Boilers Rout Hawkeyes For Tyler
Iowa never had a chance.
The visitors did and said the right things: Fran McCaffery wore a button, Iowa players wore #TylerStrong warmups … because let’s be honest, no one likes cancer, and those Hawkeyes are Tyler’s age just like the Boilers are. But Iowa was ranked only because polls are routinely silly - they came in 39th in kenpom and 34th in T-Rank - and their defensive shortcomings, a problem they’ve had the last couple of years under McCaffery, became their undoing.
If it hadn’t been for atrocious officiating, Purdue might well have hit 90 before taking their foot off the gas - it took less than a minute for the clown show to make their first bad call (oddly, giving the Good Guys possession on a ball that went off Carsen), and in the first 75 seconds of the second half, Purdue was whistled for four consecutive “fouls”, making you wonder if Tim Donaghy was in charge of Big Tenteen officiating these days. It turned out not to matter, partly because Purdue was on a mission, and partly because for the first time in a while, the Boilers played about 30 solid minutes of basketball (in fact, they played it so well that Painter had the luxury of playing Carsen just 28 minutes).
It was everything we’ve been expecting to see from these guys. Eastern and Cline driving the lane. Seemingly every Boiler finding the open man, including at least one sequence where the guy under the basket nearly dropped the ball because he didn’t think the pass could actually get there and then it did. Outstanding movement without the ball - on several occasions, a great back cut gave the Boilers an easy layup, and on others, Iowa found themselves giving up wide-open looks from three, many of which fell.
Defensively, the Boilers gave up some good looks, but they held Iowa to 17 threes (the Hawkeyes hit 6), well under Purdue’s season average (a team shooting 50 times would normally have fired 23 from outside the arc), kept pretty much everyone not named Tyler Cook from scoring, and did actually make Cook work for his points (24 on 19 shot equivalents, with 7 points coming in garbage time), and mostly kept the Hawkeyes off the line - Iowa was second in the country in FTA/FGA, but had 19 FTs instead of the 26 that their average would suggest. (So with competent officiating, it probably would have been 14 or 12 FT attempts.)
All of it. All of it all of it allofitallofitallofit
Fine. Shooting: all 10 players were within one make of 50% from the field. The Good Guys were 11 for 12 from the line; Eastern had the lone miss but hit his other FT. The Boilers shot a few wild threes and still hit .375 from distance.
Ball control. Turnovers had been a significant problem up until the Texas game; after that, the Good Guys have kept the ball like they’re supposed to. Tonight, they had 6 turnovers in meaningful minutes, and you can argue whether or not the last two were that meaningful (Eastern’s 3rd at 11:58 and Carsen’s lone turnover at 9:31).
Bench contributions. 39 points off the bench. No, Purdue had 39. Yes. 39 points. From the bench. Haarms had 14 points, 5 boards, 2 blocks, and at least three plays where Iowa made the mistake of letting him do something significant - that guy gets fired up by big plays more than just about anyone I’ve seen. Wheeler hit a pair of threes and missed just one shot to get his 10, Williams had a couple of nice buckets, and Eifert nailed his first shot to help get things going. (I know, he started. More on that below.)
Composure. When the refs decided to get Iowa back in the game, Purdue wasn’t having any of it. Painter didn’t get an untimely T but still jawed at the refs after every bad call, Cline settled down the younger guys when they were whistled, and Haarms didn’t get in trouble after either of his fouls. The Boilers simply kept scoring until not even the refs could make any difference.
Sort of not-good things
I nearly forgot that I was doing the writeup tonight, so I was about to take a nap when I remembered the game was on. I got to skip all the commercials and halftime stuff, so I ended up being only 20 minutes late or so, but I didn’t get to do my usual real-time tweeting, which tonight would have been a lot of all-caps stuff. WHEELER. BOOGIE. EASTERN. OH NO HE DI’NT. NOT A FOUL. ALSO NOT A FOUL.
Um … I guess Boudreaux and Eifert still starting? At some point I’d like to see Wheeler out there, although there’s the Haarms question looming over all this: some guys are simply better off the bench, and last I checked they won’t let you start just three. I’d also like to see Williams get more minutes, as he’s the one guy most likely to revive the low-post game that Painter loves to see - Haarms is adequate but still throws a lot of shots at the rim, because a guy with his wingspan should be making a meal out of interior defenses and he’s just not there yet.
The refs, as always.
No Tommy Luce? What up with that, coach?
Probably the biggest test left on the schedule: a trip to East Lansing. With a loss in Ann Arbor in the books, the Good Guys try to avoid going 0-2 in Michigan for the first time in six years (it’s not as impressive as it seems, half the time they didn’t play at one of the two schools). Quick: who has the worse NCAA tournament record over the last three seasons, Tom Izzo or Matt Painter? No, try again. Seriously. MSU has failed to reach the Sweet 16 each of the last three seasons, so it’s fair to question exactly how much Izzo has left in the tank, but his in-season struggles come with teams weaker than this one, and unlike this opponent, the Spartans are solid at both ends of the court. kenpom has MSU favored by 7; the Boilers would need another effort like tonight’s to fare better than that.
hey hey! Photos courtesy of Purdue Athletics, taken by Charles Jischke and Paul Sadler. Missed you guys, it’s not the same without high-quality shots to use.