Our NCAA Basketball Pick: Take The Underdog In Purdue vs. Indiana

Jason Lake

Friday, February 19, 2016 7:37 PM GMT

Two of the top teams in the Big Ten go at it Saturday night when the Purdue Boilermakers visit the Indiana Hoosiers. The NCAA Basketball odds prefer Indiana at home.

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":2936523, "sportsbooksIds":[1096,93,19,92,238,169], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Purdue +4 (–120)
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle  

 

Jason's 2015-16 Record as of Feb. 19: 5-5 ATS, 1-1 Totals
Winning isn't everything. The Indiana Hoosiers (21-6 SU, 14-13 ATS) might be tied for first place in the Big Ten standings, and the Purdue Boilermakers (21-16 SU, 12-11 ATS) might be a couple games back, but Purdue has played better than Indiana this year. That's according to both the AP and the coaches polls – and the advanced stats.

Yet the Hoosiers opened as 4.5-point home favorites for Saturday's matchup (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) at the Assembly Hall in Bloomington. They've quickly moved down to –4 on our NCAA Basketball odds boards, but there might be a smidge of betting value left in the Boilermakers by the time you read this. Let's give this game some due process first, though.

 

In the Boiler Room
As far as the rankings are concerned, Purdue is five spots ahead of Indiana on both polls. AP has the Boilers at No. 17 and the Hoosiers at No. 22; the coaches have each team one notch higher on their poll. And they've pretty much nailed it. According to Ken Pomeroy's advanced stats, Purdue checks in at No. 17 overall (No. 60 offense, No. 7 defense) in Division I, while Indiana isn't far behind at No. 20 (No. 14 offense, No. 60 defense).

Over at Sports-Reference, they've got the Boilermakers pegged at +20.3 on their Simple Rating System, exactly one point ahead of Indiana at +19.3 SRS. That makes the math a lot easier for our NCAA Basketball picks. Giving the Hoosiers the standard-ish 3.5 points for home court, we get a kayfabe spread of Indiana –2.5. See, didn't even have to carry the one that time.

 

Guard Off Duty
The Hoosiers are also missing a very important player for their March Madness drive. Sophomore guard James Blackmon (27.3 PER, +8.8 BPM) blew out his knee just before the start of conference play, and is gone for the season. Blackmon was already one of Indiana's best players last year as a freshman. In his absence, the Hoosiers have broken even at 11-3 SU and 7-7 ATS.

No injuries to report on Purdue's side. Good thing, because the Boilers haven't had much success at Assembly Hall in recent years. They're 4-10 ATS in their last 14 trips to Bloomington. Purdue is also 0-4 ATS overall in its last four away games, while Indiana is 5-1 ATS in its last six at home. It should be quite the scene Saturday night as the Hoosier faithful slap on those red “Beat Purdue” T-shirts and make a ruckus. Crazy kids.

We ain't scurred. Last year at this time, Purdue went into Assembly Hall as a 4.5-point dog and beat Indiana 67-63, and that was with Blackmon scoring 14 points for the Hoosiers on 4-of-9 shooting. Thank you, basketball gods, may we have another?