While the Big Ten opened conference play last weekend, not every team has faced off against a league foe yet. One more will be added to that list on Monday, as Iowa heads on the road to face Purdue.
Let’s take a look at the schedule.
Game of the Day:
-Iowa Hawkeyes at No. 1 Purdue Boilermakers
- Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET (BTN)
- KenPom Spread: Purdue by 13
Generally speaking, this game looks like a bit of a mismatch on paper. Purdue enters with an elite resume and an impressive offensive pedigree. And while Iowa has a 5-2 record and scored a recent win over Seton Hall, its profile is nowhere near Purdue’s right now. In fact, KenPom has the teams separated by 35 spots in its most recent ratings.
However, that’s on paper. And as fans (especially Boilermaker fans) know well, the game isn’t played on paper. Ratings and projections don’t mean much once the ball is tossed into the air. And that’s what Hawkeye fans have to be hoping for. Purdue has shown some vulnerabilities this season and Iowa needs to capitalize on them.
In many ways, this game is going to come down to how Iowa’s defense performs. The Hawkeyes rank 111th nationally in defensive efficiency and the team gave up big numbers in its losses to Creighton and Oklahoma last month. Simply put, it’s an underwhelming unit that Iowa usually has to overcome to win. And that seems even more significant in this one given Purdue enters with a top five offense. If Iowa can’t hold up on that side of the court, it’s hard to see the Hawkeyes being able to hang around as this game rolls into the second half and the team has to battle a tough crowd in Mackey.
The most interesting battle will be between Ben Krikke and Zach Edey down low. Edey is obviously a bonafide star and a National Player of the Year contender. Krikke has put up significantly smaller numbers, but does a lot of work for Iowa’s offense and a respectable offensive rebounder. His goal needs to be getting Edey to move and out of position. If so, perhaps he and the rest of Iowa’s frontcourt can hold up enough defensively to have a chance at pulling off the upset.
For Purdue, this is a game where fans would like to see more progress from the backcourt. The group had a poor showing in the team’s loss against Northwestern last weekend and will likely determine if the Boilermakers can make noise in March. All eyes will be on Braden Smith and Lance Jones.
All told, Iowa has enough offense to hang around in this one. However, the Hawkeyes probably don’t have the defensive chops to keep serve as the game rolls into the second half. Edey will likely prove to be too much inside.
- Pick: Purdue
Picks Record This Season: 39-14