Another weekend, another set of early Big Ten games. Today Purdue will host Northwestern, followed by Michigan traveling to Indiana later on in the afternoon. Let’s take a look at the action.
Game of the Day
- Time/TV: 3:30 PM ET CBS
- Line: Indiana -4.0
In the second game today the Hoosiers look to build on their upset over Purdue with a home game against a Michigan team that has underwhelmed so far this year.
While it’s a surprise that Michigan has performed so badly this season, it’s not a huge surprise when you take a look at what they’ve done statistically. So far this year the Wolverines are struggling from beyond the arc, turnover prone and only hitting 68% from the line. The offense has been struggling and past Hunter Dickinson and Eli Brooks no one has consistently been capable of stepping up this year. Their offensive struggles has led them to getting beaten by double digits in five of their seven losses. They did bounce back nicely with an 83-64 win over Maryland and will look to build on that.
The Hoosiers got a big boost against Purdue from Rob Phinisee, who had a huge first half and helped the Hoosiers pick up the upset. Trayce Jackson-Davis is the star on the Hoosiers roster, but Indiana is best when they can get more of their players to produce at a consistent level and not just rely on Jackson-Davis. That will be important today as Jackson-Davis has to go up against Dickinson, providing for one of the more entertaining matchups between bigs we might see this season.
One of the biggest improvements for Indiana this year has been their much improved shooting. That, mixed with a much better defense and you have an Indiana team that should find it’s way back into the postseason. They need to take better control of the ball, committing 13.7 turnovers per game, though.
If Michigan struggles from three once again they’re going to have issues winning on the road. That being said, today provides the perfect opportunity for a letdown game after Indiana finally knocked off their rival for the first time in years. Indiana has been the better team and has played great at home this year, but against the odds look for Michigan to pick up their best win of the season so far behind a big day from Dickinson.
- Time/TV: 1:00 PM ET BTN
- Line: Purdue -13.0
Purdue had a dreadful outing against Indiana last time out, committing 12 turnovers, struggling from the line and missing several key shots. Even then they had a chance to win at the end of the game before, quite literally, coming up just a bit short. Now they will look to bounce back at home against Northwestern.
One of the stories to watch heading into the game today is the health of guard Jaden Ivey, who exploded in the second half against Indiana. The guard has been banged up and there’s no guarantee as of right now if he’ll actually play.
#Purdue hoops update— mike carmin (@carmin_jc) January 22, 2022
Jaden Ivey (hip flexor) hasn't practiced the last 2 days. Injured before IU game and did play.
"It's bothering him, so we sat him out. We'll see it how it goes (Sunday vs Northwestern). I can see him playing. I can see him not playing. It's his call."
Regardless of Ivey’s status, if Purdue wants to be taken serious they’ll need to win at home against Northwestern today. The duo of Zach Edey and Trevion Williams should have a field day against Northwestern. It could also prove to be a good opportunity for Williams to get things turned around after back-to-back dreadful performances against Illinois and Indiana. Even if Ivey doesn’t play the Boilermakers have plenty of backcourt options that can help fill the void, including sharpshooters Sasha Stefanovic and Mason Gillis. It could be a good opportunity to work on getting Brandon Newman and Caleb Furst a bit more involved, with both players largely gone MIA as of late.
Northwestern is only 9-7 but can’t be overlooked. While only 1-5 the last six games, they did win at Michigan State. Their losses also include two six point losses to Michigan State and Wisconsin, a double overtime loss to Maryland, eight point loss at Ohio State and a four point loss to Penn State. Regardless of how good Northwestern is, they’ve kept things entertaining. With Pete Nance and Boo Buie the Wildcats have found enough of an offensive spark to compete in the league, but it might not be enough against a more balanced Purdue squad. And once again it should be mentioned that Northwestern is likely set to have problems with Edey/Williams.
The Wildcats very well might make tonight a more entertaining game than most Purdue fans would prefer. But look for the Boilermakers to bounce back for the win.