Indiana Basketball: Imperative Hoosiers Come Away with Victory over Purdue

Eric SmithCorrespondent IIIJanuary 29, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, IN - MARCH 04:  Cody Zeller #40 of the Indiana Hoosiers passes the ball during the Big Ten Conference game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Assembly Hall on March 4, 2012 in Bloomington, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Indiana Hoosiers have to win their game against the Purdue Boilermakers tomorrow night in Mackey Arena. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. It's imperative when the buzzer sounds at the end of the game that Indiana has the higher score.

On paper, this game shouldn't be close. Indiana is a far better basketball team and has way more talent than Purdue this year. The Hoosiers swept the Boilers last season for the first time since 2006 and Purdue had more talent last year.

This game is a bit of a trap game for Indiana, as weird as that sounds. If they play to their style and stay focused they will win. The problem lies in top-ranked Michigan coming to Assembly Hall on Saturday night with ESPN College Gameday; IU may be looking ahead to that.

The game with Michigan may be the biggest game in Assembly Hall history, with the Big Ten conference lead on the line and, more importantly, the top seed in the Indianapolis region for the NCAA Tournament.

The Purdue game shouldn't be overlooked, since this is the 199th meeting between the two archrivals. But these are college kids we're talking about here. The Michigan matchup is far more important than this Purdue game.

Indiana just won by 17 points a little less than a year ago in West Lafayette. They need to be ready to face the raucous crowd that Purdue will bring. This game may not be top of the radar for Indiana, but it is for Purdue.

The Boilers likely won't make the tournament this season. They know that. This is their tournament game. They'd like nothing more than to knock off IU at home.