This is almost a no-brainer, but there are some Purdue fans that will think their team can beat the Indiana Hoosiers this year. Reality is that the Hoosiers are far ahead of the Boilers right now as Matt Painter is in a bit of a rebuilding effort from his past teams.
Indiana is the unanimous top pick to win the Big Ten as it enters the season No. 1 in the nation. Purdue, on the other hand, will surely finish in the bottom half of the conference and actually have a battle on its hands to make the tournament.
These are the five reasons why Indiana is ahead of Purdue this season.
No longer can guys like E'twaun Moore, JaJuan Johnson, Robbie Hummel, Chris Kramer or Lewis Jackson bail this team out. Those days are in the past. This team has some young talent on this year's squad, but they're not to the talent level on these past greats yet.
This season is going to be tough for the Boilers to get points. They don't have "that guy" to score when needing a bucket. Relying on D.J. Byrd or freshmen aren't going to get it done this season. They're going to have to beat teams on defense to grind out wins.
Unfortunately for Purdue, it doesn't have the personnel to match up with Indiana to stop them. The Hoosiers can score at ease and have the personnel to stop Purdue on the other end. I look at both contests being won by the Hoosiers by 10-plus points.
Don't get too complacent, though, because the Boilers will be back next season.
Purdue doesn't have the depth to match the Hoosiers right now. Indiana can play any guys 1-13 and not have a drop-off. They can bring any guy off the bench and he is capable of scoring in bunches and dominating on the court.
Purdue doesn't have that luxury yet.
The Boilers have some good young talent, but they will have a drop off when they get down to the ninth man and further down the bench. Next year I do believe this can be a strength for them, but this season that inexperience will hurt it against the Hoosiers.
Favor Indiana on the depth this year.
There's not one guys on Purdue's roster that's going to be able to shut down Cody Zeller. The seven-foot sophomore is clearly the best player in the conference right now and the Boilers don't have the personnel to stop him.
They're forced to put Lawson, Carrol, Marcius, or the new freshman Hammons on him. Zeller will have a huge night against those guys.
Don't give me that Hammons is a big kid and can body Zeller. I'll fire back that he can't defend outside the lane where Zeller has improved his outside game tremendously. He can hit threes at ease if left open and beat guys off the dribble. He will get Hammons and any other guy trying to defend him in foul trouble early.
He will certainly draw extra help from Boiler defenders, and that will leave Indiana guards with open shots. That's dangerous.
I touched on it in the first slide, but the Boilers will struggle to score and keep up with the Hoosiers. If Johnson, Moore, Hummel and Kramer were lining up against Indiana, then I'd say these two matchups this season will be some of the best games in the history of this rivalry. Reality is they're not.
I like the Johnsons on the Purdue roster, but relying on them and D.J. Byrd is bad. They will get run out of the gym and forced into foul problems early. Byrd will struggle to find his shot against Christian Watford, Hanner Perea and even Jeremy Hollowell.
Yogi Ferrell will have a battle with Purdue's guards while Zeller will own the middle spot on whomever he's going to be defending.
Indiana should put up 80-plus points in both games as the Boilers will struggle to score 60.
The Hoosiers are going to see open shots for both contests against Purdue. The Boilers are going to have to send so much help on Zeller that Hoosier guards will be open with their feet set for shots. That's bad for Purdue.
Indiana is a great passing team and will find the open man. Purdue doesn't have the personnel to recover quickly enough to get to Indiana shooters this year. Leave Indiana open and the Hoosiers will make you pay.
The Hoosiers were among the best in the nation last season in shooting. What's scary is they're actually improved in that area. Indiana swept Purdue last year with a team not as good as this season's. Purdue doesn't have as good of a team. Advantage Indiana.