What to expect: Purdue

  • 01/27/2018 2:55 pm in

Indiana returns to Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall for a Sunday afternoon matchup with the nation’s hottest team, Purdue. The Boilermakers have won 16 in a row and are in the driver’s seat for a second consecutive outright Big Ten regular season title.

Sunday’s matchup will be broadcast at 3:30 p.m. ET on Fox with Tim Brando, Jim Jackson and Lisa Byington on the call:

Four years ago, the Purdue program appeared to moving in the wrong direction. The Boilermakers were in the midst of their second straight losing season and things got ugly down the stretch as Purdue lost its final seven games to close out the 2013-14 season.

Matt Painter had gotten away from recruiting the type of player that fit his style of play and Boilermaker fans had to question if a turnaround was coming. Fast forward to today and Purdue is in pole position for a second straight outright Big Ten regular season title.

Painter’s 2014 recruiting class – nationally unheralded at the time – is a major reason why. All five recruits in that class are still in West Lafayette and four of them – Isaac Haas, Dakota Mathias, Vincent Edwards and P.J. Thompson – have made major impacts on the program.

In a lot of ways, what Painter accomplished with that 2014 class is something Tom Crean never did in Bloomington. Indiana had some great recruiting classes under Crean, but players never stuck around long enough to develop the consistency needed to win at a high level year in and out. With his 2014 class, Painter got his mojo back and now Purdue has been the best team in the Big Ten for two straight years.


It’s not often that you see a program get better after losing the conference player of the year, but Purdue has accomplished just that. Caleb Swanigan left after his sophomore season and was the 26th pick in last June’s NBA draft.

But with all four members of the 2014 class back for their senior campaigns and an offseason leap by sophomore Carsen Edwards, the Boilermakers are a legitimate Final Four contender.

Purdue has as balanced of an offense that you’ll find with four players averaging in double figures. Edwards, a 6-foot-1 guard, is the team’s leading scorer at 17 points per game. He’s shooting an efficient 40.6 percent on 3s and would be a lock for first team All-Big Ten honors if the season ended today.

He’s joined in the backcourt by Thompson, a senior point guard who is shooting even better from behind the 3-point line (51.6 percent) and makes winning plays. A member of the Spiece Indy Heat team in 2014 that also featured Trevon Bluiett, Trey Lyles, JaQuan Lyle and James Blackmon Jr., Thompson was unheralded coming out of Brebeuf but has put together a tremendous four-year career.

Dakota Mathias, another senior, starts on the wing and is another elite 3-point shooter who is a great defender. Mathias is shooting 45.6 percent on 3s and has the best assist rate on the team at 24.2 percent.

Junior Ryan Cline, a Carmel product, comes off the bench and makes 41.3 percent of his shots from deep. Freshman guard Nojel Eastern is also in the rotation and the former top 100 recruit should see his role grow substantially next season.

Purdue’s frontcourt is anchored by seniors Vincent Edwards and Isaac Haas. Edwards is the Big Ten’s best 3-point shooter in league play at 54.1 percent and his 15.6 points per game are second on the team. Haas is impossible to guard because of his size (7-foot-2, 290 pounds) and ability to finish. He’s shooting 62.7 percent from the field and 77.2 percent from the free throw line on 127 attempts.

Freshman Matt Haarms, who is 7-foot-3, comes off the bench and is an elite shot blocker. Haarms, who is from Amsterdam, is seventh nationally in block percentage (15) and is making 65.4 percent of his 2s.


Purdue is elite on both ends of the floor and it’s no stretch to say Indiana will have to play its best game of the season to win.

The Boilermakers are scoring a Big Ten best 1.21 points per possession in league play. Purdue’s 3-point field goal percentage is 47.9 in conference play and it broke the league record for 3-pointers made in a game with 20 at Iowa back on Jan. 20.

The only areas where Purdue hasn’t been well above average in league play is on the offensive glass and in getting to the free throw line. But it hasn’t mattered as Purdue has the size to score in the paint and shooters to make opponents pay from the perimeter.


Pomeroy likes Purdue by 13 with just a 13 percent chance for an IU victory. Sagarin likes Purdue by 11.5 and the Vegas line opened with Purdue as an 11-point favorite.

The atmosphere should be electric for this game, but Purdue is experienced and won’t be rattled even if Indiana has a strong start. The Hoosiers are going to need a strong shooting game from the perimeter to pull off the upset and it would also help if Haarms or Haas got into foul trouble.

After drubbing Purdue twice back in the 2012-2013 season, the Hoosiers are just 1-5 against the Boilermakers over their last six meetings.

(Photo credit: Getty Images)

Filed to:

  • Hoosier Hall

    Hoosiers by 5. #boilerdown

  • inCMitrust

    Well it sounds like none of the so called prognosticators gives IU the slightest chance, so obviously we do. A close game decided in the last couple of minutes is what I expect.

  • SCHoosier

    What’s the worst that could happen? OK….that’s a bad question. Go Hoosiers.

  • Sandra Wilson

    This is a perfect setup for IU to stay close. Purdue is coming off a big home game in which they had to really exert to win. IU has an extra day of rest and Purdue can’t expect IU to be a real challenge. The coaches know they could be, but players are hard to convince. If that weren’t enough, OSU lost, taking a little pressure off of them. If Purdue has no trouble in this game, I’d say they might be as good as everyone thinks they are. If I’m Painter, I’d go inside constantly. He has in the past and I can’t imagine he won’t tomorrow. All they need to do is get JM in foul trouble and there really would be no hope for the Hoosiers.

