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1/14 Big Ten Preview: Purdue and Indiana Renew Rivalry

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Michigan State Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

There’s only one game tonight as Purdue and Indiana renew their rivalry on the court. Tonight’s other game between Michigan State and Iowa has been postponed after two Spartans players tested positive for COVID-19.

Game of the Night

Purdue Boilermakers at Indiana Hoosiers

  • Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET (FS1)

Tonight’s lone game will see the Boilermakers travel to a considerably quieter Assembly Hall to face the Hoosiers. The Boilermakers have won seven in a row against Indiana and have not lost to the Hoosiers since 2016.

With both teams sitting at 8-5 (3-3) and having issues with consistency, tonight would be a big win for each team. Purdue fell short on the road against Rutgers and Illinois, but picked up a massive win last weekend when they came back from 17 in the second half to stun a ranked Michigan State. As for the Hoosiers, they fell short against Wisconsin last week but managed to sneak past Nebraska by 8 on Sunday. Four of the last five Hoosiers wins have been single digit margins as Indiana has played in numerous close games the past few weeks.

Purdue still hasn’t gotten as much consistency from their backcourt as they would like, but Sasha Stefanovic has proven to be a capable three point shooter (49.3%) while Eric Hunter has shown signs that he could make the next stop. Matt Painter could use more production from Brandon Newman and Isaiah Thompson, but each have their moments. The main strength for Purdue, though, is their frontcourt and star Trevion Williams. Look no further than the juniors 26 points as he took over against Michigan State. And while Zach Edey’s production has slowed down, he’s still a 7’4” force that supplements Williams perfectly.

Indiana also relies heavily on their frontcourt, relying on Trayce Jackson-Davis. The forward is averaging 20.1 points and 9.3 rebounds per game for the Hoosiers, leading to what should be an entertaining battle inside. Armaan Franklin’s 47.6% from three is IU’s equivalent to Stefanovic and just like Purdue they have a backcourt that has been inconsistent at best in scoring the ball.

In theory Indiana should have the advantage here because each team is relatively balanced and the game is being played in Bloomington. But Purdue has shown they can win in Assembly Hall when there were fans in attendance, so playing in an empty arena won’t be as big of an advantage. And until Indiana shows they can beat Purdue it’s hard to pick against the Boilers.

Pick: Purdue

The Rest

Michigan State Spartans at Iowa Hawkeyes

  • Time/TV: Postponed