Purdue’s Matt Painter sees some fresh challenges with Indiana and its new coaching staff

Purdue head coach Matt Painter passed the Archie Miller era with flying colors.  In fact, he aced it with a perfect 7-0 record against IU over the last four seasons.

So if Indiana has anything going for it against the No. 4 Boilermakers on Thursday (7 p.m. / FS1), the element of unfamiliarity might be at the top of the list.  While Painter had Miller’s number, he has never faced new IU head coach Mike Woodson, someone the 17-year Boilermakers coach and Indiana native has said he watched and emulated as a young boy.

What does Painter see as different between Miller and Woodson’s teams?

It starts with a more aggressive defense.

“Well obviously they’re pretty deep, they have a lot of new pieces, they can play a couple different ways,” Painter said on Wednesday.

“They got some guys that have really bought into defending and they can put a lot of pressure on the ball.  They’ll take passes away, their bigs are athletic they can play the passing lanes can and block shots.  Very, very active defensively.  They have active hands, get a lot of deflections, so you have to be strong with the ball.  You’ve got to really cut hard so you can get your catches where you want, because they do a good job of kind of knocking you out of that or pushing you out further.”

On the offensive end three-point shooting was a major shortcoming for Indiana during Miller’s time in Bloomington.  Painter has taken note of how Indiana is working to integrate its new shooters into the offense.

“It just kind of depends on when in the game and how the game is flowing in in terms of the spacing (that Indiana is able to generate),” Painter said.  “(Parker) Stewart can really shoot, obviously we’re familiar with Miller Kopp’s ability to shoot the basketball.

“But they’ve had other guys step up in particular games and knock down threes.  Maybe their overall numbers aren’t great from three but they have the ability to get hot, knock down three or four, so you know it’s going to be a total team effort.”

While Painter will have his team conscious of Indiana’s shooters, his gameplan will most likely focus on slowing down Indiana star Trayce Jackson-Davis.

In the past Painter has varied his approach against Jackson-Davis, doubling some but not all the time, and varying where the double teams come from.  In the game in Bloomington last year, Purdue started to trap the post more aggressively in the last 10 minutes of the second half.

Whatever the approach this year, Jackson-Davis will be top-of-mind for Painter and his defense.

“I think across the board you got to know where Trayce Jackson-Davis is at all times,” Painter said.

“He’s so good, and so quick and athletic that he puts you in a bind sometimes.  Sometimes when you play great players, it’s the adjustment in the game.  Can you adjust after the first five minutes?  Can you adjust at halftime?  Or are you ready to play and you understand just how good he is going both ways even though he prefers to go left?

“It’s still hard.  He’s one of those guys that sometimes you know exactly what’s coming and he still does it and I think that’s kind of a true test of a player is when you know what’s coming and he still scores on you.”

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