Purdue Boilermakers Owning State of Indiana Basketball Right Now

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When Robbie Hummel went down with a season-ending injury in mid October, many college basketball pundits believed the Purdue Boilermakers’ dream season to be was lost. Their lofty top ten, in some cases top five, national ranking seemed no longer appropriate, and many experts wrote them off.

Yet here they are, the second most consistent and powerful team in the Big Ten. They’re ranked #14 in the national polls,19th in scoring margin, 24th in defense, 12th in turnover margin, 17th in assists, and 6th in assist to turnover ratio. And they have the conference’s leading scorer in JaJuan Johnson; who’s giving Jared Sullinger from Ohio State a run for his money for the conference MVP award.

And fresh off a demolishing of their hated rivals, the Indiana Hoosiers, the Boilers are by far the best basketball team in the state most rich in basketball tradition. As Butler, the Indiana Pacers and the Hoosiers struggle, Matt Painter’s team looks very strong.

By Paul M. Banks

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The Boilers have been winning despite suffering injuries beyond Hummel; key role players have gone down this season as well.

Yet here they are battling for a #3 or a #4 seed come March. The key? Everyone buying in to the team concept- all those hard work cliches and platitudes you hear coaches talk about. Most teams never buy in, but Purdue does.

“I think Purdue is a blue collar choice. In recruiting, if you’re pretty and you need all the bells and whistles, then we’re not your spot. Nor do we want you. We want a guy who’s going to wake up every day and work and we want a guy who understands that when you get here, we want you to have individual success, but in a team environment,” Purdue Coach Matt Painter said.

“If you don’t want to come here and help us win championships, then you’re not our guy.”

Purdue is winning because they recruited players like the ones Painter is talking about; and they’ve all bought into their system. The Boilermakers have only one bad loss: Richmond back in the Chicago Invitational. And the team has tremendous balance, as they’re 3rd in the league in scoring and scoring defense.

And they currently have a huge advantage over their rivals who reside in the southern part of the state. If in-state recruits are basing their decision on current success, they’d have to lean towards West Lafayette. Of course, that won’t last forever. Painter talked about the recruiting war between his team and the Hoosiers, and where the battle lines are drawn.

“We’re going to have some issues in the southern part, they’re going to have some issues in the northern part. Doesn’t mean we can’t get a guy from the south, and they can’t get a guy from the north, because we both have done that. Purdue’s gotten some guys from down in the southern part closer to Louisville, but not a lot. And they’ve gotten some guys from Ft. Wayne, up north but not a lot. It’s something that’s give and take, and something of someone trying to find a fit at each institution because both are great institutions,” Painter said.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net. He doesn’t have a real nickname, but he is also a regular contributor to the Tribune’s Chicago Now network, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com

He does a weekly radio segment on Chicagoland Sports Radio.com and Cleveland.com

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank

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Comments

  1. I am a die hard purdue fan, but you forgot about ND.

  2. yes, you’re right. and that’s unacceptable on my part. especially since I’ve covered a few ND games

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