BS 2018-2019 Basketball Season Preview Roundtable: PART TWO
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We released Part One of our Basketball Season Preview Roundtable yesterday, tackling important subjects like the Year of Carsen, our feelings about last year, newcomers, and buddy cop movies. We’re back at it again today, getting you ready for tonight’s season-opener against Fairfield in Mackey Arena. You can watch it on BTN-.
We’ve also got a Basketball Beat podcast ready to go, because we’re a content machine. Subscribe/rate/review because we’ve got so much great #content. xoxox.
6. How could Matt Painter surprise you this season?
Dave: Painter would surprise me by going to a 2-3 zone. HAHA. I feel like he is better now at making in-game adjustments than before, or at delegating to his assistants more, but I'll defer to the hoops crew on that one. Also he's definitely regarded as one of the best coaches in the conference, so where in the past I might have had a specific suggestion, here I don't know that I do. Maybe if Purdue is top-three in the conference I'd be surprised?
Michael: Great question. A Big 10 title would certainly be surprising. Haarms as a stretch 3 would also be surprising. Missing the NCAA Tournament would be surprising as well.
Boilerdowd: See Question #2...also, winning less than 20 or getting more than 22 wins would be a surprise. If he shatters his Sweet 16 ceiling this year, I'll be stunned...perhaps even at a loss of words.
J Money: Getting tossed from a game, perhaps? Chewing on officials enough to affect the calls the way Izzo, Belein and others do.
Aneesh: Shattering the Sweet 16 ceiling might be too much to hope for, especially with this much roster turnover. I’ll go a little more general – I’d be shocked if Purdue played with pace and athleticism, as Painter tends to revert back to his motion offense. But with athletic lineups that can run (especially ones that include Carsen Edwards, Nojel Eastern, Aaron Wheeler, and Matt Haarms) Purdue could take a historic disadvantage and turn it on its head. I’d also be shocked if Painter relied heavily on a pick-and-roll halfcourt offensive scheme, even though lineups with Carsen and Eric Hunter as lead guards would thrive under that system. This is gonna be a weird roster for Painter, and I’m excited to see how he’ll adapt.
7. Who gets more hair attention - Haarms or Evan Boudreaux?
Dave: Why are you asking a bald guy about hair?
Michael: Haarms gets more but Evan needs more.
Boilerdowd: From me, Boudreaux...I might give that style a try. Haarms' locks are the equivalent of a Bugatti Chiron. Pie-in-the-sky.
J Money: Haarms will continue to own this because not only is his hair glorious, he flips it endlessly.
Aneesh: Haarms at the beginning of the season, but by the end of the year the entire country will be talking about Evan Boudreaux’s flowing locks.
8. I dream of Matt Haarms becoming College Kristaps Porzingis, alongside Carsen becoming College Damian Lillard. What are realistic expectations for Matt Haarms this year? Dave: asdf
Dave: I ... don't know? There don't seem to be a lot of kenpom comparables for freshman bigs who block everything and then become starters their second year, and the ones that do generally were rebounding better than Haarms did. Maybe something like Gorgui Dieng, where his efficiency drops off a bit with increased usage, but his fouls committed/40 drops as well, and he also sees a spike in FT% so that opponents don't keep hacking him? (Obvs Louisville's offense was/is much different, so Haarms' role will be significantly different than Dieng's was.)
Michael: Realistically, 8 and 5 would be a good year. *ducks* I know that's not what people want to see but I think it's the most realistic. He's going to be better for sure, but he's going to anchor the paint more than last year, and he's going to have more focus on him. Plus, sophomore slump is a real thing. Besides, he averaged 5 and 3 last year; 8 and 5 would still be an improvement.
Boilerdowd: Haarms scoring 9/10 pts/gm swatting close to 3 shots/gm and grabbing 5 boards/gm is what I'm expecting. I think he'll become more of a three point threat after Boudreaux's single year of service in God's country. Carsen is not Damian Lillard...hardly anybody is. I always think of Edwards could become like Trey Burke or Kemba Walker.
