Game Particulars: Indiana (21-4/10-2) vs. Purdue (21-5/12-1)
Indiana doesn't know if it will have its best player for the game or its coach soon afterwards, but the Hoosiers will face Purdue Tuesday night in the biggest game in the last decade in this storied rivalry. D.J. White appears doubtful with a knee sprain, while Coach Kelvin Sampson could be coaching his final game at IU if Rick Greenspan recommends his firing to President Michael McRobbie on Friday.
Purdue enters the contest riding an 11-game winning streak and has a chance to put a stranglehold on the league's regular season title. With a win, Purdue would own a one-game lead over Wisconsin (which it has already beaten twice) and at least a two-game lead over everyone else with only four games to go. Indiana, meanwhile, could move into a tie with Purdue and Wisconsin as the only two teams with two losses in league play if it can top the Boilermakers.
IU is coached by Sampson, who is in his second year as Indiana's head coach and owns a 42-15 record in Bloomington and a 497-272 career mark. Purdue, meanwhile, is coached by Matt Painter, who is now in his third year in West Lafayette and fourth year as a head coach overall. Painter is 52-36 at Purdue and 77-41 overall.
The game will be televised by ESPN with Brent Musberger (play-by-play), Steve Lavin (color commentary) and Erin Andrews (sideline reporter) calling the match-up.
Indiana 2007-08 Schedule
Purdue 2007-08 Schedule
Indiana Hoosiers (21-4/10-2)
PG- Armon Bassett(6-1, 176, So.) – 10.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 3.1 apg, 45.7% 3 pt. shooting
SG- Eric Gordon (6-4, 205, Fr.) – 21.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.5 apg, 40% 3 pt. shooting
WG – Jamarcus Ellis (6-5, 210, Jr.) – 7.4 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 4.0 apg, 41.9% FG shooting
F – Lance Stemler (6-9, 210, Sr.) - 4.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 0.9 spg, 36.7% 3 pt. shooting
F – DeAndre Thomas (6-8, 300, Jr.) – 4.3 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 50% FG shooting
Purdue Boilermakers (21-5/12-1)
PG- Chris Kramer (6-3, 210, So.) 6.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.8 apg, 2.1 spg, 28.6% 3pt. shooting
SG – E'twaun Moore (6-3, 180, Fr.) – 11.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.5 apg, 42.1% 3 pt. shooting
WG – Keaton Grant (6-4, 207, So.) – 10.9 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.7 apg, 43.1% 3 pt. shooting
SF – Robbie Hummel (6-8, 208, Fr.) – 11.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.8 apg, 45.9% 3 pt. shooting
C- Nemanja Calasan (6-9, 243, Jr.) 6.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 31.1% 3 pt. shooting
Indiana 2007-08 Statistics
Purdue 2007-08 Statistics
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
How will Indiana replace D.J. White's low-post presence?– Kelvin Sampson said Monday that White was "iffy at best" to play against the Boilermakers after suffering a knee sprain against Michigan State. If that is the case – Sampson hasn't always been the most forthcoming with players' availability due to injury – Indiana will have to figure out a way to beat the Big Ten leaders with pretty much a perimeter oriented attack. DeAndre Thomas contributed 10 points in 16 minutes against the Spartans, but he's still been foul prone and inconsistent most of the season. Whatever IU gets from him should be viewed as a bonus. Nobody else on IU's roster is a legitimate back-to-the-basket threat. Indiana's offense will instead have to come from behind the 3-point arc and by attacking off the dribble. Eric Gordon will clearly be a big part of that, but the Hoosiers will also need solid efforts from Jordan Crawford and Armon Bassett. Crawford scored 12 points off the bench Saturday, while Bassett struggled through a 2-for-8 evening. In his last six games Bassett is just 15-of-50 (30 percent) from the field and needs to get untracked.
How well will Indiana defend the 3-point arc? - Purdue is probably the Big Ten's most balanced unit with seven different players averaging at least 5.6 points/game, and they're also among the league's best from behind the 3-point arc. While Michigan State had only one starter who was a threat from 3-point range, Purdue will likely start five players who are all willing to shoot from deep. E'twaun Moore, Keaton Grant and Robbie Hummel are the most dangerous threats, but Chris Kramer and Nemanja Calasan will also shoot from deep. Off the bench, Scott Martin and Marcus Green are also perimeter threats. Indiana will have to figure out a way to limit Purdue's looks from outside, which has been a big part of their march to the top of the conference standings. Since league play opened Purdue has made a Big Ten-high 107 3-pointers, and Coach Matt Painter's team is shooting a conference-best 39.8 percent from behind the arc in conference games.
Can Indiana win the turnover battle? - The most glaring statistic in IU's 80-61 win over Michigan State was the fact Kelvin Sampson's team forced MSU into 19 turnovers, while IU turned it over only 10 times. As Indiana gears up for the Boilermakers, it will have make sure it once again limits its miscues. Purdue leads the league in conference games with a +4.08 turnover margin, and it's forcing 16.2 turnovers/game. Purdue's athletic wings pressure the ball and try to take away ball reversals, so it will be critical for the Hoosiers to take care of the ball and avoid the miscues that have done in so many of Purdue's foes. Purdue guard Chris Kramer leads to the conference with nearly 2 ½ steals/game in league contests, and he's a player who generally makes his biggest contribution with his tenacious play on defense.
"The thing that makes Purdue good is, one, they are really good defensively. And two, they have such versatile players. They have a kid, Robbie Hummel, that can actually play five positions. He's a 6'8 kid that can defend the post, he can run your offense, he's a good three-point shooter. The kid that I think has had a great year for them is Keaton Grant. He's really, really good. He's kind of a slasher and he's a great athlete and he can also shoot three's." – Kelvin Sampson
"The thing that Purdue poses problems more so than most teams is that they have four legitimate three-point shooters on their team. And they all kind of take turns stepping up for them." – Kelvin Sampson
"Chris Kramer has just been great the whole year guarding the other team's best perimeter player…I know I'm biased, but I think he's the defensive player of the year. He sets the tone for our team defensively. He's one of those guys that not a lot of us recruit, and all of us want him." – Purdue Coach Matt Painter
"I think both teams are jockeying to stay in the top spot for the Big Ten race. So for me, personally, it's the biggest Indiana-Purdue game I've been a part of…it means so much in the Big Ten race." – Matt Painter
"They've been very good. For the way they played without (White) the other day, it shows you the talent they have in that backcourt. When they go with Ellis and Bassett and Eric Gordon and Crawford together, they're dangerous. Who do you sluff off? You don't sluff off anybody or they'll make you pay." – Matt Painter
"Eric Gordon is a very talented guard and can hurt you is so many ways…he's able to step up night in and night out and be productive. That is something that most freshmen want, but can't handle. He can handle it." – Matt Painter
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