  • Rjspa

    Yeah, but Painter has another 7 footer to throw at us

  • Dale Cosby

    Perhaps because the prognosticators have seen both teams play. The fact that it is in Assembly Hall should help IU but Purdue has already gone to Minnesota and Iowa and blew those teams out of the gym.

  • Marek Wojciech ?ugowski Lugows

    Expect a historic beatdown. Purdue is playing to establish a new record winning streak in school history and it is Bloomington. However, should a game ensue that lacks a wilting IU in the second half (with unmade free throws and missed three pointers galore), I will be delighted.

  • HoustonHoosier82

    But can we make free throws?

  • I hope I’m wrong, but I’d put money on Purdue -11

  • David Will

    How did home court work for IU against ISU and “mighty” IUPUI Ft Wayne?LOL

  • David Will

    Pull your head out Hoosier.

  • JethroTroll

    Purdue is the type of team to really expose IU’s defense, not that they haven’t exposed others of course. IU’s defense doesn’t cover the weak side very well, and will have a particularly tough time as Purdue reverses the ball to their shooters stationed on the weak side. And Haas only exacerbates the problem, forcing the Hoosiers to decide between double teaming him or staying with their shooters. Since you can’t stop both, personally I wouldn’t double team the post, especially from the weak side. If you can make Haas catch the ball outside the lane, you can pick your moments with strong side help that can recover quickly with post digs and double teams, possibly forcing him into some mistakes. Lastly, hitting the defensive glass is going to be most crucial, and may just decide this game.

    Offensively, the team has to continue to play thru Morgan, even if Haas is on him (which i expect). Morgan is still good enough to get his against Haas, and he may just rack up some fouls on him in the process. Additionally, getting the ball in the paint creates opportunities, and IU has to move enough to exploit those with cuts, screens and finding open spots around the perimeter. And most importantly, they have to hit the open 3’s they generate. You know IU’s offense is in for a long night when you see them early being forced to repeatedly take contested shots late in the shot clock.

    IU can win this game. This is the type of game they usually do win. But, some things are gonna have to go their way. Home cooking couldn’t hurt either. The line’s been hovering around 11, and that seems too high given it’s in Bloomington and a rivalry game. I’m calling IU in another close, one possession game. IU 72-69

  • JethroTroll

    I’m assuming you’re a Purdue homer. You’ve got a good team this year. Can you act like that’s happened before? Or is that too much to ask?

  • Lance76

    Great observations. Totally agree with no double on Haas—–the 3s will kill us quicker than the 2s. This game plan from Archie will be interesting to watch. We are getting to where we need to be as a ball team. We all need to be patient.

  • bfdm

    and we all know how poorly crean’s offense executed, am i right?? lolz..

  • vicbert caladipo

    so you can insert yours….go play with your train set snowflake

  • sarge

    Sad. Even on a good year you can’t stay off IU fan boards.

  • sarge

    I would like to see a 3/4 press to speed them up and take them out of their offense. They are methodical, and play inside out. If we hurry them up and they get deep in the shot clock forcing up bad looks we could be in business.

  • sarge

    They are the best team in the country IMO, but they are cursed by their fan base.

  • sarge

    I just took a Purdue and wiped my boilermaker.

  • JethroTroll

    We don’t have the type of athletes to consistently play that style well, nor the depth.

  • sarge

    It doesn’t take athletes to press, you just have to know what you are doing. It’s not meant to force turnovers or gamble, just to work time off the clock to force poor shot selection.

  • JethroTroll

    I disagree. You need athletes and length to cover the ground and recover (not a strength of this team) while pressing. Plus, i think that would give Carsen Edwards more opportunities to make plays, and he’s going to be tough enough to stop as it is. Purdue is also an experienced team. I think IU’s best bet is to play em straight up, mix in some schemes and hope for the best. It’s not going to be easy whatever they try to do.

  • sarge

    You don’t understand, keep them in front and don’t gamble. Once again, not trying to force turnovers or pace, just taking time off to get them deep in the clock. You don’t need athletes for that. Our size disadvantage has to be in our favor in some phase of the game. It’s obvious that if we don’t throw something different at them they will make us pay like every other team they have faced.

  • JethroTroll

    I do understand, i just don’t agree with it. You’re proposing a style of play that doesn’t suit this team’s personnel. IU can win this game, but they’re going to have to play well. Very well.

  • sarge

    I think it suits our personal against Purdue’s. We can definitely win this game.

  • ZombieWoof

    I would add a few more “very wells”.


    Top 3 questions:
    Will IU hit 3’s?
    Will they get to the line and hit free throws?
    Will our bigs stay out of foul trouble?

  • steelhoosier

    I think that we are going to have to institute the pack mule defense. Go IU


    Sorry, Sarge is right here. At the D1 level it’s about matchups, and coaches implement systems they think will gave them the best advantage. They train the guys to implement it, regardless of “athletic depth”. Sarge makes an excellent observation about matching Purdue’s offensive setup. B10 teams give them all the time in the world to feed the ball and get bigs into position.

  • JethroTroll

    It makes no sense to ask guys to do things they’re incapable of, which you even agreed that were not athletic enough nor deep enough to press. And if the game plan for the upset is to provide ‘token pressure’, then IU’s really in trouble.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Run the hell outta Haas and tire him out….same for Haarms
    Officiating has to go our way…..fall down like you’ve been shot everytime Haas touches you

    They are due for a cold shooting day…that has to happen

    We need timely 3’s whenever they make a run

    That should do it and TG it’s not in cracky……don’t feel like listening to dumb peeyoo fans

  • Ms hoosier

    Anyone know if any instate recruits will be there?