J Money: I think it’s fair to expect a lot from Haarms this year. He’s been around this program awhile, he’s had the experience of knowing guys like Biggie and Haas, and he’s got a seemingly very positive attitude and work ethic. I think seeing flashes of College Kristaps is fair to expect at this point. As with all college sports, you want to see progress and maybe end the season with an excitement about what that guy will become next year.
Aneesh: All of those expectations are fair. But really, I’d like to see him excel in just two roles – as a rim protector (which he’s already shown), and as a partner in the pick-and-roll/pick-and-pop (which he has not). Shot blocking came naturally for Haarms, but there’s a lot more to rim protection (see: Rudy Gobert vs the stat-chasing Hassan Whiteside). Preventing shots from being taken, and preventing drives from even beginning, is just as important, and that’s where Haarm’s agility could prove an improvement over Haas last year. Offensively, Haarms has to finish in traffic (he’s going to draw a lot of hard fouls), and getting his shooting percentages to a respectable number (breaking ~25% from three would be a start).
9. Pick your favorite "other guy" (Ryan Cline, Nojel Eastern, Grady Eifert, Tommy Luce). In a sentence, why does he have your interest piqued?
Dave: Eastern, no question. He's nowhere near his ceiling, and he's already had an impact on defense and on the offensive glass. If he has a sophomore year anything like Carsen's, it'll make a huge difference - again using Louisville as an example, one good way to lift your eFG% (Eastern's was .500 last season) is by getting putbacks and fast-break baskets, and Eastern is already doing the things that lead to those. Boogie needs someone to draw attention from him, and a 6'6" board-cleaner will definitely help with that.
Michael: Nojel because he's built for the NBA, and will get there if he develops a shot. Also I'm shocked he's even included in the "other guy" category.
Boilerdowd: Purdue's success this season might hinge on Eastern's productivity and ability to take a big step offensively...I'll go with Nojel.
J Money: Oh, this is Nojel, no contest. He showed tremendous progress last year from November to March to the point where he was getting a lot of PJ’s minutes. If we assume he has continued that trajectory, he will be a huge part of this team this year.
Aneesh: I’ll zag a little bit and go with Ryan Cline. Outside Carsen, he’s the only proven shooter on the roster, and I think he’s among the minutes leaders by season’s end because of that reason. Whether Purdue sticks to the motion offense, or moves a little more towards the pick-and-roll, having a dangerous sniper in the corner will be vital. Cline needs to step up in that expanded role.
10. Predictio Time: How many games does Purdue win, where will they finish in the B10, and how far will they go in March Madness (or will they make the Tourney at all)?
Dave: Purdue will finish the regular season 19-12, tied for fifth in the conference. They'll split in the conference tournament and in the NCAAs to finish 21-14. With the Big Tenteen in another down year, the Boilers will still make the NCAAs, but they don't have a big margin for error, as there likely won't be as many quality-win opportunities as the conference schedule would usually provide. If they drop an extra game or two, they could be too close to the bubble for comfort.
Michael: Purdue will win 24 games, will finish third in the B1G Ten (regular season), and they'll lose in the first round.
Boilerdowd: 21 wins, finish in fifth or sixth in the conference and lose in the round of 32 to Texas Tech.
J Money: Purdue will win about 25 games this year, including BTT and NCAA Tournament. If things break their way, I could see a 15-5 Big Ten record, but that may be aggressive. So I’ll say a top 4 finish in the conference and a borderline round of 32 or Sweet 16 finish depending on the seeding and matchups.
Aneesh: 23 wins in an up-and-down regular season (4th-5th in the conference, in a down year), with Carsen taking Purdue to an unexpected Big Ten Tournament Championship appearance. Fueled on that, Carsen and Purdue pull off two upsets to make the Sweet 16 again.