Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Indiana 77, Purdue 68.

Yeah, yeah, I shouldn't have mentioned the turnovers. In my preview, I noted that after a rough start, IU had stopped turning the ball over so often. Purdue's defense lived up to its billing in that respect (although a decent number were self-inflicted). This was a fast-paced game, about 74 possessions, so the 23 turnovers aren't quite as bad as they look, but still very, very bad. Fortunately, thanks to solid man defense and just a bad shooting night by Purdue, the Hoosiers were able to overcome their ball-handling woes. Purdue shot only 34 percent from the field and 52 percent from the line. Thanks to its characteristic valuing of the ball (only 5 turnovers), Purdue attempted 30 more shots than IU (72 to 42) but made only five more field goals (25-20). IU won the game at the foul line, make 30-34 free throws. The foul disparity wasn't as significant as the Boilers will claim (26 to 17 in number of fouls called, 34-21 in free throw attempts), but IU certainly was effective at getting to the line in the second half. The Hoosiers rebounded well, grabbing 37 of Purdue's 51 misses (OR% of 27.45) and 9 of 25 opportunities (36%) on the offensive end.
After a 7-1 start in the Big Ten, IU entered a critical stretch: a nasty game at Illinois, a quick turnaround at Ohio State, and then three home games against the three other Big Ten title contenders. Considering all that has surrounded the program in recent weeks, 4-1 with 3 comfortable wins is a pretty solid performance. It probably won't be enough to give IU its first outright Big Ten title in 15 years, but the Hoosiers remain in the hunt, along with Purdue and Wisconsin, for a share of the title. IU's road trip to Michigan State is by far the toughest remaining game for any of the true contenders, but IU should win every other game. Wisconsin hosts Michigan State and has theoretically losable games at Ohio State at Illinois. Purdue has to go to Ohio State and has a road game against Michigan that looks a bit trickier than it did a couple of weeks ago.
The individuals:
  • DJ White was amazing, and Steve Lavin is campaigning for national POY consideration. White scored 19 points on 11 shots and 15 rebounds, including 6 offensive rebounds.
  • All three starting guards handled the ball poorly, but Eric Gordon ended up with 22 points on 14 shots.
  • Armon Bassett is inconsistent but his good games are amazing: 16 points on 5 shots.
  • Kyle Taber had his most productive game: 6 points on 3-3 from the field, 5 rebounds, and no turnovers. Since he began playing meaningful minutes against Northwestern, Taber is 5-6 from the field, 2-2 from the line, nearly 3 rebounds per game, and only two turnovers in approximately 106 minutes played. Who would have guessed it even a month ago?
Of course, IU plays next at Northwestern on Saturday, and it's unclear who will coach the Hoosiers in that game. So, the soap opera stuff seems likely to dominate the next few days, but the team should be proud of its effort and accomplishments over the last few days.


T-Mill said...

Indiana certainly deserved that game. We shot terribly. I would love to see a rematch in West Lafayette with Purdue winning, then a rubber match at Conseco for the Big Ten tourney final.

Dan Meyer said...

As a Purdue fan, I can understand White being chosen Player of Game based on courage as well as performance points, but I consider Bassett the Player of the Game; not only for unconscious three-point shooting but for getting Grant in foul trouble.