Purdue vs. Iowa Prediction: Can the Hawkeyes Keep Up With Purdue?

College basketball expert Mike Spector gives his prediction for the highly anticipated Purdue Boilermakers vs. Iowa Hawkeyes matchup Friday night.
Mike Spector |
Fri, December 3, 8:31 AM EST | 4 min read
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Purdue vs. Iowa Prediction: Can the Hawkeyes Keep Up With Purdue?

A day after there were no Top 25 teams in action, things pick up considerably tonight, especially with the ACC and the Big Ten joining the Pac-12 in getting conference play going early. The most appealing game of the day is the Big Ten battle between the Iowa Hawkeyes and Purdue Boilermakers.

Purdue vs. Iowa Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

Date: Friday, December 3, 2021Game Time: 9:00 p.m. ETWhere To Watch: BTN

Click Here For Purdue vs Iowa Odds

Purdue vs. Iowa Prediction

Iowa and Purdue are two of just 13 undefeated teams left in college basketball, and they enter this matchup with a combined 14-0 record. Which team will walk out unblemished, and who will be dealt their first loss?

Iowa's 7-0 start may have come as a surprise to many, considering they were picked to finish ninth in the Big Ten Preseason Media Poll. In addition, the Hawkeyes lost a lot of talent from last year's team, as Luka Garza and Joe Wieskamp tested the NBA waters while CJ Fredrick and Jack Nunge entered the transfer portal. Nevertheless, Iowa is coming off by far its biggest win of the season, a 75-74 victory at Virginia. They have gotten to 7-0 on the strength of an efficient offense that averages a Division I-leading 94.0 PPG and 18.9 assists per game (13th in the country).

While Iowa's 7-0 start is surprising given the abundance of talent that departed, Purdue deserves credit for their 7-0 start because of the demanding non-conference schedule they have played to this point. Purdue is one of four teams (Duke, Iowa State, Gonzaga) with multiple top 25 wins this season. After beating Tennessee and Villanova on back-to-back nights in the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament, the Boilermakers added another impressive victory over Florida State in their last game. While the Seminoles were shorthanded without three key contributors, it was still remarkable that Purdue was able to shoot 67.6% from inside the arc and 12-for-25 (48%) from 3-point range against a Florida State team that still ranks in the top 35 in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency, per KenPom.

Taking nothing away from Iowa's undefeated start, it should be noted that they have not played anywhere close to the schedule Purdue has played. The Hawkeyes have beaten just one team in KenPom's top 200 and will find it much tougher sledding in conference play.

The two main carryovers from last year's Hawkeyes team are Keegan Murray and Jordan Bohannon. Georgia Tech's Michael DeVoe just passed Murray (24.6 PPG) as the leading scorer in the country. While Murray scored 18 points and had nine rebounds against Virginia, he did suffer a scare late in the game, as he missed some time with an ankle injury. While Murray did return, if he is not 100% healthy for this game, it severely lessens Iowa's chances of pulling an upset.

Purdue has dominated their non-conference competition, with an average margin of victory of 28.2 points and just one win by fewer than nine points. However, Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery's familiarity with Purdue's system could make this a rare game where Purdue does not blow an opponent out. Therefore, the safer bet is the over.

The Boilermakers have been able to get whatever they want on offense, as no team in the country has matched up with their two monsters of Zach Edey and Trevion Williams. Anytime they touch the ball in the post, they demand so much attention and put relentless pressure on the defense that they either finish close to the rim or open opportunities from their knockdown shooters.

On the other side, it will be interesting to see if McCaffery uses more of a true post player like the 6'9" Filip Rebraca or goes with smaller lineups more often with Kris Murray at center. Given that Kris Murray is knocking down over 60% of his 3-point attempts early in the season, he could prove to be a huge weapon that draws Purdue's bigs away from the basket and opens up driving lanes for the Hawkeyes guards.

Purdue vs. Iowa Pick

Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest

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