TIME / TV: 8:30pm ET on Big Ten Network
When Purdue and Indiana tip off tonight at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, it is sure to be anything but a comfortable environment for the Boilermakers.
Purdue rides a four game win streak coming into this game and the eighth-ranked Boilers are expecting anything but an easy game.
Indiana would love nothing less than to snap their four game losing streak and hand their arch-rival a loss and if the Boilers want a two seed in the NCAA Tournament they can not afford what the NCAA Tournament selection committee would call a "bad loss".
In what may be one of college basketball's greatest rivalries, every time these two meet up in Bloomington, it is bound to be a tight game. The Purdue Boilermakers are favored by just five points tonight, while the ESPN simulation of the game has the Boilers winning by just two points.
Purdue's E`Twaun Moore exploded last game after he had been climbing his way of a shooting slump. He scored 38 points against a really good Ohio State team and helped Purdue knock off their second straight Top 10 team in the span of just five days. JaJuan Johnson has been solid for the Boilermakers all season, he averages a team-best 22 points per game. He also is the team's leading rebounder with eight boards per game, although Purdue likes to spread the boards around and get everyone involved.
Indiana's Christian Watford, who did not face the Boilers last time they played, due to injury, will be playing in this matchup. He will need to have a great night for the Hoosiers if they want to win. He averages 15 points per game, a team best. Right behind him is Jordan Hull, who averages 14 points per game.
(More after the jump)
Purdue better be careful in this game, they can not afford a loss like this at this time. It is going to be a very dangerous one. Purdue needs to get the lead early, when you are playing with the lead against your rival on their court is easier to win then it is to have to chip away at a deficit.
Purdue handled Indiana fairly easily earlier this year in Mackey Arena, winning 67-53. This is a different atmosphere on the road. Assembly Hall will be rockin'. As some would say, this is the Hoosiers post-season. They will probably miss the postseason yet again, so tonight, this game could make their season.
Last year, Purdue went to Assembly Hall and pulled out the win by three points, with Robbie Hummel, now they are going to need Lewis Jackson to be himself and score like we all know he can. It will also be key for the Boilers for Byrd, Smith and Barlow to help out, the more the merrier. Purdue needs to get JaJuan Johnson a touch every possession, give it to him inside and dare to Hoosiers to stop him.
Indiana is a dangerous team for Purdue at this point. Purdue needs to be focused on this game and not the Michigan State game the have later this week.
The student section in Assembly Hall is reportedly going to chant "Banner up, clap clap, Banner up, clap clap" to mock Purdue's "Boiler Up" cheer. Comparing Purdue's National Championships to Indiana's. Proving how hostile this environment will be for Purdue.
If Purdue gets the victory tonight, it will be their first five game winning streak in the rivalry since taking seven in a row from 1968-1972. Overall, the Boilermakers hold the lead in the all-time series, 111-84.
This is going to be a tight game. Purdue better watch out, because in a rivalry game, throw the stats out the window, anything can happen. The Hoosiers just might win.
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