What to Expect: Purdue

  • 02/08/2017 12:24 pm in

Following Sunday’s 65-60 loss at Wisconsin, Indiana returns to Bloomington on Thursday night for a matchup with rival Purdue. The Boilermakers are 19-5 overall, 8-3 in the Big Ten and No. 16 in the latest Associated Press top 25 poll.

The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. ET with Dave O’Brien and Dick Vitale on the call:

The stakes for Indiana going into Thursday’s game against Purdue couldn’t be higher. The Hoosiers are clinging to their NCAA tournament hopes and another home loss would be devastating. Rivalry aside, Indiana just needs a win.

This fact is not lost on Purdue, which knows that a win in Bloomington not only helps keep pace in the Big Ten race, but also puts the Hoosiers in serious jeopardy of missing out on Selection Sunday.

There’s always great theater when two of the Big Ten’s most storied programs meet, but Thursday’s game could be season defining for the Hoosiers.


This could be the year that Purdue finally breaks its NCAA tournament losing streak. Since falling to Kansas in the second round of the 2012 NCAA tournament, Matt Painter’s program is 0-2 in March Madness. The other two seasons in that span, Purdue played in the 2013 CBI and then missed postseason play completely in 2014.

What’s different about this Purdue team? It might be Painter’s best offense yet in West Lafayette.

The frontcourt is anchored by sophomore forward Caleb Swanigan, a legitimate national player of the year candidate and the frontrunner for Big Ten player of the year. Swanigan currently ranks second in Ken Pomeroy’s national player of the year rankings.

Swanigan was the Big Ten’s best defensive rebounder last season, but has taken his work on the glass to another level in his second season. His defensive rebounding percentage in league play is 33.5 percent. He’s got 20 double-doubles in 24 games. Swanigan has also added a 3-point shot to his arsenal and is making 50 percent from deep this season.

Junior forward Vincent Edwards starts alongside Swanigan at the four and is quietly having a solid season. Edwards is third on the team in scoring at 11.3 points per game and has the 12th best offensive rating in the Big Ten in league play, according to Ken Pomeroy’s stats. Edwards is a very good free throw shooter (83 percent) and is hitting close to 45 percent of  his 3s this season.

Junior center Isaac Haas comes off the bench and is Purdue’s second leading scorer at 13.1 points in 20.8 minutes per game. At 7-foot-2 and 290 pounds, Haas is a massive presence. He’s difficult to stop when he catches it close to the basket. He’s making close to 60 percent of his 2s this season.

The rest of Purdue’s eight-man rotation consists of starters Carsen Edwards, P.J. Thompson and Dakota Mathias and backups Spike Albrecht and Ryan Cline. Each of them besides Albrecht can consistently knock down 3-pointers, which makes this Purdue team difficult to cover.

Mathias shoots 49.5 percent on 3s, Thompson is 42.7 percent, Cline is 44.7 percent and Edwards is 33.7 percent. If help is given to the post, Purdue typically does a solid job of finding open shooters and making teams pay.

Thompson is a very low usage offensive player, but does a good job finishing the opportunities he does get. He also averages less than a turnover per game. Edwards is using 24.5 percent of possessions while on the floor in Big Ten play and has a sub-100 offensive rating. If Indiana is going to help off of someone, he’s probably the best option.

Mathias is second on the team at 30.8 minutes per game and is fifth in scoring at 10.3 points per game.


Purdue is a very good defensive team because it guards the 3-point line well and doesn’t allow teams to offensive rebounding. The Boilermakers are allowing Big Ten opponents to make just 32.6 percent of their 3s and are the league’s best defensive rebounding team.

Those numbers are problematic for Indiana because when the Hoosiers play well offensively, it typically has a lot to do with offensive rebounding and hot shooting.

So what does Indiana need to do to win? Play much better defensively than it has and take care of the ball. Purdue is last in conference play in defensive turnover percentage. If Indiana turns it over, those mistakes are likely to be self inflicted. Purdue also doesn’t block a lot of shots, so finishing at the rim is another key.

