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February 15, 2013

Game 25: Indiana

Purdue had high hopes going into its last meeting with rival Indiana, which it'll face again Saturday at 2 p.m. in Bloomington, as the Boilermakers complete their regular season series with the top-ranked Hoosiers.

The first time around, Purdue was coming off four wins in the five games prior. The schedule played a role, as all those wins came over unranked, or flat-out struggling, teams.

Nevertheless, things were looking up for a Purdue team that appeared to have gotten significantly better from the early part of the season.

Then, Indiana visited Mackey Arena and won by 37, the worst loss ever suffered by Purdue on its home soil.

Since, Purdue's lost three of its last four and not looked good doing it, losing those games by an average margin of 16 points, with the win coming over last-place Penn State.

It begs the question, then, of what impact the first IU game had on a team that's been labeled by its coach for much of the season as "immature."

"I don't think there's any correlation," guard Terone Johnson said of whether that loss broke Purdue in any way, "but obviously we haven't played as hard as we did the games before that. But I don't think there's any correlation at all."

Effort has been a recurring theme as things have gone sideways on the Boilermakers lately.

"That one's obviously a tough one to get over," senior D.J. Byrd said of Indiana's 97-60 win Jan. 30. "The last couple games we've fought hard to get a stop, but then they'd get an offensive rebound and it doesn't really help us at all. As a team we have to collectively play harder and do what we're supposed to do. That's been the emphasis ever since that game."

To put things in perspective for Saturday, a Purdue win in Bloomington would go down as the biggest upset of the college basketball season and probably the greatest upset in the history of the rivalry between the Boilermakers and Hoosiers.

A Boilermaker win Saturday would go down probably as the greatest upset in school history.

But for Purdue to even give itself a chance, players say, the effort has to be there.

"It's going to be interesting for us to see who comes out and plays hard," Terone Johnson said, "because it shows a lot about a player after we had a loss like we had (at Illinois) and after a loss like the one we had to them at home."

Projected Lineups
G: Terone Johnson
G: Ronnie Johnson
F: D.J. Byrd
F: Donnie Hale
C: A.J. Hammons

G: Jordan Hulls (6-0, 182, Sr.)
G: Yogi Ferrell (6-0, 178, Fr.)
F: Victor Oladipo (6-5, 214, Jr.)
F: Christian Watford (6-9, 232, Sr.)
C: Cody Zeller (7-0, 240, So.)

IU made 12 threes on 25 tries last time against Purdue and made all but one of its 20 foul shots. ... In its past five games, IU collectively has shot 45.7 percent from three-point range. ... Watford's been extremely consistent on offense, scoring in double-figures in each of the past 15 games. ... Oladipo leads the Big Ten in field goal percentage as a wing player, shooting 64.4 percent, and has made at least half his shots in 10 of Indiana's 12 league games, the lone exceptions being a pair of 3-for-7 games. Zeller is second at just under 60 percent. ... Zeller's lived up to his billing in big games lately, going for 19 and 10 against Michigan on 8-of-10 shooting and going for 24 and eight rebounds on 8-of-11 shooting at Ohio State.

About Purdue: Roster | Schedule | Statistics

About Indiana: Roster | Schedule | Statistics

Broadcast Info
Game time: 2 p.m.
Radio: Purdue Sports Network (95.7 FM locally)
Internet: GoldandBlack.com subscribers can follow along live with our in-game blog, "Game Day Live."

Things to think about

1. Last game against Indiana, Hammons went for a Purdue season-high 30 points.

After the game, IU coach Tom Crean went out of his way to note multiple times that the Hoosiers never double-teamed the Boilermaker center.

"I scored 30 points last time," Hammons said, "so I know they're going to be on me tough."

Many of those points came off dunks, as the 7-footer seemed more energized than he's been at any other point this season.

"I just came out hyped and it just happened," he said. "I started running the floor and getting dunks and feeling good, so I just kept doing it."

That said, much of his scoring came after Purdue was down 20-plus after he'd gotten in early foul trouble.

"When you lose by 37 points, I don't know if anybody really can have a big game," Painter said. "I told him he could have scored 66 points and we'd still have gotten beat. A.J. scored a lot of points after we were down. ... He needs to score points when they matter, early in the game, throughout the game and definitely at the end of the game, if the game's close."

2. How can Purdue function offensively? Last time between these two teams, the Boilermakers played almost as great a role as Indiana did in the game getting out of hand, with bad shots and turnovers.

"Especially with a team like Indiana that presses and gets into the basketball, just taking off and driving with your head down and trying to take on the world is not the answer," Painter said. "If we didn't learn that lesson last time ... We have to do a better job handling pressure, moving the basketball, being more patient but also taking some things once we get angles or numbers and create some advantages. You have to take advantage. It's just a read and being a good basketball player and being decisive when you have to. It's also easier said than done."

3. Offensive rebounds triggered Indiana's blowout last meeting between these teams. Offensive rebounds triggered Illinois' blowout last time out for Purdue. That will be kind of important.

4. Will Purdue simply show some fight/pride, whichever term you want to use, in the face of overwhelming odds? Too many of these games have more or less been over before they really started, just one of the many things that have been so unlike Purdue this season.

5. Can Terone Johnson and Byrd produce? When Purdue and Indiana last met, Purdue's two most prominent upperclassmen combined for as many turnovers (eight) as they did points.

GoldandBlack.com Prediction: Well, when these two teams last played, IU won by 37 at Purdue. Again, if Purdue gets this one, it'll go down as the greatest upset in school history, which tells you what the Boilermakers are up against.

Indiana 82, Purdue 62

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