In the Big Ten Preseason poll, Purdue was picked to finish 5th in the conference.
It was understandable considering that Matt Painter was going to depend on a couple of freshmen along with some veterans, most notably, big man Zach Edey.
The Boilermakers early schedule would give everyone some insight into what Painter had with the team.
Needless to say, it would be fair to surmise that the Boliermakers will be just fine.
Purdue will have a chance to win the Phil Knight Legacy bracket when they face Duke.
No matter the results, Purdue has proven that they will be a problem in the Big Ten. After a win over West Virginia, Purdue faced Drew Timme and a very experience Gonzaga team.
The first half showed the early season flaws along with the potential of this team.
Purdue spent the first half against Zags missing layups and open shots. They finished the first 20 minutes 4-15 from three. As you can tell they didn’t throw the ball in the post until late in the half.
Edey hit back-to-back shots and you could see some stabilization in the offense.
It also pushed Purdue to an unlikely halftime lead.
The second half was more of a Purdue-like half. Edey had a big half scoring 15 points with some of those points coming directly on Timme when Gonzaga decided to go small.
Purdue finished the game making six of their last seven shots as they cruised past the Bulldogs, 84-66.
Painter has a mix of vets and young pups. Fletcher Loyer is one of the young pups that has proved early on that the stage isn’t too big for him. Loyer’s constant movement on offense and his sweet stroke from three pairs well with Edey.
Indiana’s Mr. Basketball, Braden Smith, is the other freshman that has earned a starting spot.
Duke will present a different challenge. The Blue Devils are athletic on the wing and they have their own stable of freshmen but the key to today’s game will be a vet.
Jeremy Roach’s two-way play is important to the Blue Devils and his defense on the Boilermakers guards will be something for Painter to watch.
Win or lose, not only has Purdue put the Big Ten on notice, they’ve caught the attention of the country.