Battle for Hoosier State Supremecy: A Preview By the NumbersPosted by Brendan Brody & Alex Moscoso on February 15th, 2014
Heading into Saturday’s game in West Lafayette, Indiana and Purdue both currently sit in the bottom third of the Big Ten standings with matching 4-7 conference records. In addition to playing for state bragging rights in one of the best Big Ten rivalries, both teams are clinging to quickly fading NCAA Tournament hopes. Brendan Brody and Alex Moscoso decided to look at some key numbers for the upcoming game in the form of predicting some over/unders to try to figure out who will come away with the win on Saturday afternoon (4:00 PM EST, ESPN).
Yogi Ferrell over/under 25 points+assists
Alex Moscoso: I’m definitely taking the over. Ferrell is a fantastic college player because he comes up big when Indiana needs him the most. When the Hoosiers upset then-undefeated Wisconsin a few weeks ago, the sophomore put up 25 points and four assists. Against Michigan (undefeated at the time in Big Ten play), he put up 27 points and a couple of assists. Now, his team needs him to step up to get to the right side of the bubble, and I think he’ll deliver.
AJ Hammons over/under 10 rebounds
Brendan Brody: Hammons will have fewer than 10 rebounds in this one. Indiana has outrebounded its opponent in each of their last five games. They’ve also only allowed one player (Jordan Morgan) to grab double-figure boards against them in those games. Purdue does do a pretty good job cleaning the glass, especially on the offensive end, but the combination of Indiana’s rebounding prowess and the potential for Hammons to be in foul trouble at some point in the game makes the prediction 10+ boards too risky.
Indiana over/under 17 turnovers
AM: Indiana’s turnover woes are well known — the Hoosiers average 15.6 turnovers per game and are last in the conference in turnover percentage at 23.5%. But the Boilermakers are not very skilled at forcing turnovers; they’re 10th in the league in turnover percentage themselves. For that reason, I’ll take the under. Given the importance of this game to the rest of their season, I bet that the Hoosiers will make extra sure that they take care of the ball on Saturday.
Purdue over/under 6 made threes
BB: This one is also going to be under. The Hoosiers have held teams to a 29.6 percent long range shooting on the year, and Purdue really doesn’t have anyone outside of freshman Kendall Stephens who can consistently beat teams from behind the arc. The way Purdue is going to put points on the board in this one is by creating live-ball turnovers. This will allow Terone and Ronnie Johnson to get out in the open floor and use their speed to get into the paint. If they can do that and get Hammons the ball in the paint on a consistent basis, they won’t need to shoot from deep.
Indiana over/under 20 free throw attempts
AM: I’ll go under on this one. Although the Hoosiers are effective at getting to the line, they’ve only had more than 20 trips to the foul line in two of their last eight games. Secondly, while Purdue has had their fair share of problems, needless fouling isn’t one of them. Additionally, if Ferrell gets hot from behind the arc, they’ll go to him for the three-ball, which will take away opportunities at the charity stripe.
Purdue over/under 65 points scored
BB: Despite evidence to the contrary, Purdue will score over 65 points on Saturday. The Boilermakers are by no means an offensive juggernaut but the fact that they will be playing in a rivalry game at home will lead to a more frantic pace. The Hoosiers are going to still be a little shell-shocked from the Penn State game, and Purdue’s young players will be able to take advantage of this. Young players tend to play better at home, and this level of comfort will enable Purdue to make some key shots that they’ve been struggling to make.
Noah Vonleh over/under six field goal attempts
AM: Once again, I’m going to take the under. Vonleh has had six or fewer field goal attempts in three of his last five games. And this time, the talented freshman will be going up against the league’s premier rim-protector in Hammons. He is leading the conference in total blocks (73), and it’s not even close. If Indiana is going to win in West Lafayette, it will have to do so staying away from Hammons and doing it from the perimeter.
Kendall Stephens over/under two made threes
BB: I’m going to take the over on this one. Stephens has shown not only that he can make threes, but he can make them from deep. Malik Smith and Ben Brust might be the only two Big Ten players who take and make more NBA threes than Stephens. He’s shooting 37.3 percent on the year, but he’s one of those shooters who just looks like he’s going to make it every time he takes one. His high-water mark for the season is only 14 points, so I’m predicting a breakout game to the tune of 20+ points in addition to four or five threes.