Big Ten Battle: Purdue at Indiana

Big Ten Battle: Purdue at Indiana

No. 21 Indiana Hoosiers vs. No. 1 Purdue Boilermakers

Line: Purdue -1.5

Total: 141

Where: Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Indiana

When: Saturday, 2/4 at 4:00 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

The unanimous No. 1 team in college basketball will go on the road for a game that is considered to be a toss up when Purdue travels to No. 21 Indiana on Saturday afternoon.

Purdue (22-1, 11-1 Big Ten) is riding a nine-game winning streak and is a heavy -3000 favorite to win the conference at DraftKings. The Boilermakers have won two straight games by double digits, including an 80-60 win against Penn State on Wednesday.

Indiana (15-7, 6-5) had its five-game winning streak snapped in a 66-55 loss at Maryland on Tuesday, failing to cover the spread as a 3-point underdog. The Hoosiers fell into a tie for fourth place in the conference, but they could add a massive win to their NCAA Tournament resume on Saturday.

Purdue has dominated this head-to-head series in recent years, winning 10 of the last 11 games. The Boilermakers have also covered the spread at a 10-4-1 clip in their last 15 games against Indiana.

DraftKings opened Purdue as a slight 1.5-point road favorite on Friday afternoon, while KenPom has the Boilermakers winning by two points. Saturday’s total opened at 141, which is the exact same total as when Purdue picked up a 69-67 victory as a 10-point home favorite when these teams met last March.

The Boilermakers are off to their best start in school history, and they do not have another ranked team currently listed on their schedule outside of a rematch with Indiana later this month. They were able to avoid getting caught in a lookahead spot on Wednesday, cruising to a 20-point win over Penn State.

Backup Mason Gillis scored 29 points and knocked down nine 3-pointers, which were the most ever by a Purdue player at Mackey Arena. Star center Zach Edey had another solid game, posting a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds following his 38-point showing against Michigan State last Sunday. Edey is approaching “lock” territory as far as the Wooden Award is concerned, listed at -1000 in the latest odds at DraftKings.

He powers an offense that ranks second in adjusted efficiency and third in offensive rebounding percentage in KenPom’s metrics. Edey is averaging 22.0 points and 13.0 rebounds per game, while freshman guard Fletcher Loyer is adding 12.4 points. They are facing an Indiana defense that is also a top-25 team in average height, and the Hoosiers are No. 39 in adjusted efficiency.

Their offense, which has been their strength at No. 25 in adjusted efficiency, let them down in their loss to Maryland earlier this week. They shot just 3 of 11 from 3-point range and turned the ball over 12 times.

“Our perimeter play was non-existent tonight,” Indiana head coach Mike Woodson said. “They shoot 30 percent, 20-something percent from the 3, you’ve got to think that you can’t win a game when that happens.”

Jalen Hood-Schifino, who is the team’s second-leading scorer with 12.3 points per game, scored just three points on 1 of 14 shooting. Veteran forward Trayce Jackson-Davis scored 18 points and grabbed 20 rebounds, surpassing the 1,000-rebound mark for his career. He has been Indiana’s best player this season, averaging 19.5 points and 11.2 rebounds.

The Hoosiers come into this game ranked inside the top 40 nationally in 3-point percentage (38.0) and 2-point percentage (54.5), but their free-throw shooting (70.1) is No. 226. They are facing a Purdue defense that is No. 24 in effective field goal percentage and No. 15 in rebounding—the Boilermakers are No. 324 in turnover rate, though.

Indiana is 11-1 in its last 12 home games, although it is just 4-9 ATS in its last 13 games this season. Purdue is 6-2-1 ATS during its nine-game winning streak, but it is winless ATS in its last seven Saturday games.

The pick: Indiana +1.5

It’s never easy to fade the top team in the country as a small favorite, but college basketball presents plenty of those opportunities. I am not a big fan of this matchup for Purdue, which will be playing in its loudest atmosphere of the season. The Boilermakers have inexperienced guards, do not shoot well from the perimeter and are facing an Indiana team that actually has enough height to bother them in the paint. The Hoosiers are an offensive-minded team that plays much better at home, and they also have an experienced roster. I trust them to understand the magnitude of this game, while Purdue can afford a loss in the grand scheme of things.

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