Much to the surprise of H.A.W.K.E.Y.E.S., Iowa beat North Dakota last week, and made it look easy.
There was the handshake thing. There really wasn’t much worth writing about in that contest, as the outcome was never in doubt. Two days later, Iowa trounced Delaware State, 89-57. If you look back, the computer had this game pretty spot on, and was only slightly off on the final score. Peter Jok went down and we all freaked out. Then Peter Jok came back in and looked just fine, and we all exhaled collectively. But we should have known he was O.K. because Jok is a superhero.
So the team from West Lafayette might be the
second best team Iowa has faced thus far this season. That said, Purdue hasn’t exactly played a murderer’s row, either. But they do have a win against Notre Dame, and their lone losses are to Villanova and Louisville. But with freshman guard Carsen Edwards now in charge in place of senior Spike Albrecht, the Boilermakers have found a groove, keeping most of their games well out of reach for the opponents. But the real offensive threat is Caleb Swanigan, who is averaging a double-double (18.3 points and 12.5 rebounds per game). Iowa will need to be even more aggressive on the boards to compete inside against big man Isaac Haas, as Iowa does not have anybody near the size of the Purdue center.
On its face, Purdue looks a lot like Iowa, save for the fact they have a dedicated big man in the paint, and his sole job is to clean up around the rim. And they can’t just keep the game outside, as Purdue is 11th in the country at three-pointers. This game is probably going to come down to turnovers, where Purdue has not been very aggressive this year, nor have they been particularly careful with the ball, ranking 234th in turnovers. If Iowa can take advantage of a few picked pockets, this game will be a lot of fun. Look for Nick Baer to have another pun-worthy game in this regard.
So what is the bottom line with the numbers? Well the computer is expecting a bit of a defensive struggle, with 79 possessions, but a low-scoring affair.
Breathe deeply, H.A.W.K.E.Y.E.S. likes Iowa at home here, 69-66 Hold onto your hats, H.A.W.K.E.Y.E.S. expects a close game in West Lafayette 70-70, with a slight edge to Purdue. What do you think? Go ahead and put your score predictions below in the comments.
(Sorry about the mistake here, I erroneously thought Iowa was playing this game in Iowa City.)