How Good is Matt Painter?

You already know Purdue is tied atop the Big Ten, but let's look a bit closer at why Painter deserves to be coach of the year in the Big Ten, if not the nation:

As individual players:
-Every player (except Marcus Green) on the Purdue team that plays more than 5 min./game has only been on Purdue's roster for two seasons or less.
-Purdue has started four Freshman on multiple occasions this season...Thus Purdue has the youngest starting five in all of the land.
-Three of Purdue's top five scorers are true Freshman, one is a true Sophomore, one is a JuCo transfer Junior.
-No Purdue player averages more than 11 points, or 6 rebounds/game.

As a team, in comparison with the rest of the Big Ten:
-Purdue is fifth in scoring offense.
-Purdue is fourth in scoring defense.
-Purdue is sixth in scoring margin (and really didn't figure out how to put teams away until game 10)
-Purdue is second in free throw percentage.
-Purdue is ninth in field goal percentage.
-Purdue is eight in field goal percentage defense.
-Purdue is third in steals.
-Purdue only leads the league in turnover margin.

Purdue does lead in one important major category: Conference wins. These young guys are good, but Painter's the reason they're playing so darned well. While he is not be even close to John Wooden's status, calling Painter the "Magician of Mackey" really isn't too much of a stretch this year.

Painter has found the right combinations at the right times all season to help a bunch of underexperienced players gel together to form a very formidable team. I am truly amazed at how quickly this group has gotten to the top of the league. But also am realistic in my belief, that even with tremendous situational coaching and superb game prep, if the Boilers don't shoot better, OR play defense at an even higher level it will be awfully tough to win the Big Ten title.

All that said, they're in a great position now, and will be the favorite if they win in Madison tomorrow night.

Weekend Sports Notes (CMigrator copy 1)

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