No. 1 Purdue Boilermakers vs. Iowa Hawkeyes
Line: Purdue -8
Where: Mackey Arena, West Lafayette, Indiana
When: Thursday, 2/9 at 7:00 p.m. ET
No. 1 Purdue will try to get back on track when it hosts Iowa in a Big Ten battle on Thursday night at Mackey Arena.
The Boilermakers had their nine-game winning streak snapped in a loss at rival Indiana on Saturday in a game that the Hoosiers led for 39 minutes. Wooden Award favorite Zach Edey, who is priced at -1200 at DraftKings, had 33 points and 18 rebounds in the 79-74 final, but Purdue was unable to overcome 11 first-half turnovers.
“I think in the first half, the environment kind of shocked some of us,” Edey said. “I think we played harder in the second half and made the right reads in the second half.”
The Boilermakers will be tasked with bouncing back against a Hawkeyes team that is coming off consecutive wins over Rutgers, Northwestern and Illinois. Iowa was led by Tony Perkins, who went 8 of 11 from the floor and 15 of 16 from the charity stripe en route to a career-high 32 points.
Oddsmakers at offshore sportsbook BetOnline opened Purdue as a 6.5-point favorite on Wednesday afternoon, while the total opened at 150.5. Iowa has gone ‘over’ in eight of its last 10 games, and Purdue has gone ‘over’ in four of its last five games. This matchup features the top two offenses in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency ratings.
Edey leads the top-ranked Purdue offense with 22.4 points and 13.2 rebounds per game, with 5.7 of those boards coming on the offensive glass. He has played a pivotal role in helping the Boilermakers pull down the most offensive rebounds of any team in college basketball.
One area that they will be seeking improvement in is on the perimeter, as Purdue is No. 184 in 3-point percentage (33.9). The Boilermakers have been much more efficient in the paint, ranked No. 40 in 2-point percentage (54.1). Freshman guard Fletcher Loyer is the only other player in double figures, averaging 12.4 points and 2.5 assists.
Purdue currently has the second-shortest odds to win the national title at +900 and is a -2500 favorite to win the Big Ten. The Boilermakers are three games clear of six other teams in the standings, including Iowa.
The Hawkeyes have won seven of their last nine games, sweeping their recent three-game homestand to build their NCAA Tournament resume. Perkins scored 25 of his career-best 32 points in the second half of the win against Illinois, but the team narrowly failed to cover the 3-point spread.
“It was, ‘OK this guy’s cooking, just keep going,’” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “What was impressive to me about that was the players who were on the floor with him, they’re yelling out plays to me that we should be running for (Perkins). So they recognized that, ‘OK, this guy’s on fire. We’re going to him.”
Iowa has not had a problem with getting hot offensively this season, entering this matchup at No. 2 in KenPom’s ratings. The Hawkeyes are inside the top 90 in all four key metrics, including ninth in turnover rate. They are facing a Purdue defense that is No. 22 in efficiency, but it is No. 327 in turnover rate.
Junior forward Kris Murray leads Iowa with 20.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, while senior forward Filip Rebraca is scoring 13.9 points and grabbing 8.2 boards. Their defense has struggled throughout the season, ranked outside the top 200 in field goal percentage and rebounding.
Iowa is 7-2 against the spread in its last nine games, but it is 1-11 in its last 12 games at Purdue. The Boilermakers are 7-3 (6-4 ATS) in the last 10 meetings between these teams overall, winning two out of the three games between these teams last season.
The pick: Purdue -8
KenPom has Purdue winning this game by nine points in his latest projection, which is closer to where I think the line should be. The Boilermakers were in a tough spot on Saturday, having to go on the road to one of the loudest environments in the country, and it showed in the early going. They were eventually able to settle in, but the Hoosiers held on down the stretch (to cash my ticket on them). I expect this to be a more complete effort from Purdue, especially against an Iowa team that has been awful defensively. The Hawkeyes have not faced a ranked opponent since the beginning of January, making this a really difficult scheduling spot on the road against the top-ranked team in the country that is motivated following a loss.