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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:
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: