4 storylines for Indiana’s game at Purdue #iubb

1. It’s a matchup of opposite strengths. Perhaps at no other point this season will Indiana find itself in a Big Ten game that poses such drastically different matchups as it will in its two meetings with Purdue. For Indiana, the key is creating space and hitting open shots — especially from 3. The Hoosiers struggled to cut and move within their offense at Ohio State on Sunday, but still managed to shoot over 50 percent for the game. They’ll need to bring that same firepower to West Lafayette, while managing to cut down on the 15 turnovers that sapped the flow from their offense in Columbus. All the while, Indiana must be vigilant and smart while defending Purdue’s twin, 7-foot towers in A.J. Hammons and Isaac Haas, who could make for a difficult defensive matchup for Collin Hartman on the defensive end. On the flip side, Hartman’s ability to space the floor on offense will be a difficult matchup for Hammons or Haas.

2. What’s the status of Robert Johnson’s knee? Crean offered no further update on Johnson Tuesday, but said that there’s no reason to anticipate that the freshman guard won’t play. What’s still unclear is whether Johnson starts and is able to maintain the same amount of time on the floor. Johnson has started all 20 games for IU, averaging almost 26 minutes per game. If he must concede some time to the bench, look for Nick Zeisloft to see an increased role. The other option is Stanford Robinson, but he has struggled mightily with consistency and had a rough afternoon in the Hoosiers’ last game at Ohio State.

3. Can Troy Williams have a quick bounce back game? Indiana’s identity has been formed through it’s ability to shoot the lights out of the gym, but Williams plays a huge role in making the current situation work. The sophomore scored only eight points against the Buckeyes last weekend, including six of them in the first few minutes. He also had five turnovers and was never able to affect the game in a positive manner. Indiana needs more from Williams, who makes things happen with his ability to cut along the baseline, finish at the rim and draw defenders on his drives to the basket.

4. Indiana has five wins when not favored this season. Tom Crean and the Hoosiers have done well in their underdog roles, winning games over Butler, Nebraska, Ohio State, Illinois and Maryland. They’ll be underdogs again Wednesday. Purdue announced earlier this week that it has sold out this game in West Lafayette, so Indiana will have more than a couple of big men to ward off. “The atmosphere is gonna be a hostile environment,” James Blackmon Jr. said. “… We know that everyone is gonna be against us.”

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