The struggling part for Purdue is yet to be seen, only five games into the conference season.
But the label of mediocre doesn't describe this Hawkeye team anymore.
Since its loss to Purdue, it has won three of their last five, most notably a win Saturday against thirteen-ranked Michigan. While not remarkable by any means, this team has improved, and its not the pushover everyone thought they were to begin the conference season. In addition to beating the Wolverines, Iowa knocked off Wisconsin at the Kohl Center and beat a decent Minnesota team on the road as well.
Although it has been playing well, it is a team that is experiencing the ups and downs of a roller coaster season similar to what Purdue has been going through. It is a team that lost by thirty-four at Michigan State. Even though it has improved, the Hawkeyes still have a way to go.
Purdue has a way to go as well. Coming off its loss to Wisconsin on Thursday, the Boilers sit at 3-2 in the conference and 14-5 on the season. Last Thursday was just another example of the inconsistency of this Purdue team. It mounted an impressive comeback, but its trend of not starting games with intensity and emotion caught up to Purdue again. At the beginning of the season Purdue was unable to finish games, now it is having trouble starting them. Obviously this is concerning, not being able to start and finish games consistently.
This is a game Purdue needs to have. It needs to take care of business at home and steal a couple on the road. Wisconsin was a game it should have won, and Purdue didn't take advantage. This is one of those games that if you lose, it almost knocks Purdue out of a spot in the tournament (for now, it can play its way back in). If you win, that is good, but you are at home and in the Big Ten that is to be expected. Especially in Mackey.