sports   |   men's basketball

Three things to know before IU men’s basketball plays Purdue


Sophomore forward Justin Smith makes a layup against Purdue on Jan. 19 at Mackey Arena. IU will face Purdue at home Feb. 19.  Anna Tiplick

Since their last meeting on the basketball court Jan. 19, a lot of things have gone right for Purdue and virtually nothing has been a positive for IU.

Purdue claimed a 70-55 win on that snowy January day in West Lafayette, Indiana, and has gone on to post a 6-1 record between then and now. That includes a double-digit home win against then-No. 6 Michigan State and triumphs against two teams, Ohio State and Nebraska, that have already won in Bloomington this season.

IU has posted an opposite 1-6 record during the same stretch, featuring a pair of three-game losing streaks with an unlikely win at Michigan State sandwiched in between.

Before the Hoosiers and Boilermakers play their final regular season game against one another, here are three things to know.

1. The earlier meeting between IU and Purdue this season represented IU’s struggles in conference play.

The basic, if overly simplistic, pattern of IU’s 2-10 record in 2019 has been poor outside shooting coupled with allowing opponents to race out to early leads.

That Jan. 19 game between IU and Purdue featured both of these elements.

IU missed 16 of its 20 3-point attempts in the loss, and four different Hoosiers missed three or more 3-point attempts. Additionally, Purdue led IU 8-2 at the under-16 media timeout and had a nine-point lead not even five minutes into the game.

Those two problems have plagued IU, largely regardless of opponent, throughout the past two months and Saturday’s blowout loss at Minnesota was no different.

The Hoosiers went a woeful 2 of 17 from behind the arc against the Golden Gophers, and despite the starting the game with juniors guard Devonte Green and forward De’Ron Davis inserted into the starting lineup, the Hoosiers were down by 10 points less than eight minutes into the game.

“You’ve seen our team sort of play in spurts the way that you want them to play,” IU Head Coach Archie Miller said last Friday. “You’re trying to be able to sustain more of that for longer stretches.”

2.  Carsen Edwards remains the engine of Purdue’s offense.

Just as IU’s inability to make jump shots and start games well continued after January's game at Mackey Arena, so has Purdue junior guard Carsen Edwards’ ability to score a lot of points.

After his 20-point output against IU, Edwards has averaged 24 points per game. This includes three games scoring 25 points or more, most notably a 38-point performance during an overtime win at Penn State.

This juxtaposes what IU has gotten in recent games from its most prolific scorer, freshman guard Romeo Langford. He scored only four points in the loss at Purdue, his lowest scoring total of the season and has failed to be an assertive offensive presence for IU.

Langford attempted just six shots during Saturday’s loss at Minnesota, and his usage percentage during the game, which measures the percentage of team plays used by a player, was 14.62 percent. This ranked seventh on the IU team behind the likes of redshirt senior forward Evan Fitzner and junior guard Devonte Green.

3. IU is looking to break a three-year winless drought against Purdue.

IU’s last win against Purdue in men’s basketball came Feb. 20, 2016, during Tom Crean’s penultimate season as IU head coach. Following that 77-73 IU home win, it’s been all Purdue in this rivalry.

The four straight Boilermaker wins over the past three seasons have come by an average of almost 10 points. 

Dating back to the 2013-14 season, IU is just 1-7 against Purdue.

Miller is 0-2 thus far against Purdue, but Tuesday marks his third chance, although perhaps the most unlikely, to score a win against his school’s biggest rival.

IU and Purdue are scheduled to tipoff at 7 p.m. Tuesday night in Bloomington, with the game set to be broadcast on ESPN2.

Like what you're reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.

More in Sports

Comments powered by Disqus