Indiana visits Mackey Arena as the No.3 team in the country Wednesday night. Purdue enters the game with only a glimmer of hope for postseason play, but a win would provide confidence, and for a young team like Purdue, that is immeasurable.
3 KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Control the pace: Indiana is the second-highest scoring team in the country averaging 83.3 points per game. Center Cody Zeller and forward Victor Oladipo, in particular, are deadly in transition. Purdue needs to play this game in the half court as much as possible while getting baskets in transition when they are available. Slowing down the pace of the
game should bode well for Purdue (not to a pace like Wisconsin though, that is too slow for Purdue to be successful).
2. Get off to a reasonable start: Obviously this is key to every game. But this is very important for Purdue due to the atmosphere and the crowd expected in Mackey. If Purdue can even stay within five points for the first 10-12 minutes I think that is huge. Purdue’s crowd is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, advantage it will have. The last thing it wants is to be down 10 in the first five minutes, which will take the crowd totally out of the game.
3. Contain Victor Oladipo: Many people think containing Cody Zeller is the answer. That’s very important as well, and he very well could expose freshman center A.J. Hammons. But Zeller has struggled a little bit lately, while Oladipo is absolutely playing out of his mind. Last year, the Hoosiers came to West Lafayette and won 78-61. Oladipo scored 23 points and really was the reason Indiana won. Last Sunday against Michigan State, he scored 21 points, grabbed seven rebounds and had SIX steals. Oladipo can impact the game both offensively and defensively. Mismatches defensively for Purdue will probably spell trouble when defending him, but Purdue can be smart with the basketball and prevent breakaway dunks for him.