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February 14, 2014

Rivals clash for only time this season

It's not been a banner season for basketball in the Hoosier state and Purdue and Indiana are prime examples. The in-state rivals are tied for ninth in the Big Ten and not part of the discussion for the moment when it comes to the NCAA tournament.

Saturday the two programs meet for only time this season. That adds even more weight to the battle in what is truly a "pick-em" game. No doubt the winner will feel a little better about their season and direction.

The two rivals come into the Mackey Arena battle with a number of similarities:
  • Same overall record of 14-10
  • Same Big Ten record of 4-7
  • Feature a four year senior that much was expected of this year -- Terone Johnson for Purdue, Will Sheehey for Indiana
  • Have grad transfers that were at other programs last year playing in the main rotation -- Errick Peck (Cornell) and Sterling Carter (Seattle U) at Purdue, Evan Gordon (Arizona State) at Indiana
  • Both are coming off "implosion" type losses. Indiana imploded down the stretch in giving away a 66-65 game to Penn State at home on Wednesday. Purdue completely fell apart the final 10 minutes, scoring a season low 49 points in an 18-point loss at Ohio State last Saturday.
  • Are devoid of any scholarship juniors
  • Play a number of freshmen and sophomores
  • Turnover problems are common. Indiana is worst in the league, Purdue is not much better
  • Offensive rebounding is a strength for both. Purdue leads the league in offensive rebound percentage and Indiana is third in league games. For the season as a whole, both are top 30 nationally.
  • Rely quite a bit on their big man in the middle (A.J Hammons/Purdue, Noah Vonleh/Indiana)
  • Also rely on a quick sophomore point guard from Indianapolis (Ronnie Johnson/Purdue, Yogi Ferrell/Indiana
One could also probably argue that both head coaches are taking on a little heat despite previous success at their program. A victory tomorrow would at least temporarily calm the masses.

Indiana's job on Saturday got that much tougher when it learned on Friday morning that reserve post player Hanner Mosquera-Perea had been arrested for on a Class A misdemeanor for operating while intoxicated (OWI). No punishment has been handed down but don't expect him to play on Saturday.

Mosquera-Perea was only averaging 2.9 points and 2.3 boards but had played in all 29 games and has been Noah Vonleh's primary backup up front.

"You want everybody prepared and ready to play, so we'll deal with that as it comes," said Tom Crean on Friday morning. "Bottom line is everybody has to be ready to step up, go into a situation where they impact the team. Whether it be Jeff Howard, Devin Davis, whatever it is."

The game features a number of Indianapolis area players. The Boilers currently start three Indy players and the Hoosiers have four different scholarship guys from the city.

"Players on both teams have known each other a long time," said Yogi Ferrell on Friday. "It's fun to play them but you realize every game, becomes the most important game of the season."

The Boilermakers will be looking to take advantage of Indiana's inability this season to take care of the basketball. The Hoosiers average 15.4 per game and turned it over 20 times in Wednesday's loss to Penn State.

"It makes me feel like if we can get after some of their guys - I think they have three or four freshmen (playing) - that's always a green light for me, being an aggressive defender," guard Sterling Carter said. "I've been playing for five years and I know what it was like playing as a freshman. I'm always going to be in attack mode that way."

Look for a hostile crowd as Boilermaker fans haven't had much to cheer about in recent clashes between the two rivals. Indiana has won the last four meetings and in the two games last year won by an average margin of 32.5 points.

This is an ESPN broadcast that tips at 4:00 p.m. Bob Wischusen and Dan Dakich will have the call.

For more on Purdue, check out the Hoosier Game Day page.

Projected Purdue starters and key reserves with current year stats:

Starters:

Pos. # Player Ht Wt Year Home PPG Other
G
0
Teron Johnson
6-3
198
Senior
Indianapolis, Ind.
12.2
3.8 apg
G
1
Sterling Carter
6-0
193
Senior
Seattle, Wash.
4.3
1.8 rpg
G
3
Ronnie Johnson
6-0
178
Sophomore
Indianapolis, Ind.
10.5
3.8 apg
F
32
Errick Peck
6-6
223
Senior
Indianapolis, Ind.
4.4
5.0 rpg
C
20
A.J. Hammons
7-0
250
Sophomore
Gary, Ind.
10.9
7.4 rpg

Key reserves:

Pos. # Player Ht Wt Year Home PPG Other
G
21
Kendall Stephens
6-6
193
Freshman
St. Charles, Ill.
7.5
1.5 rpg
F
5
Basil Smotherman
6-5
222
Freshman
Indianapolis, Ind.
5.5 3.9 rpg
G
12
Bryson Scott
6-1
201
Freshman
Fort Wayne, Ind.
6.9
2.5 rpg
F
35
Rapheal Davis
6-5
211
Sophomore
Fort Wayne, Ind.
4.6
2.8 rpg


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