The last time IU men’s basketball defeated Purdue, Barack Obama was still president. It’s been 1,789 days.
After seven straight losses to the Boilermakers, the Hoosiers will look to end their losing streak against their in-state rival at 7 p.m. Thursday in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
One advantage IU won’t have in its rivalry game this year is its fans. IU head coach Archie Miller said playing without fans at home is a disadvantage, especially for a game as electric as Purdue.
“I think it will be awfully disappointing not to have fans when we play this type of game,” Miller said. “That means a lot in terms of the energy level that's surrounding it.”
Without the fans, IU’s only option to stop Purdue is on the court.
Miller said the Boilermakers pride themselves defensively, but they’re a good team on both ends of the floor.
Purdue head coach Matt Painter’s team has a balanced, inside-out offensive attack. With junior forward Trevion Williams and 7-foot-4 freshman center Zach Edey, the Boilermakers have really established their frontcourt.
On top of that, they can shoot the ball well from outside.
Purdue guards Sasha Stefanovic, Brandon Newman and Isaiah Thompson can score at all three levels and are each shooting at least 40% from the field. Stefanovic has shot 49.3% from behind the arc.
“The perimeter guys do an unbelievable job of feeding the post but also playing off it,” Miller said.
On the other end of the floor, Miller said he wants his offense to push the ball in transition and be spontaneous. He said IU needs to do an “unbelievable job” of taking care of the ball.
“One of the big reasons why we weren't successful here lately is handling post traps and being able to offensively play and execute and be able to get a quality shot when they're taking things away of our normal look,” Miller said.
Purdue is one of the best teams in the country at not giving up points in the paint due to its size and physicality, Miller said.
“Everything around the rim is challenged,” Miller said. “Everything in the paint, just to be quite honest with you, is very, very hard. And that's what makes them tough to deal with.”
To be efficient on offense, IU will have to play off the double teams, attack the paint and — most importantly — be smart with the basketball. Miller said this game will come down to making open shots and controlling what they can.
Sophomore forward Trayce Jackson-Davis said he knows Purdue will double team him, so he needs to pick and choose his opportunities to attack the paint.
“Just making the right plays, not turning the ball over because that's really what got us last year, especially at home,” Jackson-Davis said.
Last year, IU lost 74-62 to Purdue at home when former head coach Bob Knight made his first appearance in Assembly Hall since he was fired in 2000.
Jackson-Davis said he wants to change the culture of the program and flip the narrative in the series with Purdue. His freshmen teammates are new to the rivalry, and Jackson-Davis doesn’t want that losing tradition to continue.
“The only way to do that is beat them,” Jackson-Davis said. “They've had our numbers the past few years, but we gotta change the culture and change history.”