Big Ten basketball showcases two games Wednesday night as Minnesota heads out east to take on Penn State in a game where both teams desperately need a win. In the later game we have an in-state rival that goes deep into college basketball history between Indiana and Purdue
The Best of the Night
Indiana Hoosiers (15-5, 5-2) at Purdue Boilermakers (12-8, 4-3) 9:00ET on BTN
Indiana looks to get revenge on Purdue after last season's crushing 18 point loss in West Lafayette (82-64). The Hoosiers have been one of the surprise teams this season in the Big Ten starting off conference play with 5 wins including wins against Ohio State and Maryland that led them to become ranked 22nd even after falling on Sunday to Ohio State the second time around.
Purdue has also shown signs of quality basketball this conference season, with just recently upsetting 25th ranked Iowa on Saturday. The Boilermakers have been competitive in all their Big Ten games thus far this year, with their 3 conference losses all by single digits.
How Indiana wins
The Hoosiers have found a style of play that fits their team's roster perfectly, and that is simply run. Indiana continues to take advantage of their athletic ability against their opponents and it has worked greatly, having already beat 4 ranked teams this season. Led by guards Yogi Ferrell (16 ppg) and James Blackmon (16.5 ppg) the Hoosiers look to push the ball and knock down open threes. That will be an area where they will look to take advantage of, to help win this game against Purdue, who has struggled this season contesting the open three.
Another major area Indiana can look to explore is grabbing offensive rebounds. Purdue gave open 24 offensive rebounds in their win Saturday against the Hawkeyes. The Hoosiers can look to use their athletic ability to gain second chance opportunities.
How Purdue wins
The biggest concern for the Boilermakers is to not let this game turn into a track meet, or it could get ugly quick. Purdue needs to continue dominance inside the paint, and take advantage of their size. Indiana does not start a player over 6-foot-7, while the Boilermakers start 7 footer AJ Hammons (10.7 ppg) and replace him with 7-foot-2 freshman Isaac Haas (9.5 ppg).
Purdue's next task will be to continue to move the ball offensively and to not get stagnate. In Saturday's win against Iowa, they showed signs of hesitant offensive without three point shooter Kendall Stephens on the court. Finally the Boilermakers need to take advantage of playing at home in front of a sold out arena. Two injuries to keep an eye on during this game will be Robert Johnson (9.2 ppg) of IU, and Kendall Stephens (10.4 ppg) for Purdue.
Purdue leads the series 113 to 88.
Minnesota Gophers (13-8, 2-6) at Penn State (13-7, 1-6) 7:00ET on BTN
In the battle of struggling teams, Minnesota looks to put behind them a surprisingly awful first half of conference play by picking up a road win against a Penn State team who has only one conference win this season. The Gophers look to get their first road conference win of the season behind the play of Andre Hollins (14.5 ppg). Penn State looks to build on their recent 28 point blowout victory over Rutgers this past Saturday. This game highlights DJ Newbill (22 ppg) who if you have yet to see play this season make sure to be in front of a television Wednesday night.