Maintaining success has never been more difficult in college basketball. The combination of the transfer portal and the NBA Draft makes each offseason both eventful and potentially transformative for most programs.
Now that the smoke has mostly cleared following the 2021-22 season, we’ll go team-by-team in the Big Ten to assess which programs are set up for success, and who might take a step back.
Next up is Purdue. Can a 29-8 season go down as a disappointment? Most Purdue fans would say yes after an 8-0 start and national No. 1 ranking had them dreaming of the Final Four. But the Boilers faded down the stretch, finishing the year just 21-8 including third place (14-6) in the Big Ten, and a Sweet 16 loss to St. Peter’s in the NCAA Tournament. Major roster losses now leave the fan base wondering how long they’ll have to wait for their next national contender.
- Jaden Ivey (17.3 PPG),
- Trevion Williams (12.0 PPG),
- Sasha Stefanovic (10.4 PPG),
- Eric Hunter Jr. (6.2 PPG),
- Isaiah Thompson (4.2 PPG)
- Zach Edey, C (14.4 PPG),
- Mason Gillis, PF (6.4 PPG),
- Brandon Newman, SG (4.6 PPG),
- Caleb Furst, PF (4.1 PPG),
- Ethan Morton, SG (2.4 PPG),
- Trey Kaufman-Renn, PF (DNP – redshirt),
- Brian Waddell, SF (DNP – redshirt)
- David Jenkins Jr., SG (8.5 PPG at Utah)
Freshmen (Rankings from 247Sports Composite)
- Fletcher Loyer, SG (4-star, No. 92),
- Camden Heide, SF (3-star, No. 130),
- Braden Smith, PG (3-star, No. 194),
- William Berg, C (NR/International)
RETURNING MINUTES: 39.5 percent (per barttorvik.com)
WHY IT WILL WORK
Simply put, Matt Painter. Entering his 18th year at Purdue, Painter has a .667 winning percentage, three Big Ten titles and 13 NCAA Tournament appearances. There have been far too many seasons during that span where Purdue appeared on paper to be destined for a bad season before Painter got more out of a team than was expected. Purdue got away from its identity a bit last year with Ivey, who either by design or his own doing, played a bit too much hero ball. Painter can build this team around Edey, who had the highest plus/minus last year, can shoot 65 percent from the field, dominate the offensive glass, and live at the free throw line.
WHY IT WON’T
There are glaring holes on this roster. Who will be ready to play point guard? Who will be ready to play the volume shooter role of Stefanovic? Can Edey’s body handle a bigger role? There are potential answers to all of those questions, but at this point in time that’s just it — Purdue has unanswered questions. Smith will end up being a good point guard, but it’s a lot to ask of an undersized freshman. Point guard is likely the biggest concern, especially on the defensive end. Newman hasn’t proven anything on a consistent basis to be counted on as a primary scoring threat. Loyer will be a star but he’s young. Gillis, Furst and Kaufman-Renn all have promise, but they all overlap.
The program has a motto “Defense Lives Here,” but someone rented out Defense’s room last year. The Boilers have dropped from No. 11 to No. 34 to No. 93 in KenPom.com adjusted defensive efficiency over the last three seasons. Ultimately it was Purdue’s lack of a defensive identity that sunk its promising 2021-22 season, and it isn’t clear they’ll have the pieces to regain their edge on that end of the floor. When Purdue has been at their best on defense, they’ve had a stifling on the ball presence at the top. No one appears ready to step into that role next year, and Edey’s lack of quickness leaves holes on the backside.
BIG TEN OUTLOOK: Middle of the pack/top half
MORE BIG TEN OUTLOOKS:
- Michigan State
- Ohio State
- Penn State
The Daily Hoosier –“Where Indiana fans assemble when they’re not at Assembly”
- Find us on Facebook: thedailyhoosier
- You can follow us on Twitter: @daily_hoosier
- Seven ways to support completely free IU coverage at no cost to you.