Indiana lost at Maryland on Tuesday and Purdue protected home court on Wednesday against Penn State, setting up Saturday's rivalry game at Assembly Hall. I was at Mackey Arena on Wednesday, and here are some quick thoughts and concerns for the Hoosiers prior to their matchup against the nation's No. 1 team.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue dismantled Penn State in every facet on Wednesday, cruising to an 80-60 win.
It was my first trip to Mackey Arena, and it definitely lived up to the hype. Mason Gillis’ three 3-pointers in the first two minutes of the second half caused roars up that were the loudest I’ve heard at a sporting event. With this win, the Boilermakers hold a commanding lead in the Big Ten standings at 22-1 overall and 11-1 in conference play.
Next up for Purdue is an in-state rivalry matchup against the No. 21-ranked Indiana Hoosiers on Saturday at Assembly Hall, which is sure to be another incredible atmosphere. Indiana was one of the Big Ten’s hottest teams for a couple weeks prior to Tuesday night’s letdown at Maryland. The Hoosiers lost 66-55 in College Park, which snapped a five-game win streak and moved Indiana to 15-7 overall and 6-5 in Big Ten play.
Now that Indiana and Purdue's midweek games are complete, here are some quick thoughts and concerns for the Hoosiers prior to their matchup against the nation's No. 1 team.
Foul trouble, offensive rebounds against Edey
The obvious concern with any team trying to guard 7-foot-4 Zach Edey is not letting him set up on the block with a defender on his back. Nearly every Purdue game, announcers stress the importance of limiting Edey's touches deep in the paint. There’s no doubt that’s true, but from an Indiana standpoint, perhaps more concerning is being able to guard Edey without fouling and limiting his offensive rebounds. Those were killers for Penn State on Wednesday, as he grabbed seven offensive rebounds, and Penn State fouled Edey six times. He finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds.
Foul trouble was a major problem for Indiana in its loss at Maryland on Tuesday, and that’s been true in too many games this season. Trayce Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson combined for just one foul on Tuesday, but Malik Reneau fouled out in 13 minutes of action. Trey Galloway picked up four fouls in 22 minutes against Maryland, and he and the Indiana guards will have to help dig down on Edey.
Jordan Geronimo’s status is still up in the air with a calf injury, meaning Logan Duncomb, if he returns from a non-COVID illness, could be in line for more minutes. It’ll be all hands on deck against Edey. One player won’t win the game on his own, but getting into foul trouble and allowing offensive rebounds against Edey in the process would be game over for Indiana.
Mason Gillis on the perimeter
Gillis, a 6-foot-6 junior forward, is usually known for his defense, rebounding and traits of the stereotypical “glue guy.” But on Wednesday, a different side Gillis shone through. He hit 7-of-10 3-point attempts in the first 22 minutes of the game, and he finished 9-for-12 from 3-point land, setting a Mackey Arena record and leading Purdue with 29 points. It’s unrealistic to expect him to hit another nine 3-pointers against Indiana – he entered the game shooting 32 percent from 3 with a single-game season-high two 3-pointers – but he’ll be confident as ever entering Saturday’s game.
Guys like Race Thompson, Malik Reneau, Miller Kopp and Jordan Geronimo, if he plays, will likely spend the most time on Gillis. Indiana has struggled against mobile forwards like Gillis – think Minnesota's Jamison Battle and Maryland's Donta Scott most recently – and the inside-out play with Gillis and Edey will challenge a potentially shorthanded Indiana front court. Penn State double-teamed Edey with a forward, which freed up Gillis, and the Nittany Lions were never able to adjust. With Fletcher Loyer as a 3-point threat as well, it will be interesting to see how Indiana balances their defensive approach to Purdue
Can Indiana force Purdue into mistakes?
Purdue’s starting backcourt of Braden Smith, Fletcher Loyer and Ethan Morton had a relatively quiet night on the offensive end. Smith shot 4-for-9 overall and 1-for-6 from 3, Loyer shot 2-for-8 overall and Morton scored just six points, but their impact did not go unnoticed. The trio took care of the ball, made the right decisions and powered a steady Purdue attack that kept Penn State at an arm’s length for most of the night. Smith’s nine assists and zero turnovers stood out in particular.
Indiana freshman point guard Jalen Hood-Schifino will spend a lot of time guarding Smith and Loyer, setting up a crucial matchup of freshman guards. Hood-Schifino scored 24 points against Ohio State on Saturday, but he shot a woeful 1-for-14 at Maryland. The Terrapins finished with just five turnovers on Tuesday, and Indiana is averaging more turnovers than its opponent this season.
Related stories on Indiana basketball
- GAME STORY: Indiana freshman guard Jalen Hood-Schifino had a rough night, going just 1-for-14 from the field and missing his first 11 shots in a 66-55 loss to Maryland in College Park. The points total was the second-lowest of the year and snapped the Hoosiers' five-game winning streak. CLICK HERE
- WHAT WOODSON SAID: Indiana coach Mike Woodson met with the media after Tuesday night's loss to Maryland. Here's the full video of his press conference, plus the transcript to read. CLICK HERE
- WHAT JACKSON-DAVIS SAID: Indiana forward Trayce Jackson-Davis met with the media after Tuesday night's loss to Maryland, which ended a five-game winning streak. Here's the full video of his press conference, plus the transcript to read. CLICK HERE
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