The Purdue Boilermakers basketball opened up the season with a nerve racking game at home. The Boilers defeated Northern Kentucky 77-76 after fighting back from a nine point deficit and trading blows with the Norse for the second half.
A lot of issues from last year crept into this game. Many thought maturity was a big issue with this team last year, and it was, but this team has other problems as well. Purdue struggled on defense, leaving many Northern Kentucky shooters wide open leading to it shooting 50-percent from the three point line.
Norse’s guards cut apart the Purdue back court and were able to get good looks at the basket from inside the paint. AJ Hammons was serving the final game of his suspension, so getting him back will improve the defense around the rim.
Purdue also had a distinct height advantage over Northern Kentucky as well, but the two teams ended the game tied in rebounding. The speaks to the effort that the Boilers were attacking the glass. Say what you will about Matt Painter teams, but a lack of effort usually isn’t one of their hallmarks.
Every team in the country brings in these supposedly “easy wins.” And every year some power conference teams are upset by one of these cupcakes. The same thing happens in football (see: Michigan vs Appalachian State 2007). Had Purdue struggled early and blown out the Norse late in the game, everything would have been fine, but they didn’t and Northern Kentucky missed two point blank shots to win the game in the closing seconds.
In the end, Purdue won and that’s what matters most. Getting Hammons back will help this team quite a bit. The Boilers executed well in the closing minutes and earned a tough win. That will boost the confidence of a young team and give Painter some ammo during practice.
Nov. 13th – Purdue vs Central Connecticut State, 7pm
CCS is 0-1 after a beating issued to it by Yale. The Blue Devils run a fast paced offense that led to them being 20th in number of possessions last season. They finished last season 13-17 and struggled with defensive efficiency. They have a talented backcourt with the trio of Kyle Vinales, Matt Hunter, and Malcolm McMillan. The problem with the Blue Devils is a lack of height. They’re tallest starter is 6-7, Hammons is 7-0. Needless to say, Purdue will have a significant advantage on the low block.
Purdue should pound the paint and finish the game with a significant rebounding advantage. CCS is another team with nothing to lose, and after the opener Purdue looks vulnerable. Painter will have his team better prepared this week, and Purdue should come out ready to dominate an opponent.
Nov. 17th – Purdue vs Rider, 7pm
The Broncs will face Purdue at 0-1 after losing their opener to Lehigh by double digits. Rider has a very experience starting five that consists of four upperclassmen. The Broncs are not a particularly good shooting team and struggle to rebound the ball, especially off the offensive glass. The Broncs are going to be competitive in the MAAC, and could win the conference. Facing Purdue is one of the biggest games on their schedule, and a win would be the highlight of their season.
This is another game that Purdue should win. If the dominate CCS like they should, the the Boilers will likely do the same to Rider. Its another game where they have a significant height advantage that should lead to another easy win. Being tough on the low block leads to a collapsing defense that will open things up on the perimeter. Purdue can hit the outside shot and if they’re having a hot shooting night, will run away with this game and against CCS.
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