|Would it kill Lew to take some jumpers in practice?|
It's funny. We were ribbed the other day during the Va Tech game via Twitter about "Purdue's vaunted offense" and how we were wrong to have taken issue with people like John Gasaway and other MSM types. Sure, Purdue's offense isn't blowing people away, but they won that night and they won again today. It's always fun to have your team's offensive prowess mocked... while they're still winning.
Matt Painter trademarks are pressure defense and smart play. The Boilers, while sloppy at times today, used their suffocating defense and their plenty-good offense to win today's game with the Crimson Tide, 66-47.
Today they held a decent SEC team to only 47 points. That kind of defense is going to win you a lot of ballgames. The Boilers looked a little sloppy at times early, with odd decisions when bringing the ball upcourt against the same pressure that Alabama used to confuse Purdue last year in Tuscaloosa. For example, more than a few times, both Barlow and LewJack were on the court at the same time, leading to situations where either could bring the ball up and against pressure, they would seemingly often make one pass too many. At times, these passes were telegraphed (I'm looking at you, Kelsey) and led to steals or tips.
Lewis Jackson also made some interesting decisions to shoot three pointers. And while I can't exactly blame him since he was pretty open when he did it, he proved the defense right in leaving him open since he can't hit those shots. That concerns me a bit. No, I don't think our PG needs to be a three-point shooter, but I think he needs to be able to knock down open ones at a respectable clip, otherwise times will be able to double-team JJ and/or Smooge with impunity. You have to make them pay for those decisions.
As for the Purdue offense, they started a bit cold (I need to create a macro for that phrase) but then caught fire, which when combined with their smothering D led to a 17-0 run late in the first half. Seventeen-to-oh run. That's pretty damn good.
E'Twaun has another guy calling him a "silent assassin" -- coach Anthony Grant of the Tide:
"He's like a silent assassin out there. There's so many things that he does for his team. Some of it is loud, like his 3s were loud, and some of it is just a slow poison."
Smooge had 23 points, including a 5 for 10 mark from behind the arc. That's a sizzling 50% for you math majors. JJ chipped in with 17 on only ten shots (but 7 for 8 from the line). The Boilers overall were 9 of 24 from three while 'bama was 0 for 9. That's pretty tough to overcome.
I'm beginning to wonder if this year's team is going to be really comfortable at home -- like more than your typical good team. They just seem loose at Mackey and seem to really motivated by the home crowd, while on the road they've looked a bit shaky. Granted, they did win the Va Tech game, but I think if Purdue gets that Hokie squad in Mackey, it's not even close. If this turns out to be the case, I'm fine with it. I love home court advantages and I hope that Mackey becomes viewed as one of the toughest venues in the Big Ten, much the way the Kohl Center currently is.
Much like last season, Alabama is a very athletic, talented team, but they're just too raw to hope to beat a more polished team like Purdue. The Boilers' defense frustrated the Tide during the Purdue run late in the first half, leading to unforced errors compounding their offensive struggles. Once the Tide players looked frustrated, I knew this one was most likely going the way of the Black and Gold. Once again, Purdue did what you're supposed to do to an inferior opponent -- beat them convincingly.
Holding a major-conference foe to under 50 points and winning by nearly 20 sounds right to me.