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Hoosiers and Boilermakers hate each other. Like Blue Devils hate Tar Heels. Like the Saints hate Bill Vinovich. Or like Kyle Shanahan hates logical play calling in the fourth quarter. Went there.

IU and Purdue take physical Big 10 basketball to a whole new level whenever they take the same floor. Both teams are fighting for their NCAA Tournament lives, and, on paper, this game looks more and more like a must-win. The Boilermakers have had recent success against IU in this series. Since 2014, Matt Painter’s squad has dominated with an 8-1 overall record, including a 6-2-1 mark against the spread.

Both teams are devoid of consistent perimeter shooters, so the battle inside will be crucial. Understatement of the decade right there.

The spread isn’t out yet, but based on power ratings adjusted for home court advantage, I would expect Indiana to open as a 1-point favorite, give or take a half-point or two depending on what the Boilers do tonight in Mackey against Iowa. Let’s take a closer look at the factors that will determine the outcome of Saturday’s rivalry in Bloomington.

Limiting Offensive Rebounds

Both units crash the offensive boards with reckless abandon, mostly out of necessity. Purdue gets a second opportunity on 35.3{e5a2c78333cd2b046c434d71e2429f0c16f5e72c19badef2b307d6f8033092f8} of the shots they put up. The Hoosiers aren’t far behind, boasting a rebound rate of 33.9{e5a2c78333cd2b046c434d71e2429f0c16f5e72c19badef2b307d6f8033092f8} on the offensive end. Here’s the difference: IU is top-20 in preventing offensive rebounds, while the Boilermakers rank outside the top 100. The edge here goes to the Hungry Hungry Hoosiers.

Home Court

Assembly Hall will be deafening. And then there’s the well-known struggles of Big Ten road teams. 20-56 straight-up. Easy to say Purdue will have a lot to overcome.

Getting To The Line

Both teams shoot similar percentages from the charity stripe, so it’s quantity over quality. Another category that favors Indiana. The Hoosiers get to the line often, posting a free throw rate of 42.4, good for 11th in the country. Purdue finds itself near the bottom of the list, ranking 332nd out of 353 D-I schools in free throw rate (25.1). In a game that won’t feature many open looks from the field, free throw shooting will be a major factor in deciding this one.

Perimeter Scoring

We’ll keep this short. Make big shots. Simple as that. Purdue does an outstanding job of forcing opponents to take contested three-pointers (they’re converting at an abysmal 28.7{e5a2c78333cd2b046c434d71e2429f0c16f5e72c19badef2b307d6f8033092f8} clip). If ANYONE heats up from downtown on either side, goodnight.

“So Who Should I Bet On?”

This will easily be the lowest Purdue/IU total in the last 10 years. Using pace figures and efficiency on both ends of the floor in my calculation, I’ve projected the over/under to be near 131. I have a hunch the opening total will be set closer to 129.5, perhaps as low as 127.

The way these two teams have been playing in conference, you have to lean towards the under. Indiana will have had a full week to rest, recuperate, and game plan. Sounds peachy, but rust could be a factor, and Purdue is not a squad you want to start off cold against. These teams combined for just 94 points last year in B-Town, and that was with Carsen Edwards, Ryan Cline, Romeo Langford, and Juwan Morgan on the floor. Of course, my pick will depend on the total posted by oddsmakers, so I’ll update this article later in the week once numbers are released.

I would advise against betting on the spread before tip-off. There will be runs made by both teams during the game that should open the door for some solid live betting scenarios. Perhaps a chance to “middle” arises? How convenient. Check back tomorrow for my article on the basics of middling and how you can use the live spread to your advantage.

Final Thoughts

All signs point to this contest coming down to the final 90 seconds or so. When it does, who do you want on your sideline coaching the final few possessions? I’ll take my chances with Matt Painter. Archie Miller’s half court sets against Maryland in the closing minutes were laughable. I’m not confident that Indiana can get a quality look in crunch time against a top tier defense. Purdue’s offensive options are admittedly limited, however, I think Eastern (or Hunter) can create just enough off the dribble to be dangerous in the waning moments.

Players to watch: Trayveon Williams (Purdue), Devonte Green (Indiana)


“The best competition I have is against myself to become better.” – John Wooden