Coming off a heartbreaking game against the Michigan Wolverines, the Purdue Boilermakers (15-13, 5-10 Big Ten) will be eying their first victory over a Top 25 team when they take on the No. 20 Iowa Hawkeyes (19-9, 8-7 Big Ten) this afternoon.
Purdue will need to take advantage of the momentum their previous game gave them and Iowa’s current woes. The Hawkeyes are coming off their own heartbreaking loss to the Indiana Hoosiers, which was their third loss in a row.
When you compare these two squads statically it’s not even close. The Hawkeyes rank fifth in the nation in points per game (83.6), fourth in rebounds (42.0), 12th in assists (16.3), 43rd in field goal percentage (47.2 percent), and 34th in blocks (5.2), per ESPN.com. While Iowa’s offense is one of the best in the nation, their defense is lacking the same dominance, allowing opposing teams to score an average of 69.6 ppg, 160th best in the nation.
Purdue on the other hand ranks 133rd in points (72.9), 19th in rebounds (39.2), 147th in assists (13.1) and 260th in field goal percentage (42.7 percent). Defensive wise they are just as bad, giving up 71.3 points per game, 214th best in the nation.
This game could be a high-scoring affair, with the winner being whichever team’s offense is better. The Boilermakers will need another strong showing from Ronnie Johnson and Terone Johnson who scored 21 and 22 points, respectively, in their previous game. A.J. Hammons will also need to continue to be productive and stay out of foul trouble, which you could argue is what cost Purdue the game against Michigan.
The Hawkeyes are clearly the better team. Their stats and record show it and the eyeball test shows it as well. Purdue is going to have their hands full with Iowa’s Roy Marble, trying to figure out how to hold him closer to his season average of 17 ppg as he’s averaged 21.6 over the last three.
Both teams enter on three-game losing streaks. Only one team can win and only one team will leave the Carver-Hawkeye Arena with a four-game losing streak. Purdue fans can only hope the basketball gods smile down on them and put an end to their suffering.