The Purdue Boilermakers basketball team had a rough weekend in Orlando. They dropped two straight games, before bouncing back against a team they’d beaten easily just a week before.
The Old Spice Classic is an event Purdue fans will want to forget. The Boilers sit at 6-2, but suffered two bad losses and were close to a third.
The Boilermakers nearly upset then-No. 5 Oklahoma State; but the next day lost a halftime lead and surrendered 52 points in the second to Washington State. The Boilers then had to overcome a 13-point halftime deficit to pull off a win against Siena.
Its hard to determine what Matt Painter has with this years team. Defensive focus is clearly an issue this season and at times this team clicks and almost looks dominant. But when they fall apart, boy is it ugly.
Purdue rallied from being down 24 points to OK State and got within four. That was a great team effort where everyone was on the same page, played tight defense and moved the ball well on offense. The final 10 minutes of this game showed how good the Boilers could be this season, but it seemed fleeting in lieu of what happened over the next few days.
The first half against Washington State was ugly, but Purdue locked the Cougars down and held them to just 17 points. The defense completely fell apart in the second as players became lazy, coasting on the 10-point lead. Washington State started hitting three’s and pulled away quickly.
Losing to Siena would have been a complete disaster. This was a team that the Boilers handled easily just a week earlier. Purdue’s big advantage in the game proved to be on the free throw line. Siena did a good job playing a familiar opponent tighter, but the Boilers are still the more talented team. The real key to the win? Second half defense, which held the Saints to just 20 points.
Purdue basically played three truly awful halves of basketball in Orlando. Giving up 52 to OK State in the first, 52 to Washington in the second, and 43 to Siena to open up the game. It isn’t exactly awe inspiring. Last season, the Boilers failings were chalked up to youth and inexperience, but it doesn’t look like this team has learned anything in the past year. The same mistakes are there and the overall ability of the players hasn’t improved enough to mask the mental errors.
Following the tournament, Pomeroy ratings have Purdue at 111, with the 119th offense and 126th ranked defense.
Dec. 4th – Purdue vs Boston College, 9pm ESPN2/WatchESPN
The Boilers host Boston College as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Eagles come into the game with a 3-4 record. BC opened up its season dropping three straight to the likes of Providence, UMass, and Toledo.
Both teams are averaging about 80 points per game. Purdue’s defense will be tested as BC has the 35th most efficient offense in the country. Pomeroy rates the Eagle with the 83rd best team, featuring the 15th best offense, but the 257th ranked defense.
They move the ball well, but really only have three reliable scoring options. Sophomore guard Olivier Hanlan leads the team in scoring with 21.7 points. Joe Rahon, another sophomore guard, is giving the team 13.4 per game and junior forward Ryan Anderson gives the team 19 points and seven rebounds per game. Everyone else on the team averages less than six points per game.
Where will Purdue have a big advantage? Rebounding. The Boilers average almost 40 boards per game (54th in the country). The Eagles on the other hand barely pull in 29 per night and rank 344th. That means Purdue will get second, and maybe third, looks at the basket following missed shots.
Purdue will have all the shots they want on offense, and scoring shouldn’t be a problem for the Boilers.
The real question will be which team shows up for Purdue. Will they be focused on defense? Will they play with effort? Right now, it seems like a toss up. I like their chances at home, and I think the Boilers get the foul taste of the Old Spice Classic out of their mouths with a big win at home.
Dec. 7th – Purdue vs Eastern Michigan, 2pm
Win or lose Wednesday, the Boilers will have a relatively easy home game against Eastern Michigan. The Eagles (yes, another eagle team) is currently 5-2. They’re on a two game losing streak with losses to No. 3 Kentucky and No. 21 Massachusetts, both by double digits.
Pomeroy has them as the 194th team in the country. They have the 288th offense and 73rd defense. If Purdue struggles to find its defense Wednesday, they’ll surely find it on Saturday.
This should be an easy win for the Boilers.
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