In a match up of two basketball crazy schools separated by only a few hours, there is typically no love lost. This was the case once again between the Purdue Boilermakers and the Indiana Hoosiers when the two teams took the court at Assembly Hall in Bloomington.
Now, there was no chair being tossed onto the court or any physical confrontation, but what we did get was a great basketball game between two teams that needed the win for very different reasons.
Here are some of the things we can take away from their meeting.
What We Learned:
1. Purdue seems to have gotten over their road issues
Now, certainly neither of the last two games have been flawless for the Boilermakers. However, on the road in this conference, you’d be hard pressed to find any blowout wins or even a road game that the fans should feel comfortable chalking up as a win.
While losing games on the road against Louisville, Iowa and Nebraska certainly left the fan base wanting more, the past two road wins in extremely tough environments should leave them feeling equally satisfied. Wins over Maryland and Indiana both on the road within a handful of days of each other should certainly help the Boilers NCAA Tournament seeding.
2. The Hoosiers will fight an extreme uphill battle
While the Indiana Hoosiers can boast two wins that will stack up with any two wins across the country, those victories only go so far for the selection committee come tournament time. As the losses continue to pile up in Bloomington, things need to change in a hurry.
Indiana has now lost four of their last five games to drop to 15-10 overall but to 5-7 in the conference. With four of their final six games on the road, there is still a tiny sliver of time for them to build a resume that will get them in the field.
However, this loss dealt a huge blow to the NCAA Tournament hopes of the Hoosiers, even with their two marquee wins from the non-conference schedule.
3. This Purdue team can win in different ways
This was not, by any means, the typical Purdue victory from this year. Dominating the paint and kicking out to open shooters who would cash in on open chances. Rather, this was a grind. And for the most part, strangely enough, Purdue has struggled to grind this year.
Dakota Matthias, PJ Thompson and Ryan Cline, three of the Boilers’ best shooters, finished 1-8 from beyond the three point line. Isaac Haas finished with only 6 points on 2-8 shooting and their best player, Caleb Swanigan, fouled out with under a minute left. Yet somehow, the Boilermakers left Assembly Hall with a win over their biggest rival.
Purdue is used to dominating in the paint and in the rebounding category with Haas and Swanigan, as they are ranked 8th in the country. Indiana, however, is ranked 7th in the country and the two strengths neutralized each other as the teams finished at 35 rebounds a piece.
Purdue won the free throw battle, going 17-24 in comparison to Indiana at 12-16. The difference in the game appeared to be the Boilers ability to grind on the late possessions.
In a rivalry that never seems to disappoint, these two teams battled down to the final minute once again. Two stars fouled out of the game on one of the most... interesting calls you’ll see in a basketball game, it was back and forth all night and in the end, the Boilermakers came away with the road win to keep the momentum in the rivalry, having won four of the last five.