Indiana was one of the top teams in the country through the first two months of the season, but the Hoosiers have come back to Earth since the start of conference play, logging a 5-6 mark against their Big Ten brethren. Still, at 17-6 overall, coach Tom Crean's club has enjoyed a solid season, and one that would be deemed even better if it can win tonight. IU is coming off a 68-56 loss at Michigan, which dropped its record in true road games this year to 3-5.
Purdue is a solid 15-7 on the season, and the team has won five of its first nine Big Ten bouts. The Boilermakers are 10-2 at home in 2011-12, and they will try to earn a little redemption following a 66-64 setback to visiting Michigan in their last game in front of the PU faithful. Coach Matt Painter's squad picked up a 58-56 win at Northwestern earlier this week for just its third win in the new year.
Purdue leads the all-time series with Indiana, 112-84, and the Boilermakers have won the last five meetings. It is their longest winning streak over the Hoosiers since capturing seven in a row from 1968-72.
Jordan Hulls drained four three-pointers in scoring 18 points, and Cody Zeller logged a double-double consisting of 11 points and 12 rebounds, but those efforts went for naught as Indiana dropped an eight-point decision to Michigan on Wednesday night. The Hoosiers shot 44.7 percent from the field, compared to 47.8 percent by the Wolverines, and the visitors were guilty of 14 turnovers while also suffering a 15-9 deficit in points from the foul line. UM outscored IU in the paint (24-18) and off turnovers (17-6), and the Maize and Blue had three players finish in double figures as the home team dropped nine three- pointers in the game. Zeller (15.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 32 blocked shots) continues to pace the club in scoring, rebounding and blocks, while Christian Watford (12.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg), Hulls (12.2 ppg, 3.3 apg) and Victor Oladipo (10.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg) join him as members of Indiana's double-digit scorers' club. The team as a whole is putting up 78.5 ppg in hitting 49.9 percent of its total shots, which includes a 43.5 percent showing from three-point range, while at the same time permitting 65.9 ppg on typical shooting efforts of .426 overall and .332 from beyond the arc.
Purdue got 14 points from Terone Johnson, 12 from D.J. Byrd and 11 from Robbie Hummel, and needed every one of them as the Boilermakers slipped past Northwestern on the road earlier this week. Both teams shot 44.4 percent from the field, but the Wildcats committed 16 turnovers to just five for the Boilermakers, who won the game despite being outrebounded (37-23) and outscored at the foul line (8-4). Hummel (15.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 26 blocks) leads his team in the same categories Indiana's Zeller does his, and Lewis Jackson (10.2 ppg, 3.9 apg) is PU's only other double-digit scorer on the season. Ryne Smith (9.4 ppg) is close to joining the ranks, and he is the team's top three- point sniper (56-of-134, .418). As a collective unit, the Boilermakers are netting 70.9 ppg behind 43.7 percent field goal efficiency, which includes a 35.2 percent showing from downtown, while the opposition produces 62.8 ppg in hitting 42.5 percent of their total shots and 36.3 percent of their long-range bombs. Purdue takes very good care of the basketball, committing just 9.4 turnovers per game, compared to 14.3 tpg by its opponents.