Purdue and Indiana are two of the top defensive teams in the Big Ten, which could make for another physical, grinding game when the Hoosiers host the Boilermakers on Thursday night in Bloomington.
Indiana (8-5, 3-3 Big Ten) ranks 14th nationally per KenPom in adjusted defensive efficiency, while Purdue ranks 36th.
“Both teams try their best to have a defensive mentality,” Indiana coach Archie Miller said. “Purdue, a very physical team. They’re getting better as the season continues to progress because of their depth. They are playing a lot of different guys …
“For us, we’ve hung our hat on that. I don’t think we’re playing as well defensively as we once were, earlier in the year. We’re also playing a lot of different combinations of players here recently and our depth inside is challenged.”
Indiana has been led by Trayce Jackson-Davis (20.1 points per game, 9.3 rebounds per game), who earned Big Ten co-player of the week honors after posting double-doubles in three straight games last week against Maryland, Wisconsin and Nebraska. Jackson-Davis is tied for the national lead in free throws made (79) and leads the nation in free throws attempted (111), and is tied for second the Big Ten in minutes per game, averaging 34.5.
“He’s doing an unbelievable job for us under some circumstances where he’s having to handle a load,” Miller said.
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Purdue (8-5, 3-3) has won seven straight in the rivalry between the two schools. The Boilermakers are coming off a dramatic, 55-54 win at Michigan State. In the game, Purdue rallied from down 15 points at halftime to win on a short jumper by Trevion Williams with 4.5 seconds remaining. Williams scored 26 points in the win on 9 of 14 shooting from the floor.
“In that second half, we really executed plays well,” Purdue guard Sasha Stefanovic said. “We cut really hard. They were taking away certain things that we were able to get catches and then look inside and Trevion was able to get easy looks.”
Williams leads three Purdue players averaging double-figures on the season, scoring 15.0 points per game. The Boilermakers will look to continue to take that balanced approach into the Indiana game.
“When we set screens and we execute plays, we’re a really hard team to beat,” Williams said.
–Field Level Media
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