At 1.12 points per possession, Purdue is the Big Ten’s second best offense behind Michigan. Regardless of the status of James Blackmon Jr., it seems unlikely that Indiana is going to win by getting into a shootout with Purdue. The Hoosiers have to get stops. With the Big Ten’s worst defense, Indiana locking down a top offensive team is something we haven’t seen since the North Carolina game in late November.


The Pomeroy prediction is Purdue by 3 with a 40 percent chance of a win for Indiana. Sagarin likes Purdue by 2.

Swanigan has been a consistent double-double machine all season, so Indiana is going to need to prevent those around him from big games if the Hoosiers hope to emerge victorious.

Taking care of the ball is equally important as both Iowa and Nebraska, teams who beat Purdue at home in Big Ten play, both committed 10 or fewer turnovers. Both of those teams also did work on the offensive glass as the Huskers rebounded nearly 39 percent of their misses against Purdue and the Hawkeeys grabbed 30 percent.

With their NCAA tournament resume in desperate need of a win, Thursday’s game is the beginning of an important week for Indiana. A pair of wins would put the Hoosiers solidly in the field heading into a stretch of four of five on the road to finish league play. A pair of losses could officially send the season into a tailspin.

(Photo credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America)

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  • IdahoHoosier

    I agree. Not picking on anyone in particular, but some fans hang onto the “glory days”, which were a heck of a long time ago. Time to forge a new identity. One can still celebrate the past while pushing for innovation.

  • BannerOrBust

    I’m optimistic about this game. Something is telling me this game is going to be a game changer.

  • pcantidote

    The key with Haas is to keep him from getting too low, being physical with him, and forcing him left. Maryland did and really nice job of that and had him flustered. Easier said than done. Gonna need a big night from DD.

  • IdahoHoosier

    Agreed. Haas is huge but not great at using his mass advantage. Keep him out of dunking range and block him out!

  • pcantidote

    Perhaps, but that ignores the larger point which is that merely making the tourney is not real exciting. You know, banner or bust.

  • iugradmark

    I am not really arguing for an offensive system but rather pointing out that most years, we are not going to be that good on turnovers and our defense is usually going to be average or below (this year way below). Since the turnovers and defense are going to be a problem in years when we don’t have a Yogi or Z type player, we have to be really great on offense to overcome what we are giving up. I disagree on the league playing faster. The teams that tend to be near the top over the past 10 years may play somewhat faster in some years (e.g. Wisky a few years back) but that is not the norm. Wisky is about 130th in the nation in points per game yet they will likely win the Big again this year due to defense and low turnover rates. I am not saying we have to play like t hem, but they are more successful over the past decade than us by playing a more deliberate style.

  • pbhuff

    Haas doesn’t play all that much, he’s only averaging about 17-18 minutes a game in conference games

  • IULore

    Wisky’s style is not the reason they are successful. If anything, it hurts them in the NCAAs when they don’t have refs on their side. The best team they fielded was top 10 in offense.

  • BannerOrBust

    I know bud, you’re preaching to the Choir.

  • Bankshot

    I guess you haven’t been paying attention. The badgers have multiple rose bowl wins and final fours in the last decade. They have great coaches and a great A.D. I.U has …well …uh…nevermind….??!!

  • Piker

    Win tonight or win the Big Ten conference tourney (ok maybe that is a stretch).

  • iugradmark

    I guess we will have to disagree on this one. I think their style is directly related to their ability to take less recruited players and compete for conference titles and tournament appearances. If only we could be so cursed these past ten years.

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    Certainly a tough assignment. DD is more athletic, but if Haas gets too low, there’s nothing you can do. Give him his two and run down the court.

  • IdahoHoosier

    Hard to argue with results. In the past 17 tournaments (since 2000) Wisconsin has been in all of them, and made it to Sweet 16 or better 9 times. During that span, IU has been in 11 and made Sweet 16 or better (better only the one time in ’02) 4 times.
    The irony in people calling for Crean’s head now is that the ONLY time IU has made it to the Sweet 16 (or better) with consistency was recently, under Crean (’12, ’13, ’16)! You have to go back to 1994 to catch the tail end of the last time IU was consistently doing well in the Big Dance. My point being Crean is the first guy to actually make IU somewhat successful (since 1994 arguably) but people are still dissatisfied! Interesting fan base we have at times.

