Indiana vs. Purdue: 10 crazy facts about 1 of college basketball's greatest rivalries
No. 1 Purdue travels to take on No. 21 Indiana on Saturday in 1 of the most highly anticipated games between the heated rivals in years.
And that’s saying something, considering the matchup is intense — in Bloomington and in West Lafayette — regardless of the stakes. But on Saturday, they might be at an all-time high, as Purdue (22-1, 11-1 Big Ten) looks to take another step forward in its quest for a Big Ten-record 25th conference title, while the Hoosiers (15-7, 6-5) want to prove their early season struggles are behind them and give themselves a chance to climb back into the race.
The game tips off at 4 p.m. ET at Assembly Hall.
Let’s take a look at 10 crazy facts about the series, which dates to the 1st time they played on the hardwood, back on March 2, 1901:
1. Seems hard to believe, but Saturday’s game will mark the 1st since Feb. 20, 2016, that both teams are ranked. Back then, No. 21 Indiana beat No. 17 Purdue, 77-73, behind 19 points from Troy Williams and 18 from Yogi Ferrell. The game wasn’t without controversy, however, at least from the Purdue perspective. Boilermakers center A.J. Hammons was called for goaltending on Ferrell with 7.1 seconds left — certainly fans from each side of the aisle saw the play differently — giving the Hoosiers a 4-point lead.
2. The last time a team was ranked No. 1 in the matchup was 2013. Of course, that was IU, as Purdue had never been ranked as the top team in the country until last season. The Hoosiers had a solid group back then led by Cody Zeller, Christian Watford, Ferrell and others.
Purdue, meanwhile, was miserable, enduring the 1st of back-to-back sub-.500 years. The host Hoosiers nuked the Boilermakers on Feb. 16, 2013, winning 83-55. A couple weeks earlier, then-3rd-ranked Indiana had beaten Purdue by 37, the largest margin of victory for the Hoosiers at Mackey Arena in series history.
3. As it turned out, the 2016 victory was Indiana’s last in the series for a half-dozen years. It would be 2,161 days, to be exact, before the Hoosiers would again be able to put a “W” on the board, after watching the Boilermakers win 9 consecutive games in the series. Lafayette native Rob Phinisee was the hero for the Hoosiers, scoring a season-high 17 points, including a decisive 3-pointer with 16.5 seconds left for a 68-65 win on Jan. 20, 2022.
Purdue’s 9-game winning streak marked the longest in the series in almost 90 years.
4. Purdue won’t be able to match Indiana’s 1975-76 season, when the national champion Hoosiers finished 32-0, including an 18-0 mark in the Big Ten. Rutgers’ Cam Spencer put an end to that hope with his 3-pointer in the closing seconds that gave the Scarlet Knights a 1-point victory at Mackey Arena on Jan. 2.
The Hoosiers, who lost only 1 game total in 1974-75 and 1975-76, are the last team to finish the Big Ten with an unblemished record. Since then, 4 teams have finished with 1 loss: Indiana (1993), Michigan State (1999), Illinois (2005) and Ohio State (2007).
5. The series has had its fair share of bizarre occurrences, especially during the overlapping Bob Knight and Gene Keady Eras. The 2 iconic coaches had their typical moments of fiery sideline behavior, which was always to be expected, but often the histrionics went beyond the ordinary.
After some particularly brutally tough incidents, including an altercation between IU’s Isiah Thomas and Purdue’s Roosevelt Barnes in 1981, Knight said he wanted to bring Purdue athletic director George King on to his weekly television show, but King declined. Instead, the legendary IU coach walked a donkey in a Purdue hat onto the studio set.
Four years later, on Feb. 23, 1985, Knight tossed a red chair across the Assembly Hall court while Purdue’s Steve Reid stood at the line to take technical free throws after a series of what he had thought were bad calls. Knight was ejected after receiving 3 technical fouls. Purdue won the game, 72-63.
6. The Austin Games.
Purdue guard Chad Austin played hero in back-to-back games for the Boilermakers in the 90s.
In 1 of the greatest games in the series, Austin made the game-winning jumper with 0.6 seconds remaining in overtime to give Purdue its 4th win in a row in the series on Feb. 18, 1997. IU guard A.J. Guyton had 31 points in the contest, helping to make for a thriller in Bloomington.
A year earlier in Bloomington, Austin made a 3-pointer with 13.7 seconds left to give the Boilermakers a 74-72 victory.
7. The teams have played 215 times in the past 121 years, with Purdue holding a 125-90 advantage. Not all of the games, though, have been in either West Lafayette or Bloomington. Four games have been played elsewhere.
Indiana and Purdue played in the championship game of the NIT on March 21, 1979, at Madison Square Garden in New York City, with the Hoosiers winning, 53-52, in the 1st-ever postseason meeting between the rivals.
A year later, they played again in the postseason, as they met in the Sweet 16 of the 1980 NCAA Tournament in Lexington, Kentucky. Despite 30 points from IU freshman Isiah Thomas, the Boilermakers earned the victory, then made a trip to the Final 4, the last in program history.
Purdue beat Indiana, 76-71, in a quarterfinal game in the inaugural Big Ten tournament in 1998 at Chicago’s United Center. It remains the only game the programs have played against 1 another in the conference tourney.
Because Indiana and Purdue were scheduled to play only once during each of the 2001–02 and 2002-03 seasons, the schools agreed to play a non-conference game on Dec. 14, 2002, at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. Dubbed the “Duel in the Dome,” more than 32,000 filled the dome to watch the Hoosiers and Boilermakers. Indiana forward Jeff Newton scored 16 points to help the Hoosiers to a 66-63 victory.
8. Margins and streaks …
For the Boilermakers, you have to go way back in the record books for the largest margin of victory. It was on March 1, 1910, that the Boilermakers beat the Hoosiers, 62-15, with the 47 points remaining their largest margin. Indiana’s high of 41 points came much more recently, when the Calbert Cheaney-led Hoosiers beat the Boilermakers (and current coach Matt Painter) by a final of 106-65 on Jan. 28, 1992.
Indiana’s longest winning streak in the series is 13, while Purdue’s is 11 in a row.
The Boilermakers’ 11 straight came from 1909-14, while IU’s 13 in a row were from 1949-55.
9. Purdue All-American Rick Mount lit up the scoreboard on March 8, 1969, when he scored a series-best 41 points in the Boilermakers’ 120-76 victory over the Hoosiers at Mackey Arena. The Boilermakers went on to the ’69 national championship game, where they lost to UCLA.
Indiana’s single-game high scorer in the series is the great Archie Dees, a 2-time Big Ten Player of the Year, who scored 38 points in a loss to Purdue in West Lafayette in 1958.
10. Purdue can claim a lot of regular-season advantages against Indiana, including the series win total, but the Hoosiers have a stranglehold on postseason accomplishments, with 5 NCAA Tournament championship banners.
The Boilermakers don’t have that — and they’re seeking their 1st Final 4 appearance since 1980 — but they do have the edge in Big Ten regular-season titles (24 to 22), Big Ten tournament crowns (1 to 0), consensus All-Americans (28 to 16) and Big Ten Coach of the Year awards (11 to 4).
IU has 2 National Players of the Year (Cheaney in 1993 and Scott May in 1976), while Purdue has 1 (Glenn Robinson in 1994). Of course, the Boilermakers might add a 2nd this season in Zach Edey.