just tenth in free throw rate (FTA/FGA), ninth in 3-point field goal percentage, last in free throw shooting percentage (64.8) and gets more of its shots blocked (13.7%) than any other Big Ten team.

In other words, if you’re looking for a display of offensive efficiency on Saturday on Mackey Arena, you’ve come to the wrong place.

WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO

Here’s what we know about the Hoosiers away from Assembly Hall in the Big Ten: They’re more than capable of building a big lead and then letting it slip away. IU has led in the second half of all four of its conference road losses.

The computers have this game as nearly a pick ’em with Pomeroy favoring Purdue by one and Sagarin predicting the same margin.

Indiana is going into the most hostile environment that it’ll see this season in Mackey Arena, which is loud and full of a strong dislike for anything Hoosiers. The program is also hungry for a win over Indiana after being dominated over the last four games in the series.

Given that the four best players in the game statistically are Ronnie Johnson, A.J. Hammons, Yogi Ferrell and Noah Vonleh, those matchups and how Indiana handles the atmosphere are likely to determine the outcome of this contest. The Hoosiers have had a tumultuous week with the loss at Minnesota, the collapse against Penn State and the distraction of Hanner Mosquera-Perea’s arrest.

But it’s hard to imagine this team not being prepared to play against its chief rival. Sometimes adversity can breed togetherness and that’s what Indiana fans have to hope for come Saturday afternoon.

(Photo credit: Purdue Exponent)

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  • Snookafly

    What to expect: A double digit lead in the first half, and a stunning collapse in the final minutes of the second? Call me psychic.

  • Gregory Spera

    I was just thinking, that after all that has transpired this week, I can’t wait to see ITH try to predict “What to Expect” against Purdue, tomorrow. Good luck with that.

  • Alford Bailey

    I expect the Boilers best shot. Other than that who knows.

  • Alford Bailey

    Double digit leads do not excite me any more.

  • INUnivHoosier

    Maybe that sad loss to PSU lit a fire in their bellies. Maybe I’m too optimistic. I guess we’ll see tomorrow.

    I will be very disappointed if Hammons goes off for 30.

  • HoosierPat

    Blow a halftime lead? Not this team. They smell blood in the water and put the other team away early! (Just a hint of sarcasm)

  • HoosierPat

    I’ve watched Purdue play a few times this season and they are horrible. There is no reason IU should lose this game, despite it being on the road. But who the hell knows with this team. I’m just going to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

  • BigD

    What I expect:
    1. Someone other the Yogi will get hot and quickly get 6 to 8 points and be jerked off the floor to set the bench.
    2. This was going to finally be the only night CTC was going to play Hanner with Noah but now it won’t happen this year.
    3. We will get to find out if anyone came up with an inbounds play to tell the team since last Wednesday.
    4. Our IU weave is going to make Purdue dizzy to the point we will get a several layups.
    5. This will be called irrelevant Game because in the end it won’t help either team make the dance.

  • Hoosier Hall

    I expect Will and Yogi to come out fighting. They need to pull this team together, even if that means dragging their sorry butts to an ugly win.

  • B1G Hoosier

    Next game when we are up by thirty I will just expect a loss

  • JetpackJunky

    What to expect?

    Sheehey to hit 1000 points.

    I’m not sure anything else can be certain.

  • Hoosiers4evr

    Just so frustrated with this season. These kids have so much talent and just can’t seem to put it together. Not sure that it matters much at this point, but I’ll be rooting for them tomorrow as usual.

  • Ole Man

    Hammons will get Noah in foul trouble, just because it’s at Mackey.

  • Alford Bailey

    Irrelevant game? NIT seeding on the line. Don’t wanna have to go to Mackey again.

  • Alford Bailey

    That will probably determine the outcome. Which teams big gets in foul trouble first.

  • Alford Bailey

    I’d use my 15 fouls between DD, Jeff Howard and Jeremy Hollowell on Hammons. If he starts to get hot just beat the heck out of him.

  • N71

    I life long Indiana resident, IU grad (student during 1987 run), Bob Knight evangelist, donator, ticket holder, parent of IU student, that has checked out. Shifting focus to Pacers.

  • Alford Bailey

    The rotation just got a little shorter. If I am Devin Davis I am using this as my chance to show what I can do. Come on DD, step it up.

  • Kwang

    Bring out the goons! Haw!

  • Alford Bailey

    I just can’t get into the NBA, even the Pacers, til about June. But I get it. I may pay a little more attention to my Reds spring training than I usually would.

