Purdue 86, #25 Iowa 70: Boiled Up

By RossWB on January 3, 2019 at 8:49 pm
choo choo
© Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Same shit, different year. Here are some video highlights of Iowa's trip to West Lafayette to take on Purdue on Thursday night: 

The game is best summed up by this incredible stat that Mike Hlas unearthed: 

That stat is 100% true. The last time Iowa went on the road and didn't trail by at least 17 points was in 2017, when they edged Wisconsin 59-57 thanks to some late Jordan Bohannon heroics. They did manage to win one of those 11 games -- a 104-97 win over Illinois in Champaign last year -- but that was just a freakish result. In Big Ten road games Iowa turns into the Washington Generals and their opponent -- whoever it happens to be -- becomes the Harlem Globetrotters. 

In this game, Iowa trailed 52-35 at the half, having allowed Purdue to a make a blistering 63% of their shots. The Boilermakers had 11 dunks or layups in the first half, part of an overwhelming 24-6 advantage in points in the paint. They also had a 13-0 advantage in points off turnovers. In the second half the lead ballooned to as much as 26 before Iowa chopped it down to the final losing margin of "only" 16 points. 

This was simply the latest defensive no show in a Big Ten road game: 

Iowa is giving up an average of 85.7 ppg in their last 11 Big Ten road games. Most of those games followed the same pattern as this one: Iowa starts out reasonably well and keeps things close for the first 8-10 minutes. Then things go to hell -- their shooting goes cold while their opponent rattles off something like a 15-5 run -- and they're never able to claw their way back into the game. 

Rinse. And. Repeat. 

Sure enough, Iowa was hanging with Purdue in the first 10 minutes of this game. They kept the game within 3-4 points for a while. Then Purdue went on a 15-5 run and a 4-5 point deficit mushroomed into a 15-point deficit. Game over. 

The second half seemed to bring even less defensive effort from Iowa, but Purdue's shooting cooled -- they made just 43.8% of their attempts after half -- and that cooldown, coupled with Iowa making baskets in garbage time, was enough for Iowa to turn a blowout loss into... a marginally less lopsided blowout loss. Look, this is the exact same shit we've been seeing from Iowa in this situation game after game. They've tended to play better in Big Ten home games over the last few years, although that hasn't necessarily resulted in much improvement in the win-loss column, just more "respectable" losses. But Big Ten road games have been -- and continue to be -- utter nightmares, game after game after game, with virtually the same pattern each time out. 

It got pretty old last year. Seeing the pattern recur this year, with players who are another year older and coaches who were supposedly committed to improving this empty husk of a defense, well, now it's just pathetic.

NEXT: Iowa returns home to face Nebraska on Sunday (4:30 PM CT, BTN). 

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