WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — No. 2-ranked Purdue just might be the most impressive team in the country right now, and everyone is taking notice.
And the 7-0 Iowa Hawkeyes? Not so much.
The two unbeaten teams tip off the Big Ten basketball season on Friday night, and the Boilermakers are a massive 11.5-point favorite, according to the SISportsbook.com gambling website. That's a lot of points. The over/under is 160.5
The reason for the hefty point spread? It probably has a lot to with the fact that Purdue has several signature wins already in the first three-plus weeks of the season, beating then No. 18 North Carolina, then No. 5 Villanova and then thumping Florida State, an ACC favorite, on Tuesday, winning 93-65.
Iowa took a different path to early-season scheduling, feasting on six straight cupcakes before beating Virginia 75-74 on Monday in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Their first six wins were against lowly-regarded teams in the KenPom.com ranking, non higher than 200 out out 358 Division I teams.. Look at these rankings — Longwood (200), Kansas City (220), North Carolina Central (339, Alabama State (338), Western Michigan (313) and Portland State (250).
Iowa won by 33, 32, 17, 26, 48 and 34 points during that run of rummies, so it's hard to know how good the Hawkeyes really are. Even their one tough game with Vriginia didn't offer many clues, because Iowa looked great for a half, building a 21-point lead, but then frittering it all away. It took a Joe Toussant jumper with 8 seconds left to pull out a win.
Purdue is more of a known quantity so far, and in its seven wins, the Boilermakers have covered all seven times. That's impressive.
Here's what they've done so far.
- Nov. 9 — Purdue 96, Bellarmine 67, winning by 29 and covering as a 24.5-point favorite.
- Nov. 12 — Purdue 92, Indiana State 67, winning by 25 and covering as a 22.5-point favorite.
- Nov. 16 — Purdue 96, Wright State 52, winning by 44 and covering as a 16-point favorite.
- Nov. 20 — Purdue 93, No. 18 North Carolina 84, winning by 9 and covering as a 7.5-point favorite.
- Nov. 21 — Purdue 80, No. 5 Villanova 74, winning by 6 and covering as a 3-point favorite.
- Nov. 26 — Purdue 97, Omaha 40, winning by 57 and covering as a 36.5-point favorite.
- Nov. 30— Purdue 93, Florida State 65, winning by 28 and covering as a 11.5-point favorite.
Purdue has four players averaging in double figures, led by 7-foot-4 sophomore center Zach Edey at 16.9 points per game. Sophomore guard Jaden Ivey is averaging 15.4 points a game, with senior guard Sasha Stefanovic adding 12.9 and senior center Trevion Williams coming off the bench to average 12.3 points per game. Brandon Newman (9.9) and Isaiah Thomson (9.1) aren't far away either.
The Purdue-Iowa games starts at 9 p.m. ET and will be televised on the Big Ten Network. For information on how to watch, with breakdowns on both teams and several great nuggets on the rivalry. CLICK HERE
It's one of two Big Ten games on Friday. In the league opener, Rutgers is at Illinois, with that game starting at 7 p.m. ET. For a breakdown on that Big Ten opener, CLICK HERE