Purdue Participates in BTT Final
Michigan won the Big Ten Tournament in its first iteration in Madison Square Garden today with a 75-66 win over the Boilermakers.
Big Ten Tournament 2018 coverage:
Purdue came into today’s Big Ten Tourney title game without a whole lot to play for honestly. That’s not to say they didn’t want to win because it sure seemed like they came to New York with purpose this week. However, the chatter I’ve seen around bracketologists has been that Purdue is pretty much locked into a 2 seed, which makes sense. It’s hard to imagine an 8th ranked Purdue leaping to the 1 line, while making the BTT title game and having the season they’ve had (29 wins and counting) also seems solidly worthy of a 2 and nothing less.
Of course, once you get a conference tourney title game, it becomes a nice item to add to the trophy case. So here Purdue was, attempting to beat Michigan for the third time this season -- never an easy thing to do, but especially so against a very dangerous and well-coached squad like the Wolverines.
Purdue did not play particularly well in the first half, or so it felt. Carsen started the game icy cold and nobody else outside of Haas really got anything going. Haas, to his credit, continued his season-long habit of taking advantage of Michigan players and was the only Boilermaker in double figures at the half (11 pts on 5/8) despite playing just ten minutes to that point.
In the second half, Purdue came out cold and stayed cold. They fell down by 11 a couple of times, marking the most they had trailed by since the loss to WKU in the Bahamas back in November (trailed by 14 there). So there is more evidence of the kind of season it has been (i.e., good).
It got worse from there, as a Moe Wagner triple ballooned the lead out to 14 with just over twelve minutes to go. And given that this wasn’t the OSU-Purdue game, that kind of lead with that kind of time left is not a good recipe. At the under-8 time out, it was 15 and things were not improving. At the six minute mark, it reached 18 and I was underneath the desk.
Suddenly, in the final minutes, though, Purdue showed life and pride and whittled the lead down to just seven with under a minute to go. Grady had to foul Abdur-Rahkman and A-R actually then missed them both, so Purdue headed downcourt with a chance to make it a four point game. Instead of working for a three, Carsen drove into traffic and lost the ball and the comeback was clearly going to fall short. Still good to see the life showed at the end, but this one was never tilting Purdue’s way.
What Went Well
Nobody got hurt? So that’s good.
Isaac Haas played well, scoring 23 on 9/12 shooting and nabbing eight rebounds. He did all of this in relatively limited minutes (just 23).
Nojel continues to grow up before our very eyes. The difference between Bahamas Nojel and New York Nojel was noticeable. His confidence has improved dramatically and his decision-making is getting better quickly. He’s also going to be one of Purdue’s best rebounders next season, at least from the players currently on the roster. Nojel played 18 minutes and scored 11 on 4/4 shooting from the field (3/6 from the line and whoo-boy, that FT form) to go with six rebounds.
What Went Less Than Well
Carsen couldn’t find his game all night. He wound up with just 12 points on 4/16 shooting (though he nabbed eight boards) and was clearly out of his usual rhythm all night. He couldn’t stay hot forever and it’s basically been The Carsen Show of late so this kind of thing is going to happen. The problem is that when it happens against a good team, Purdue’s offense looks very pedestrian.
Purdue’s three point shooting continues to be curiously inconsistent, to put it kindly. In this BTT title game, they shot an ugly 3/17 (24%).
This was also the second consecutive game where Purdue’s free throw shooting was also substandard. Granted, they didn’t shoot a lot of them but I’m not going to pretend that didn’t also concern me.
Purdue managed to go almost exactly seven minutes without a field goal in the second half of the second half so….yeah, not so good.
The Game Was Over When...
For the first time all season, I would argue this one was over early (if the second half can be early). The first few minutes of the second half was the last time this one was truly competitive. After an Isaac Haas bucket closed it to 40-37, the Wolverines went on an 8-0 spurt, including a pair of threes -- and helped by some sloppy Purdue turnovers -- that suddenly pushed it out to an 11 point lead with 15:49 remaining and the Boilers were reeling. It never really got close again.
Tweet(s) of the Day
Nathan Baird noticed that Matt Painter laid into (and benched) Vincent Edwards:
Chris Kramer, for one, agreed with the decision, ankle be damned:
I like Coach Paint sitting V. Edwards. Gotta play with fire and emotion.— Chris Kramer (@C_K_3) March 4, 2018
Zach Osterman asked about it and Painter said it was just an effort to get energy and different guys out there. So if it was a punishment of sorts, it’s good of Painter not to hang one of his seniors out to dry at the presser.
Purdue is 28-6 on the season and I have seen half their losses in person and just three wins (that’s 3-3 for you slow math types). This clearly means I should be barred from attending more games.
I was told that Vincent said this week that he’s lucky to feel 70% these days, so I have to think that in the end, the ~10 day break between now and the big tourney is a good thing for Purdue.
Purdue fans showed well to this game -- they might have had half the seats -- but UM fans were louder from the outset. You know how you can see how other teams will hate Haarms due to his antics/energy? That’s how it is being near Michigan fans.
Purdue twitter did its thing as Purdue began to look poor, and by that I mean melting down. Look, I’m not saying fans don’t have a right to be mad or a right to do really anything they want. But Purdue has legitimately had a very good season following the loss of an all-american. And it’s not over yet. Probably worth keeping it all in perspective.
Purdue now rests for a week before learning where they'll be sent and what seed they will have. There is talk of a 2-seed in the midwest region but obviously there is a lot that will happen over the next seven days. Purdue then will wait another four or five days to play again, their longest layoff of the season. As noted, that might not be a bad thing at all for a team that has been playing together since the summer.