Purdue Eats Iowa's Lunch, Pushes Them into a Puddle
Purdue was of course the favorite heading into Saturday's early-start game. No disrespect to Iowa, but the Hawkeyes could generously be described as "mediocre" this season. However, the last time a top-10 Purdue team headed to Carver-Hawkeye Area to face an unranked Iowa team they walked away with a loss. Plus this is a conference away game, and weird things happen. So while Purdue was the clear favorite, this wasn't Chicago State in the non-con.
And maybe that's how things felt early. Neither team could hit any of their shots, and you could get ahead of yourself thinking about how inferior opponents can often steal wins by dragging the game down into a slugfest and doing just enough to pull out the win. But then Purdue started hitting shots. And more shots. And even more shots. Many of which were threes. And before you knew it, Purdue was up 14, 16 points and Iowa started taking on water.
And while Purdue was loose and active, getting the ball to an open shooter, collapsing on defense, doing everything that's needed to do to get a win on the road, Iowa looked lost, perhaps even unhappy to be there. And who could blame them? Check out these stats from the first half:
So yeah, that's pretty good. Hell, late in the second half Purdue had an effective field goal percent of nearly 92%. Unprecedented. Also unprecedented: the number of threes they made in this game, breaking the previous Purdue record with 20.
Everything about this game went Purdue's way, and it's not just that they won, but how they did it. They got 19 from Vincent Edwards, 22 from Carsen Edwards, and 12 and 14 from Dakota Mathias and PJ Thompson, respectively. The lone low point on the starting five? Isaac Haas, who only had three points and three rebounds.
Off games are bound to happen, but let's talk about this for a second. Isaac Haas, Purdue dominant starting big man, had a game where he committed as many fouls as points he scored and Purdue still won so dominantly that the game was never in doubt. And Isaac didn't play poorly per se, he just didn't really get into a rhythm. And Purdue didn't really need him, so it didn't become a problem.
But an off game from Haas is far less a concern, but more of a benefit. Purdue is not reliant on one player, one aspect of their game, in order to be successful. They can have an entire part of their attack disappear, and they can still destroy their opponents. And I have every confidence that if Purdue wasn't hitting from distance, Isaac would be there to pick up the slack.
This team is so utterly complete, especially on offense, that talk, pre-mature as it may be, about them as a national title contender still feels appropriate. There are a lot of good teams out there this season, but outside of Villanova, it's hard to see another one that poses, on paper, much of a problem to the Boilermakers.
At this point, finding fault in the team gets pretty nit-picky, but maybe we could do with more offensive production from the bench (starters scored 70 of Purdue's 87 points) and Haas was the only player to shoot a free throw today, but whatever. They did everything perfect today.
Things are going to get more real for Purdue now. A home game against a ranked Michigan team, an away game versus Indiana, home versus Ohio State, and away against Michigan State are all within the next three weeks. But none of those games scare me at all, and Purdue will probably be favored in each of them (MSU might be a push). This team has the makings of something really special.