Rudderless Boilers Run Aground Again in the Paradise Islands
When you're a top-20 team in college basketball, you're gonna lose games that you shouldn't every now and again. After that loss, you make adjustments...corrections...and prove that you belong. Purdue did none of that earlier tonight. In doing so, they showed that when the polls come out on Monday, and they're not ranked, they'll be exactly where they deserve to be.
While Biggie was on this roster, these Boilers sometimes watched him rebound...He was great at tenaciously going after the ball; who could blame them. The last two games, they've been looking for Biggie's help, and he doesn't seem to be willing to come back from Portland to bail them out. Kinda selfish of him, really.
Matty's teams used to be defined by a hard-nosed defense...when the rules changed that took away Purdue's ability to play physical on-ball defense, that era died. Let's be honest. Tonight's performance reminded just how mediocre Purdue's defense has become in the last few years. This team simply can't make stops...not on the inside, nor on the outside.
"But what about that rebounding problem from the Tennessee game?" You might ask.
Well, these Senior-laden, B1G Champ Boilers just got outrebounded by Western Kentucky...who has just eight scholarship players. The scrappy Hill Toppers were 210th in the nation, according to KenPom's equation coming into tonight...Purdue needs to be number 211 in KenPom's next computer ranking...because they're simply not as good as WKU.
It's funny, when I review the recruiting rankings of the Boilers v. WKU, Purdue looks to be clearly better. When I look at the current size/talent comparison, Purdue seems to win that battle too. And yet, in spite of having four starting Seniors, they couldn't really compete with the might Hill Toppers for much of the evening.
Haas scored a lot of points, but played one of the worst defensive games I've ever seen a good Purdue player play.
Mathias had a ton of assists...but in his 35 minutes, he managed just five points. I'm told he was one of the best shooters in the land coming into this game. (Wah Wah Waaaaahhhhhhhh)
V. Edwards also played 35 minutes...but I didn't notice him on the court with the exception of two or three instances. I need to go back and check the tape, I guess. I'm sure he was there.
I actually liked what I saw from PJ Thompson 19 points, a couple of assists and he looked like he was generally getting after it.
I'm not Matt Painter. He's a 6'6" millionaire who gets paid to coach Purdue in games like what we watched in the last two nights. I'm a 5'4" fan who just feels like he got punched in the nuts...I don't know much; I'm aware of this. But if I was coaching this team, I wouldn't start three of the four Seniors next game. Whatever this team is doing right now, it isn't working. A wake-up call is needed...and losing to Tennessee didn't awaken our Boilers. Maybe the Bahamas is just bad luck...If it's not just the island air that's the problem, this Purdue team, as they stand right now, is an NIT team.
We heard some people blaming the ballroom ceiling for Purdue's last two losses. But WKU just shot nearly 42% from deep versus the pitiful Purdue defense. And as J reminded us, 'Nova scored 51 points in the same ballroom...versus the vaunted Tennessee defense earlier today. So I guess the low ceiling only hurts Purdue. The two aforementioned teams must have a low-ceiling practice facility back home. And speaking of facilities, how can we expect our lil' Boilers to compete with these basketball bluebloods in tournaments? Teams like Kansas, Michigan, Cincinnati, Tennessee, WKU and Ark. Little Rock just know how to win when the chips are down. My expectations were too high...I get that now. I actually appreciate the perspective adjustment. It'll save me some heartache as the season progresses.
Oooooh, one more thing- Carsen Edwards, Matt Haarms and a few players to be named later are the key to things changing. These legitimately great guys that comprise the Senior class have never shown the emotion and never-say-die attitude that seems to be so prevalent in teams that beat our Boilers during tournaments. Boogie was rightfully held accountable for his six turnovers...But V. Edwards wasn't held accountable for his disappearance, Mathias wasn't held accountable for his horrendous shooting, and Haas wasn't held accountable for getting schooled by a kid that looked like he was in middle school.
I have never understood the uneven disciplinary hand of Coach Painter or the substitution patterns when the chips are down...maybe I'll gain some understanding by the end of this season.
The season isn't over...it just feels like it is right now. I'm kinda pissed...probably shouldn't have written tonight...I get that.
But our Boilers have just jumped into the hole they dug for themselves and threw their rescue rope out of the chasm. It's gonna take a pretty notable change for things to get better. Right now, they can't play defense and don't rebound. These things are kinda important.
Purdue will fight to not finish eighth in this tournament tomorrow...I'm not sure when they play, but it'll probably aired on EsPN The Ocho.