clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

What We Learned: Purdue Boilermakers 89, Illinois Fighting Illini 58

The Boilermakers avenged their January loss to the Illini in impressive fashion.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

A 4 seed beating a 12 seed in a conference tournament game isn't exactly national news, but the fashion in which Purdue dismantled a hot Illinois team was at least noteworthy. The Boilermakers led by 20 at halftime and started emptying their bench with a few minutes to go.

Here's what we learned from the quarterfinal matchup:

1. Purdue is pretty, pretty good when they shoot well from the perimeter

Not exactly a unique trait, but they're a team that is pretty much always going to get a lot of points in the paint. If their guards are hitting from the outside like they were today, they're practically unguardable. The Boilermakers went 13-27 from beyond the arc on Friday and the Illini couldn't come up with an answer. During this four-game winning streak for Purdue, they're shooting 47.4% from distance. I'm not an expert, but that seems pretty high.

2. The Big Three for Illinois were unable to repeat their performance

Malcolm Hill, Kendrick Nunn, and Jalen Coleman-Lands combined for 62 total points when Illinois hosted Purdue in Champaign on January 10. On Friday, they could only manage 31. It was a difficult 31, as well. Coleman-Lands could never get going and Hill had Rapheal Davis in his hip pocket for much of the game. They were able to get some open looks for Maverick Morgan with their penetration, but it just wasn't enough to keep up with Purdue's highly efficient scoring.

3. It was a fitting way to end the season for Illinois

The 2015-16 season was one long nightmare for Illini fans. It started way back in July when Tracy Abrams was lost for the second straight season to a torn Achilles. And then Mike Thorne got injured for weeks, came back for one game, before ultimately being ruled out for the season. And finally, Leron Black also played his final game in early December due to injury. At the end of last season, no one would've expected the Illini to finish 5-13 in Big Ten play and have to pull a major upset just to get to the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament, only to lose by 31 points. But that's how it went. The good news: Abrams should be given a waiver by the NCAA for a sixth-year of eligibility, Black will be back, and so will every other player that finished the season besides Khalid Lewis.

4. Purdue has a great chance to make the BTT finals

With Indiana losing on a buzzer-beater to Michigan in the first game of the day, the Boilers will match up with the Wolverines for the third time this season. In the first game, Michigan had no chance at stopping Purdue in the second half on the way to an 87-70 Boiler victory. As for game two, Purdue led most of the way in Ann Arbor despite missing countless opportunities at the rim and several careless turnovers in the second half. They went scoreless during the last three minutes of the game and the Wolverines eked out a 61-56 win. The A.J. Hammons, Isaac Haas, and Caleb Swanigan trio will be a lot to handle for the Michigan bigs, who often struggle to guard the post. KenPom gives the Boilermakers a 69% chance of winning the game.