Here's a look at Saturday's Indiana opponent:
Purdue Boilermakers (14-10, 4-7)
Last time out: L, 676-49 at Ohio Sate Saturday
The Boilermakers fell victim to a recent resurgence from an Ohio State team that struggled during a six-game stretch during the beginning of the Big Ten schedule. Since, Ohio State won on the road against Wisconsin and Iowa before coming home and beating Purdue handily 67-49.
Purdue was led by two guards in scoring off the bench, freshman Kendall Stephens and sophomore Rapheal Davis, who scored 12 and 11 respectively. Sophomore center A.J. Hammons also scored 11 to go along with seven rebounds, one behind team leader senior forward Errick Peck with eight.
The Boilermakers scored the first six points of the game, but Ohio State quickly rebounded, leading by as many as nine midway through the first half. Purdue managed to keep stay within striking distance, though, trailing six points at halftime. The teams traded buckets for the first few minutes of the second half until Ohio State managed to reach a double-digit lead. Purdue, though, nearly erased it with a 9-2 run to come within three, 48-45.
From there, though, Ohio State proved to be too much, as the team's defensive hammered down on Purdue, keeping them scoreless over the next 3:38 as Ohio State brought its lead back into double figures. Eventually, the Buckeyes would end the game on a 19-4 run.
Record: (16-18, 8-10 in the Big Ten Conference)
Last season, the young Purdue squad struggled mightily in the team's non-conference schedule before somewhat righting the ship during Big Ten play. The Boilermakers lost three of their first four to start the season as part of the 2K Sports Classic to Bucknell, Oregon State and Villanova.
After a victory against Clemson in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on the road, the Boilermakers lost three out of four once again, this time to Xavier, Eastern Michigan and Notre Dame before closing out the non-conference season with two wins. They went into Big Ten play with a 6-6 record.
Purdue opened up Big Ten play with a home win against Illinois, and after unsurprising losses to Ohio State and Michigan State, the team went on a three-game winning streak Penn State, Nebraska and non-conference opponent West Virginia. But that 4-2 streak was immediately erased with a 2-4 run – all those losses by at least 13 points. A surprise win on the road against Wisconsin in the last five games may have been the high point of the season for the Boilermakers.
After falling to Nebraska in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament 57-55, Purdue went on to play in the College Basketball Invitational postseason tournament. The Boilermakers took down Western Illinois in the first round 81-67 before ending the season with a home loss to Santa Clara 86-83.
What they do well:
The Boilermakers may be the best all-around inside team the Hoosiers have faced thus far this season, or at least in quite a while. Purdue ranks first in the Big Ten in offensive rebounds with 14.6 per game, more than one better than the Hoosiers this season. The team's numbers fall a little bit in the defensive rebounding category, with 25.1 per game, fifth in the Big Ten, but overall only Iowa and Indiana rank higher in rebounds per game. On offense, the Boilermakers pull down over 37 percent of their misses, while the Hoosiers rank first in the Big Ten on defense, grabbing over 73 percent of their opponents' misses. Something has to give.
Purdue also ranks first in the conference in blocked shots with 5.5 per game. The bulk of those come from their sophomore big man A.J. Hammons, who leads the conference with 3.2 per game. Noah Vonleh hasn't faced too many extremely skilled forwards or centers thus far this season, but he will have his hands full with Hammons. The entire IU team will have to think twice before driving the ball in the paint, where so much of the team's points come from, with Hammons waiting for them.
G Terone Johnson, Sr.
Johnson comes into this in-state rivalry game as Purdue's leading scorer, with 12.2 points per game. Last season, though, he struggled against the Hoosiers, scoring just 13 combined points in both losses to IU. But as a senior in the backcourt averaging playing more than three more minutes per game than any of his teammates this season, this is clearly Johnson's team. Purdue has started 11 different players this season, and Johnson is the only one to have started all 24.
The senior guard does a little bit of everything, pulling down almost four rebounds per game and tossing more than two assists while turning it over slightly more than once per game With a 40.2 shooting percentage from the field, he's certainly not a lights-out shooter, but the Hoosiers will have to Mark Johnson on the court at all times.
C A.J. Hammons, So.
Hammons lost nearly 30 pounds in the off-season to become a much leaner, stronger man in the post, one who's slightly taller and bigger than Vonleh. He trailed just Johnson in scoring, averaging 10.9 points per game, and he's first in the conference in blocks and third in rebounding.
Perhaps Hammons's biggest advantage going into Saturday's matchup is how thin the Hoosiers are at the post. If Hammons can get Vonleh into foul trouble, it's likely Hanner Mosquera-Perea won't play due to his arrest Friday morning, and beyond him, IU has just Jeff Howard and Devin Davis, players on the smaller end of normal post players, and certainly not as skilled as Hammons.