  • Bankshot

    No rant son, Just facts!!!!

  • iugradmark

    I hear you. For me, it is the swings in the program. I understand we have major injury issues this now but we were stumbling some before the bulk of the injuries. It is hard to watch us drop games at home to Nebraska or to get beat by FW and there is a pretty high probability we miss the tournament this year. I am struggling with us not being a top 5 Big program every year and being the 4th best program in the state this year. Our university is willing to pay for coaches, recruiting, facilities and we should have access to top talent in our home state. Trying to understand how that adds up to where we are.

  • vicbert caladipo

    I likie your LOL….it was your overuse of that phrase that made me fall for you…now I can’t get up

  • vicbert caladipo

    Not grooming a successor??….cuz he didn’t want a successor. IU without BK(in his mind) isn’t IU and no one is allowed to coach IU unless they repeatedly talked about how great he was. I was a bit argued the other day about all coaches having egos and no ego was bigger than BK. They’d be wheeling him out when he was 90 if he had his way.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Resorting to clichés Cal?? You’re better than that. Sorry buddy, I couldn’t resist ; )

  • vicbert caladipo

    I watched the 3 games Stinky lost and I noticed that lil pesky guards fronting Haas give him fits. Many times I see the little guy slap the ball before he gets his hands up. I think JN could be that guy cuz he’s not only pesky but probably guarding the guy that shoots the worst(PJ T.) Haas can be rattled if he has to keep an eye behind him. If I was CTC I’d be teaching the flop and the use of a quick handed guard to attack him from angles…Haas rarely passes out so I would only worry about the shooters when Swanny has the ball down low.

  • vicbert caladipo

    I would seriously all week teach these kids to flop. Grab a few Lebum James videos(i’m sure his buddy D. Wade has plenty to loan him) and master the art of flopping. If we can get either or both bigmen out of the game for extended minutes with foul trouble we have a great chance.. Either giant even breathes on you go down like you were shot ala L. James style. We’ll see if the poster who claimed ref calls even out at AH. I don’t believe it but it’s worth a try.

  • IULore

    I agree 100%.

  • IULore

    It’s like I’ve said before here. If you are a player in that mold, you aren’t going to UK, UNC, Duke, IU, MSU, AZ, UCLA, KU, or anywhere like that. You are going to Wisky, Butler, Creighton, or some similar school. Would IU do well with some of those guys? Yeah, I’d love a few, and Crean has used them well in the past when he gets them (think Beilfield) but they are going where they get to play in a system that is built for their niche.

  • IULore

    Haha, defensive much?

  • IULore

    Oh yeah, your that dingus I was explaining facts to the other day… 😉

  • IULore

    Yeah, I hope so. This would be a huge win.

  • IdahoHoosier

    Ideally IU will get to the point where they are landing top talent in our state and every other state too! I’m not totally against a regime change. The fact is however, that in roughly the past 25 years, Crean’s tenure (specifically 2012 to the present) has produced the most consistent, and positive tournament results. IU can still improve and should strive for improvement, and I support whatever form that takes. But let’s put things in perspective and recognize that not only are things not that bad, they are actually better than they have been in a quarter century!

  • Bankshot

    Just like the ITH sheeple
    Can’t give an intelligent response to facts

  • Ole Man

    And yet you still hypocritically trolled me for using a common PUke reference among IU fans.
    You may quote Socrates, but you sure don’t understand him.
    Your first comment to me was a personal attack upon me.
    Makes you the slanderer. Makes you the loser.
    BTW, again with the irony since you were a self-anointed moderator.
    You’d be funny if you weren’t so pathetic.

  • Another winnable game. They play like they did in Wisconsin and score the basket at a better pace, and they pull this one out.

  • SidelineSportsNetwork

    If Indiana scores more points, they will win.
    -John Madden

  • vicbert caladipo

    He still takes a back seat to the super TROLL. Jethro. He can’t even read.

  • vicbert caladipo

    I didn’t overuse Aroldis Chapman
    -Joe Madden