Top Sportsbooks have released their odds for tonight’s game between Iowa and Purdue.
Despite facing some high-level competition, Purdue remains undefeated. By beating Iowa, the Boilermakers could become the top-ranked team in the nation.
What stands in their way is a Hawkeye squad that is not nearly as well-tested. A tight win over Virginia, though, has brought Iowa to 7-0.
For reasons that I will explain, you should play the total for this game.
Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Purdue Boilermakers
Friday, December 3, 2021 – 09:00 PM EST at Mackey Arena
Purdue’s Ridiculous Offense
Offensively, Purdue is stacked, well-loaded, confident, supremely efficient, and generally elite this year.
By the numbers, Purdue has scored more than 90 points in six of its seven games this year. The one exception came against a defensively good and super slow-paced Villanova team that likes to limit a game’s overall number of possessions.
Hence, the Boilermakers faced more efficient defenses, like Florida State’s, and still exceeded 90 points as the overall tempo of the game was faster.
This last scoring output against Florida State was historic. Leonard Hamilton had never, in his entire 19+-year tenure at Florida State, allowed as many PPP (points per possession) in a game as he did against Purdue: Purdue achieved 1.431 PPP.
The Boilermakers do not even need to be quite as efficient as previous Matt Painter-coached squads in order to amass a lot of points.
They are playing faster, as evident in their higher adjusted tempo ranking, which means that they are creating more possessions and therefore more scoring opportunities.
Purdue is opportunistic in transition and generally more confident with the ball. While going slower generally helps a defense by allowing defenders to more easily enter more favorable guarding positions, Purdue can unleash its offense fully with the expectation of winning games by outscoring the opponent rather than by limiting the opponent’s point total.
Some Key Players
More specifically, individuals are stepping up to be qualitatively better on offense. Jaden Ivey, for example, is vastly more efficient as a shooter.
Freshman Caleb Furst has made an immediate impact with his 70-percent shooting inside the arc. Center Zach Edey is looking like an improved rendition of previous solid Purdue centers like Matt Haarms and Isaac Haas.
Edey is more involved on a per-possession and per-shot basis than he was last year. Despite being 7-4, Edey aptly races down the court to make himself a viable option in front of the basket.
Edey’s assist rate has also more than doubled relative to what it was last year as the attention he draws down low helps him locate other potential scorers.
The same massive uptick in assist rate is evident in Sasha Stefanovic, although he is known primarily for being a sharpshooter — and justly so.
Defense continues to be an issue under Coach McCaffery. By itself, ranking 98th in defensive efficiency isn’t terrible. But it is when you consider the array of soft opponents which Iowa has faced, which includes teams like Alabama State which scored 82 points on it.
Most recently, Iowa allowed Virginia to score 74 points, which is a season-high for an offensively challenged Cavalier squad that couldn’t even reach 70 against teams like Coppin State.
Iowa’s poor defense contributes to the fact that the “over” is a solid 6-1 in its games. You might think that Purdue would be a solid “over” team — and you’re right: the “over” is 5-2 in Purdue games so far — but Iowa has been even better for “over” bettors.
Combined, the “over” is 11-3 for both Purdue and Iowa. Keep this in mind for your sports betting. The Hawkeye defense is one more reason why I like another “over” tonight for these two teams.
Personnel-wise, Iowa lacks a center with the size to handle Edey or the strength to deal with Trevion Williams who is a strongly built man known for bullying opponents inside.
Iowa’s perimeter defense is annually awful at limiting opposing three-point efficiency and three-point attempts. Its last game against Virginia solidifies our expectation of continuity in this regard.
For Purdue, players like Ivey, Stefanovic, Brandon Newman, Isaiah Thompson, and even Furst -the center-, are all converting well over 40-percent of their three-point opportunities at a respectable volume.
Iowa Offense vs. Purdue Defense
Defensively, Matt Painter’s Purdue wants to avoid conceding easier points in the paint. So, by design, his team will allow more three-point attempts. Purdue ranks 342nd nationally at limiting opposing three-point attempts.
I think that Iowa can score more than enough points for the “over” to hit because it can punish Purdue’s perimeter defense — and without even approaching the Boilermakers’ scoring output.
Good spacing from opposing offenses will often impede Purdue defenders from closing out effectively on opposing shooters when they receive a pass.
Know for your best bets that Iowa can achieve good spacing because it has big men who can shoot.
Hence, as evident in its game against North Carolina, big men like Dawson Garcia can give Purdue problems from behind the arc. Garcia was 3-for-5 from deep in that game.
Three-point shooting is something that, for Iowa, power forward Keegan Murray is adept at. He is converting 34.5-percent of his three-point opportunities this season.
When Purdue doubles an opposing ball-handler, as it characteristically likes to do under Painter, it will allow an opposing big to hang back behind the arc where, if he has the shooting ability that Garcia or Murray does, he is likely to make the Boilermakers pay.
Something else that often gives the Boilermaker defense problems is quick guards.
In the North Carolina game, for example, Caleb Love produced a highlight reel with his quickstep, which was evident in his ability to beat his man off the dribble, to step back and create shooting space for himself, and so forth.
For Iowa, Joe Toussaint with his uniquely high assist rate every year is a dangerous playmaker. He is known for being speedy and very quick.
Toussaint will use his agility to pressure Purdue’s defense and force it into the rotation as he finds open teammates by driving to the basket.
Purdue’s ridiculous offense will continue to be ridiculous against Iowa’s bad defense, which is soft inside and vulnerable to three-point threats.
On offense, Iowa will amass points with its own small- and big-sized three-point shooters, who will exploit the Boilermakers’ vulnerability to dribble penetration from quick guards and to big men who can shoot.
I haven’t even mentioned historically productive Iowa shooter Jordan Bohannon. For the above reasons, expect a high-scoring game with your NCAAB Picks.
NCAAB Pick: Iowa/Purdue over 159 at -110 with DraftKings