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February 15, 2014

Quick Thoughts: Purdue

What just happened
The drastic difference one year can make in college basketball was on full display at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind., Saturday afternoon.

After defeating Purdue in the same building by 37 points last season, Indiana basketball found itself on the opposite end of the spectrum this time around, losing to the Boilers by a final score of 82-64.

It was an offensive nightmare for the Hoosiers, who shot an abysmal 32.2 percent from the field (19-of-59). Combined with Purdue's hot day from the field -- the Boilers shot 48.1 percent from the field, including 10-of-17 from beyond the arc -- what was originally presumed to be a competitive game quickly became a massacre.

Three Hoosiers (14-11, 4-8) scored in double figures, led by Yogi Ferrell's 27 points.

What it means
IU's loss to Purdue marks the end of a dominant stretch for the Hoosiers against their intrastate rival.

Prior to today's game, IU had won four consecutive matchups against Purdue, sweeping both season series in both the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons. The loss also drops IU to 14-11 overall and 4-8 in Big Ten Conference play.

And as of this publication, that would put the Hoosiers alone in 10th place in the conference.

How it happened
IU found itself in hot water early on, as freshman center Noah Vonleh picked up his second foul of the game at the 13:15 mark of the first half, which forced him to sit for the majority of that remaining span.

Without Vonleh on the floor, the Hoosiers appeared lost offensively. Vonleh's absence meant IU was unable to run the high screen action he is so crucial in initiating.

Thus, IU had more than a difficult time piecing together any semblance of an offense. Unlike against Penn State at Assembly Hall on Wednesday evening, head coach Tom Crean's squad failed to consistently cut through the lane and attack the basket with authority along with excellent ball movement.

Rather, IU was timid and uncertain in its decision-making on the offensive end of the floor, which resulted in the Hoosiers' 14 total turnovers.

The putrid offensive play was evidenced by a particular stretch that spanned from the first half to the second. After a Jeff Howard layup at the 2:33 mark of the first half, the Hoosiers didn't convert another field goal until a Ferrell three-point jumper at the 13:08 mark of the second half. The lesson to be learned here is that when a team's number of turnovers is close to that of made field goals, there's a problem.

Key player
Ferrell was, far and away, IU's best player against Purdue.

The sophomore point guard poured in 27 of IU's 64 total points on the afternoon. If there's a positive to be taken away from today's game, it's that Ferrell will always provide consistent scoring even when his team experiences the types of offensive droughts it had today.

Key stat
Today's key stat is easily IU's shooting percentage (32.2 percent).

Unsurprisingly, offense was the Hoosiers' downfall. Considering they had shot 51 percent from the field against Penn State on Wednesday, the performance became even more worrisome for Crean and Co.


As always, feel free to email me with any questions, thoughts or comments at Ckillore@Indiana.edu.


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