The 200th installment in the bitter rivalry between the Purdue Boilermakers and Indiana Hoosiers takes place on Saturday afternoon, as the two square off in a Big Ten Conference bout at Assembly Hall.
Purdue, which leads the all-time series with Indiana by a 112-87 margin, comes in a game under .500 overall on the season (12-13), and two games below the mark in conference (5-7). The Boilermakers, who were crushed at home by the Hoosiers back on Jan. 30 (97-60) and have lost the last three meetings between the two teams, have just one win in their last five games of this season. The club is coming off a 79-58 loss at Illinois on Wednesday night, dropping it to 3-5 in true road games.
Indiana is the No. 1 team in the land for the second time this season, as the team has logged 22 wins in 25 opportunities, which includes a 10-2 mark in Big Ten play. The Hoosiers are tied with Michigan State atop the conference standings, and they will take on the Spartans this coming Tuesday in East Lansing. IU is 15-1 at home this season, the one loss coming against Wisconsin back on Jan. 15.
With a below average record, it's not surprising to see Purdue ranked in the bottom half of the Big Ten in nearly every major statistical category. The Boilermakers are averaging 64.9 ppg while allowing nearly the same (64.3 ppg), and the team boasts only two double-digit scorers in Terone Johnson (13.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg) and A.J. Hammons (11.2 ppg, 6.7 rpg). Two others, Ronnie Johnson (9.8 ppg, 3.8 apg) and D.J. Byrd (9.5 ppg) are close to joining the ranks, and it was Terone Johnson who scored a game-high-tying 18 points to pace the Boilermakers in their recent loss to Illinois. Hammons and Byrd chipped in with 10 points apiece, but the team as a whole shot just 38.2 percent from the field while committing 17 turnovers. A 44-34 rebounding deficit certainly didn't help matters.
Indiana averages a Big Ten-best 82.9 ppg, which actually ranks it second in the nation. The Hoosiers also lead the conference in field goal percentage (.500), 3-point field goal percentage (.427), and field goal percentage defense (.381). The team boasts four double-digit scorers, with All-America candidate Cody Zeller leading the way with 16.5 ppg, and he adds 8.2 rpg, 32 blocks and 28 steals to his impressive stat line. Victor Oladipo (14.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg), Christian Watford (13.2 ppg, 6.9 rpg) and Jordan Hulls (10.7 ppg, 3.2 apg) add significant punch to the starting five, while sixth-man Will Sheehy (9.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg) in counted on to contribute on most night. Zeller poured in 16 points, Watford had a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Oladipo tallied 13 points and eight boards, all of which were used to help the Hoosiers whip the Nebraska Cornhuskers earlier this week by 29 points. The Huskers were held to 36.2 percent field goal efficiency, and Indiana hit 8-of-16 3-point attempts, easily won the rebounding battle (36-24), and forced 15 turnovers.