Indiana, Purdue destined for physical, low-scoring matchup
When Indiana battles Purdue on Thursday, it will be a game of strength and toughness.
Make no mistake about it: as long as Archie Miller and Matt Painter the coaches of Indiana and Purdue, the matchup between these two teams is going to be a slugfest. Purdue tops the Big Ten in defense (64.0 points per game) and ranks second-to-last in scoring (66.2 points per game).
Both teams rank in the top-35 in defensive efficiency, according to KenPom (IU - 14; PU - 35).
"Both teams obviously try their best to have a defensive mentality. Purdue is a very physical team," Archie Miller said in his Wednesday press conference. "Without question, the paint is as tough as its going to get in a game where you are playing against those guys."
That kind of physicality may prove to be a challenge for a Hoosier team that just had one of its' busiest weeks this season.
"Playing three games in seven days, we have a lot of wear-and-tear on our bodies and we are trying to get recovered and get ready to play," Miller commented.
The Hoosiers will have to fight through that fatigue to secure their first win against Purdue in the Archie Miller era. Purdue is going to try and out-physical Indiana and rely on the post play of Trevion Williams to lead them to victory.
One thing Purdue has proven they're willing to do is double, triple, or even quadruple team the post. They sold out to stop both Iowa's Luka Garza and Illinois' Kofi Cockburn, and it won't be any different when they play Trayce Jackson-Davis.
The Hoosiers had better come prepared to counter this strategy. In the eyes of Miller, they could improve in that area.
"One of the big reasons why we weren't successful here lately is handling post traps and being able to -- offensively -- play and execute and be able to get a quality shot when they're taking away looks," Miller noted.
"I think being able to play off the doubles, being able to attack the paint you got to be smart. But at the same time, the game comes down to being able to make some open shots. It really does. For our team, it continues to be about controlling what you can control and when guys are open, they have to be able to step in and do a good job at being ready to shoot it or ready to attack it."
To win this game, Indiana will have to do a few things exceedingly well.
"A big thing for us is to take care of the ball above all cost and we are going to have to keep them off the boards. I think they're one of the best rebounding teams in the country," Miller said of Purdue.
Given how physical and defense-oriented this game will likely be, it will also be imperative for Indiana to make open threes when the opportunities are presented. Four of Purdue's five losses have come when the opposing team has shot 35 percent or better from three. Six of their eight wins have come when the opponent has shot below 35 percent from three.
It is going to be a low-scoring, grind-it-out affair in Bloomington on Thursday night. The team with the most three-pointers and rebounds and fewest turnovers will almost surely walk out with the victory.