#5 Purdue Basketball at Northwestern Wildcats: Stats, FYIs, Metrics

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Time and time again, Jaden Ivey has bailed out this Purdue basketball team. The all-everything guard, described by Illini coach Brad Underwood as the “Ja Morant of college basketball,” shook off a really bad game to make the big game-winning three-point-play that rescued the Boilermakers on Super Sunday, as they grinded out a very ugly win over a rather mediocre Maryland Terrapins team on national television.
Earlier in the week, Ivey took over in the second half against Illinois, with 22 points and three assists in the second stanza as the Boilers turned a two-point deficit into a 16-point blowout win.

#5 Purdue Basketball at Northwestern Wildcats FYIs

For my radio spot preview of this game, check out my segment on KOZN 1620 The Zone Omaha.
Tip time is 8pm, on Wednesday, Feb 16. It will be televised on BTN.
ESPN Matchup Predictor has it at 76% probability that Purdue basketball wins this thing.
Fast Fact: depending on which metric you look at, this Purdue basketball team has the no. 1 offense in the country. Their top ranked offensive efficiency didn’t show in front of a national audience on CBS yesterday, but the flow is really there; most of the time.
Records: Purdue Basketball 22-4, 11-4 in the Big Ten, Northwestern is 12-11, 5-9 in the league.

Rankings Round-Up

Earlier this season, Purdue ascended to their first #1 ranking in program history. Entering this game, Purdue is #7 in the coaches poll, #5 in AP, #12 in KenPom, #9 in the NET. ESPN project them as the #1 seed in the East region, staying close to home, by heading the field in Indianapolis, in their latest bracket projection.

Northwestern is #65 in NET #60 in Kenpom. They can exploit Purdue’s defensive weaknesses in this game, especially out on the perimeter, as backcourt defending is Boiler ball’s biggest weakness. However, the Wildcats will also need some help on other end too.

This Purdue basketball team has 7 guys shotting over 40% from 3, and they average 9 3s made per game.

Northwestern Wildcats Realistic Goals

Right now, NU is off the line of teams that would have to play in the Wednesday night of the Big Ten Tournament. That’s absolutely huge, as

1.) staying closer to the middle of the pack means they could be in line with a NIT berth come selection Sunday and

2.) starting their conference tournament campaign on Thursday means they at least still have a puncher’s chance of winning the whole thing and grabbing that automatic NCAAs berth.

A .500 in the league season is not in the cards for them, but they can still finish above .500 overall, and doing so, plus doing some work in Indianapolis would mean they could have some kind of postseason for the first time in a half-decade. For a big picture look at the state of the season and the program, go here.

Purdue Basketball NBA Draft Stock Report

The Boilermakers are in line for a #1 seed because there are two more NBA prospects on their roster, beyond just the alpha dog in Ivey.

Zack Edey, Purdue C

He projects as a mid-late 2nd rounder. “We obviously know about his size and development,” said Underwood.

Trevion Williams, Purdue C

Williams is basically an end of the first round, beginning of the 2nd round kind of prospect. We covered his NBA Draft stock more at this link. “Everything starts with him,” Underwood said, “tenacious rebounder, great passer.”

The Williams and Edey combo gives you 27 and 15 every night, put that with Ivey, when he’s on, plus Sasha Stefanovic who recently broke out of a shooting slump, and well that’s almost impossible stop.

northwestern basketball

Prediction: Purdue basketball 77, Northwestern 71

This will be tougher for Painter’s crew than you might think. Look for the Cats to once again come close, keep it respectable, but ultimately, not get over the hump at the end.

Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”

He has regularly appeared in WGNSports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, and co-hosts the After Extra Time podcastFollow him on Twitter and Instagram

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