It’s now going on three years since the last time the Purdue Boilermakers defeated the Indiana Hoosiers in basketball. Throw in last November’s 20-point beatdown the Boilermakers received by the Hoosiers’ football team, and you get a solid picture of how desperate fans are to see Purdue pull out a victory on Saturday.
Both teams are on the bubble, and that’s really pushing it, for the NCAA Tournament. The only reason you can say they are on the bubble is due to the season not being over, they play in arguably the toughest conference in the nation and they each have four games remaining against current Top 25 teams. The likelihood of either team going on a 2011 Connecticut Huskies type of run is slim-to-none, but the possibility is always there.
With that said a victory in this game will not propel either team forward in their hunt for a tournament bid. But for Purdue, a win over IU would be a consolation prize for their fans if they do end up missing the Big Dance.
We could throw out a ton of statistics to show which team should have the upper hand, but once that tip goes up those statistics become meaningless. Just ask the Michigan Wolverines about their game against IU. Instead we are going to tell you the truth: this game is going to come down to whether IU’s Yogi Ferrell or Purdue’s A.J. Hammons has a better game.
What do IU’s victories over No. 3 Wisconsin Badgers and No. 10 Michigan have in common? Ferrell went off for 20-plus points. Purdue hasn’t beat a ranked team this season, but what do the majority of their 14 wins have in common? Hammons played like the NBA prospect he is.
It’s safe to say heading into this game the Hoosiers have the better squad this year, with Ferrell and freshman NBA prospect Noah Vonleh. While both squads have essentially the same record, Purdue is 14-10 and IU is 14-9, the quality wins that the Hoosiers have grabbed over the past month are better than anything the Boilermakers have done all season.
It’s sad to think Purdue’s season is essentially over despite having seven regular season games and the Big Ten tournament to go, but if they can pull out a victory of their most hated rival, then most fans can live with calling this season a wash.