Just last month the Hawkeyes pushed Purdue to overtime before the good guys won by three points. We were surprised that the Boilers actually pulled victory from the jaws of defeat after seemingly blowing the game late. Will there be similar excitement and heroics tonight?
|This one's for Erik, the only acceptable Emo out there|
Why Purdue Will Win
Well, if Purdue can shoot above 50%, dish out 18 assists, and out-rebound the Hawkeyes by 20 like they did this weekend against Northwestern, then they may actually win a Big Ten road game! (wins at Penn State and Nebraska shouldn't really count as road wins since the arenas are mostly empty). Yes, that's a dig at Iowa who just lost at Nebraska after blowing a 16 point halftime lead. Seriously though, for Purdue to win they'll likely need AJ Hammons to flip his effort switch back to the "on" position. He's the clear mismatch for the Hawkeyes and opens up opportunities for Purdue's scorers (even if they only shoot 39% like they did when beating Iowa last time). Keeping the turnovers in check will also be key, since last time Purdue only gave the ball away seven times.
Why Iowa Will Win
It really depends on which Iowa team shows up - the one that destroyed Minnesota or the one that lost to Nebraska by shooting only 37% from the field? I expect it to be the former as the Hawkeyes scratch and claw their way to earn an NCAA Tourney bid. Also, if you look at their record, their only blowout loss was early in the conference season at Michigan. Otherwise they have played the tough teams well and almost beat Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Purdue on the road, and narrowly losing to IU and MSU at home. This Iowa team just can't seem to close out games, but otherwise they'd be the biggest surprise of the Big Ten season. With that added motivation and playing at home I expect them to come out on top.
One thing you absolutely need to know before the game
If you recall Erik's recap after round one, Melsahn Basabe had a beast of a final 10 minutes, leading the Hawkeye charge. He's definitely a player that is streaky and can either play lights out or disappear completely (as he did in their loss to Nebraska, a virtual nonfactor on offense or defense). Let's hope he's having a down game and doesn't carry over his enthusiasm playing against the Boilers. But Purdue also has an inconsistent secret weapon that showed his teeth last time these two teams played - Donnie Hale, who had 12 points and five rebounds while playing 29 minutes. Hale hasn't logged more than 10 minutes the last two games (after playing closer to 20 minutes per contest prior), so it'll be interesting to see if Coach Painter works him back into the rotation against a team where he had past success.
Our Picks - We like to think we're better than Vegas. So throughout the season, we'll be "betting" a whole dollar amount versus the spread between $1 and $32, but we can't repeat the same value twice. The spread for this game is Iowa by 9 (ouch).
Erik's Bet: $18
Erik's Pick: Purdue 63 - Iowa 62
Kirk's Bet: $3
Kirk's Pick: Iowa 61 - Purdue 55
Erik +281 (21-8 Against The Spread)
Kirk -132 (13-16 Against The Spread)
Values already bet
Erik 1-18, 21-32