Heads up! This article was imported from a previous version of The Campus Citizen. If you notice any issues, please let us know.

Purdue clinched a share of the Big Ten Championship with a win Saturday against Northwestern. However, they still lost to Minnesota on the road Tuesday. Meanwhile, Indiana pulled off two wins this week against Illinois and Rutgers as it looks to build its case for the NCAA Tournament.

For Purdue, the start of the week went rocky when they seemed to have had poor balance offensively. Star point guard Carsen Edwards was 7-31 from the field while Ryan Cline posted a statline of 17 points on 6-10 shooting and Nojel Eastern was 5-9 with 12 points and ten rebounds. It makes you wonder why Purdue did not look to get other players the ball when their star was 7-31.

I thought lots of opportunities were missed and Edwards caused some dysfunction. Purdue Coach Matt Painter however would disagree with that statement as he thought it was mostly the defense and Minnesota guard Amir Coffey dropping 32 points.

In a nutshell Amir Coffey was really good tonight, but we allowed Minnesota to get into transition too much," said Painter. "Whether that was poor decisions or tough long shots – anytime you allow talented players to have space and be able to play (you are in trouble). We were fortunate they missed layups in the second half. They got into transition and they simply missed shots at the rim and we were very fortunate that it happened. But we did not do a very good job in adjusting to how things were called.”

That loss put them at a disadvantage for the possibility of a Big Ten Championship but they got another chance for it against Northwestern Saturday and they pulled it off. That title was the 24th Big Ten Title for the Boilermakers, which is the most in league history.

In the second half, the trio of Carsen Edwards, Matt Haarms and Nojel Eastern scored 30 of 37 points in the second half. That is the type of stat that you want to see from this Purdue team as he has seen the development of his players grow this season.

“Last year we started off Big Ten play 12-0 and then obviously did not win it,” Painter said. “And I think a lot of times you look at guys in a certain way when in reality that is not the case. So we had some guys who came off the bench last year who proved they were starters this year… And I think the thing we have been able to learn is to continue to play harder and be able to play well in tight games especially on the road. We have three or four wins that we were very fortunate to have and more than anything our guys improved..”

The improvement from this Purdue team has been nothing short of remarkable. Talents such as Nojel Eastern were off the bench for the Boilers last year and hardly saw any minutes but his growth as a player has allowed him to be a threat to get a double-double any night.

Matt Haarms has been the same way for this team, as his passion and determination have led to 20 + points and 10 + rebounding games that have not only been huge rises from last year but has also given Purdue an option down low. Purdue has typically always been a team that likes to get the ball down low to guys like AJ Hammons, or Caleb Swanigan in years past and Haarms has been filling that type of a role in many different ways.

Purdue will now await the matchup between Penn State and Minnesota Friday night in the quarterfinals as they look to continue to build off of their title.

Next up is the Indiana Hoosiers and this team has been puzzling all season long. They have seven quad one wins against teams like Michigan State and Marquette but then they have also lost by 30 points to Minnesota. This has led to controversy but the Hoosiers and Coach Archie Miller remained calm this week as they were in survival mode by winning their two games.

“We have not been able to talk about anything but survival for a long time,” Coach Miller said. “And that is sort of why we are here because we've kind of said there really isn't anything other than just do it. You have to do it the right way, and we have a good attitude right now.”

It certainly seems that way for the Hoosiers as forward Juwan Morgan put up 45 points and 16 rebounds in these two games which Coach Miller saw as a leadership example.

“You know, seniors do one of two things,” Miller said. “They either run away because it is too hard and it’s on them, or they just fight and Juwan is a fighter. Fighters fight. He's given us unbelievable toughness in the back board these last four or five games where we need to rebound and he's given us presence this week in particular around the rim where he scored the ball.”

Freshman Guard Rob Phinisee has also really asserted himself in Indiana’s  four game winning streak which is exactly what Indiana needs moving forward. In the last four games, Phinisee has averaged 11.3 points with 14 assists and just one turnover.

They have also gotten a major boost from Justin Smith, who has struggled this season but not necessarily during this streak. Smith has provided a team high 17.0 points per game during this stretch and has allowed Indiana to feel more comfortable with its frontcourt depth.

This team looks motivated and ready to come to play in the Big Ten Tournament and I would not want to face this team if I am a projected top seed in the NCAA Tournament as they have seemed to figure out their identity.

The next game for Indiana will be Thursday against Ohio State as many believe they need to win one more game to solidify themselves for an at-large bid.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Campus Citizen, IUPUI