Still falling... (Handsome Hour Preview)
Alright, last season was bad...16 wins, finished in the cellar division of the conference...and a deserved CBI invite (which ended disastrously). At season's end, the talk out of God's country was good- Painter was getting back to the way things used to be done...and wanted his team on the same page. As a result of the post-season interviews, a couple players found the door and defections coupled with graduation assured us that Purdue would be a very different-looking team this year.
Sadly, as March quickly approaches, things look notably-similar to that dismal season with maybe one caveat- this team is a much more likable bunch.
Aneesh and I recorded a Handsome Hour last night that we'll try to get posted on this very site in the coming days...but the conversation got me thinking about a few things- If last year's team played this year's, who would win? Do we have any real, tangible reason to believe Purdue should be better next season? How surprised would we as Purdue fans be if this team manged to win two of its last four regular season games?
Purdue will lose at least four players from this team at this season's end...all four are experienced guys that play a role on this team. Next season, with their departures, Purdue will lean heavily on two or three Freshman (depending on if Hammons leaves or stays). Some Purdue fans tend to vilify Terone Johnson as a weak link to this team; Regardless of what you think of him, he's the most-experienced player on the roster, AND Painter tends to play him more than any other player on the team. So is his play an indictment of his ability or Painter's decision making...or neither? That's up to you to decide. Regardless of where you land on this issue, none of this discussion is fun for those of us that bleed black and gold, and worse, the future is hazy at best.
It's tough to predict what will happen next year...it's easy to look at facts about this year. Fact: Purdue put together one of the softest pre-con schedules in my memory in an effort to fatten up and get some confidence. It didn't work. Purdue's weak schedule didn't help make them better in the long run, but seemed to expose them for what they really are.
Today's RPI shows us exactly what team Purdue is at this point of the season.