What to Know
Since beating up on the Hawkeyes in West Lafayette, the Purdue Boilermakers have gone 2-1. They have a narrow home loss to Minnesota and two wins, one of which was a slim road win at Ohio State. The other, a home win against a very good Wisconsin team. They've catapulted to the top of my Big Ten Power Rankings and many others' as well.
The are ranked 17th in the Associated Press poll this week and have an overall record of 14-3 and 3-1 in the Big Ten. Vincent Edwards has replaced Isaac Haas in the Purdue starting lineup over the past couple of games. He thrived in the game against Ohio State, scoring 16 points and bringing in 7 rebounds. Haas has still played his normal minutes, but just isn't starting.
I expect this to likely be the same on Thursday night. Although, Haas did hurt Iowa big time in the second half of their game back on December 28th.
They thumped the Hawkeyes back in late December in a game that was over early. The final in that game was 89-67. That game was also Tyler Cook's first game back from injury. He had 3 fouls in the first 16 minutes of the game and picked up his fourth just 3 minutes into the second half.
The Hawkeyes gave up 10 first half three pointers against Purdue and since then the Boilers haven't totaled that many in an entire game. They made 8 against Ohio State, 7 against Wisconsin, and 9 in their overtime loss to Minnesota. It was a case of Iowa not defending very well and Purdue knocking down open shots. The Hawkeyes did get better with about 12 minutes left in the first half, but late in that same half they started getting lazy again.
Who to Know
It's still Caleb Swanigan, who, if the season ended today, is probably the Big Ten's player of the year. He's still averaging a double double and since his 11 and 10 performance against Iowa he's rattled off three straight double doubles, including a 28 point - 22 rebound performance against Minnesota.
Isaac Haas is still averaging 13 points and 6 rebounds in just over 20 minutes per game. He really gave Iowa problems in the second half in West Lafayette.
The Edwards' -- who are not related -- have been key pieces to the team. Carsen, who is a true freshman, had double digits in points against Ohio State and averages right around 10 per game. He had the first 8 points of the game in the meeting in late December.
Dakota Mathias really hurt the Hawkeyes as well. Mathias had 17 points on 4-7 from beyond the arc and was a crucial reason the Boilers got out to such a hot start. Mathias also leads the team averaging 4.1 assists per game. Dakota matched up well with Peter Jok the first time around and I assume we'll see the same on Thursday.
P.J. Thompson is the guy that makes the Boilers go, really. He is second on the team averaging 3.6 assists per game and gives opposing ball handlers fits when they try to bring the ball up. Both Thompson and Edwards pressured an Iowa point guard almost every time they brought the ball up.
Stats to Know
The Boilers lead the conference in scoring margin. Beating teams by an average of 17.5 points per game. Which is a full point ahead of second place Indiana.
The are second in the conference in field goal percentage, making 49% of their shots from the field. They also lead the conference in three point field goal percentage, shooting 41% from beyond the arc. Mathias leads the team shooting 50% from three.
They lead the conference in assists per game as a team. They average over 19 per game, which is a full assist better than the second place team.
They've made the most three pointers in the conference over their 17 games, making 160 of them. They are tied with Michigan and Indiana, who both make an average of 9.4 per game much like Purdue.
Swanigan ranks third in the conference in scoring average (18.3) and leads the conference in rebounds per game (12.9). That number is three more than anyone else in the Big Ten.
Starting point guard PJ Thompson leads the conference in assist to turnover ratio as well. He's been solid for them this season after I thought Spike Albrecht might take some playing time from him.