  • Nicholas Allen Cotner

    If we are going to win another road game this season please let it be this one……..I can’t stand PU

  • Southport65

    What a negative bunch of crap!!! Did your Mother’s never tell u if u can’t say something nice keep still? You guys act like the sky is falling and the world will end soon. What a bunch of fair weather fans you are. This is IU basketball and if you can’t cheer for IU when they play PU then maybe u do need to switch to the Pacers and the NBA. You guys act like you are a better Coaches or players so maybe you should apply for a job. Don’t you know how bad this Coach and team feels after the last game? There is nothing anyone of u could say that would make them feel worse.
    I know how they feel because I coached for many years and had teams that just would not fit together well. The last thing this team needs is a bunch of negative sarcastic fans. They need us behind them more than ever so maybe you could try and pull yourselves together enough to cheer for the University you love against the College you dislike greatly!!

  • MillaRed

    Jurkin? A tryout for 2014-2015 contribution? Why not?

  • MillaRed

    I expect CTC to use all 5 timeouts in the first 30 seconds. Anything to show us he’s making changes.

  • Kyl470

    I expect Jeff Howard to have the game of his life. 10 points, 10 rebounds. In all seriousness I don’t care who plays or who has a good game. I just hope this team can scratch out a win so something positive will happen for them this week.

  • HoosierGrampy

    Who appointed you to be the one to chastise and admonish those who post valid comments and concerns regarding our Hoosiers? Few have said that they would not cheer for the team tomorrow. And just out of curiosity, how do you “know” just exactly how bad CTC felt after the PSU debacle. I personally don’t want him or the team to feel worse–but some positive progress toward minimizing turn overs and a more sensible substitution pattern would be nice to see. I suppose not having to endure watching the Yogi Ferrell version of the “Bracey Wright Dribble-Dribble-Dribble-Jack It Up Show” would be too much to ask or expect. We’ve watched the same sorry-ass plays and hear the same lame excuses repeatedly–it’s gotten old. I think the players fit reasonably well together– but it’s impossible to build upon this team’s actual strengths and unity when 10-12 young men fit into CTC’s normal rotation…and often feature the wrong players on the court at the worst possible time. I venture to say the Hoosier faithful will continue to stand by these young men and support them as best we can. We’ve been there for the players in much worse times…

  • HoosierGrampy

    CTC seems to have forgotten that he’s available…

  • HoosierGrampy

    Maybe he’ll only substitute for the unproductive players or those who get in foul trouble…

  • Bye, don’t let the door hit you in the a$$ on the way out….lol…

  • INUnivHoosier

    I would agree with most of that, but I don’t care if CTC wants to clap up and down the sidelines. Whatever works for him is fine with me. If he needs to pace like a maniac, then pace away.

  • 3AM Burrito

    I agree, Purdue to me is the worst team I have seen in the B1G. Again, who knows if IU can beat them, and I am biased because I hate Purdue, but the team is really bad. Anytime a kid like AJ Hammons is your best player that is a hard team to root for.

  • pcantidote

    Please permanently check out. We don’t need fair weather fans.

  • INUnivHoosier

    Enjoy that. We’ll see you next season, perhaps.

  • MillaRed

    If they are not feeling good about taking us down something is wrong in West Laf.

  • MillaRed

    Can’t see you from that mountain top buddy.

  • 3AM Burrito

    I think Ronnie Johnson will give Yogi some problems with his defense, he is actually probably quicker than Yogi. So while I think Yogi will score some, it will be lower teens and will all be hard earned. We will need Will to be an effective scorer and then someone else will have to step up (Stan/Troy/Gordon) and get to double figures. In general we will have to get some fast break buckets either transition rebounds or turnovers.
    Noah should have a big game, if they try to guard him with Hammons, they have to get Noah some iso facing up. Hammons could not even guard Kaminsky going to the basket so Noah should have his way if he can face up. Probably will have to defend Hammons with Howard or liberal use of double teams since Purdue has no real outside threat, but I think keep Noah off Hammons on defense for much of this game to keep out of foul trouble, especially given our now extreme lack of depth with bigs.
    My mind says IU should win this game, Purdue is just not good at all, but my gut tells me IU should have won the last 4 games and only won 1 of them, and I think this one is once again going to inexplicably slip away. I hope I am wrong, I hate Purdue.

  • SCHoosier

    Guess we’ll find out what the Hoosiers are made of today. After those three second half melt-downs and HMP’s problems..IU has a huge opportunity. Frankly I had them losing this game in my pre-conference prediction of 9-9 in the B-10. I hope these guys show me how dumb I am. This team and staff need something really positive to happen.

  • Southport65

    This is for all of you. You ask how I know things. Basketball Coach for 45+ years. IU Faithful Fan for over 60 years. You can not tell me that over the last few days you have not read some terrible things being said. Some of it by the same fans who commented the opposite after the Michigan game. We all know that this team has been up and down all year and so have the fans and I was just sick of all the negative and Sarcastic comments. Sorry if I offended you. Hopefully they will beat PU today! MillaRed, I can still see you