College Basketball Game of the Week: No. 21 Indiana Aims to Top No. 1 Purdue
The college basketball season is approaching the end of its regular season and the Big Ten conference is following its usual trend.
The teams are beating one another up in the regular season, but the conferenceis expected to be well represented in the NCAA tournament.
The only two ranked teams in the Big Ten are set to face off when the No. 1 Purdue Boilermakers visit the No. 21 Indiana Hoosiers on Saturday.
Purdue’s only loss of the new year came on Jan. 2 and ever since, the Boilermakers have won nine games in a row.
Purdue’s success can be attributed to junior center Zach Edey. Edey ranks fourth in the nation in scoring with 22.0 points per game and second in rebounds per game with 13.0.
It seems like Edey is incapable of having a bad game as his shooting percentage dropped below 50% in only two games this season.
Junior forward Mason Gillis will look to start a hot streak for himself.
Gillis put up 29 points against Penn State on Wednesday and was able to drain nine of his 12 three-point attempts.
If Edey ends up going cold, Purdue might turn to the hot hand in Gillis to carry the offensive load.
Indiana might be able to prevent Edey from scoring in the paint because of senior forward Trayce Jackson-Davis.
Edey has a major height advantage on Jackson-Davis, but Jackson-Davis’s vertical athleticism may allow him to stop Edey.
His explosiveness also might allow him to out-rebound Edey as Jackson-Davis had at least 20 rebounds in two of his last three games.
But Indiana is coming into this game off a loss against Maryland. This double-digit defeat can be attributed to the lack of scoring support for Jackson-Davis.
Indiana’s second leading scorer Jalen Hood-Schifino went 1-for-14 from the field. Once March gets closer, he’ll have to improve his season shooting percentage of 41.4% and can’t have a repeat performance from the Maryland game.
Indiana is set to drop out of the ranking after Tuesday’s loss, but a win against Purdue can keep the team in the Top 25.
The Hoosiers can use a statement win as it seems every time they become ranked, they immediately drop out of the rankings.
If the Boilermakers take care of business for the rest of the season, they’ll end up as a number one seed in the NCAA tournament.
But the Big Ten has already proven to be a very tough conference and no win can be guaranteed.
Beating a ranked team led by one of the most athletic players in the country is never easy, especially on the road.
Both teams will look to obtain bragging rights in Indiana with a major win on Saturday.
Jayson O’Connell is a fourth-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.