Purdue Basketball: Best Team in the B1G By a Very Wide Margin


vince-edwards purdue basketball

Just a few days ago, this 2017-18 Purdue basketball team was #1 in the Sagarin ratings. This weekend, the Boilermakers ascended to #2 KenPom, as they’re the only team to have a both a top 10 ranked offense and a top 10 ranked defense. They spent this was week ranked #4 in the country and by the time you read this they could be #3.

Purdue is also the only team in the nation yet to have lost on American soil this season. When you look at all the superlatives, coupled with the severe deterioration of the B1G this season, it’s a given to say that they are the best team in the conference right now; and by a very healthy margin. 

mackey arena purdue

Ultimately, this season is not going to be about how they stack up against the B1G, it’ll instead be defined by how they measure themselves nationally. This is a season in which there just isn’t a true dominant team. Duke, Villanova, Virginia, West Virginia, Wichita State- all elite sides, but each are flawed. Kentucky is more rebuilding than reloading this year. Kansas has been somewhat humbled by a Big 12 that is way more loaded than usual.

North Carolina has had major issues. Arizona? You remember what this Purdue basketball team did to them in Atlantis. UCLA?

They’re still a mess and at a point where they must accept that what they once were is never coming back. All of the blue bloods are vulnerable right now and many of the blue bloods are residing on a much lower than usual plain right now. Thus, it’s a year where everything is wide open, and opportunity is knocking.

However, you can’t send someone else to get the door, you have to rise up and open the door and let it in, and that’s what Matt Painter’s team is doing.

purdue basketball matt painter

One of the most likable traits about this Purdue basketball team is the fact that they do not coast. In this day and age of college basketball, so many high caliber teams just take their foot off the gas pedal and dial down the effort in mid-season *cough cough Michigan State*. Painter and his very experienced, senior dominated team simply won’t let that happen.

The Boilers are now the new current favorite (19%) to win the NCAA tournament. Their BPI rating improved after dominating a hot mess both on and off the court Minnesota team this past weekend, and now Purdue is also the favorite (53%) to earn the top overall seed in the NCAA tournament.

Before we get to March though, and the quest for the Purdue basketball program to win their first Final Four since 1980 (pre Gene Keady era), there is the issue of the B1G. Right now, the league feels like the typical Big 12 season, when you usually have Kansas and a bunch of guys, with Purdue obviously playing the role of KU.

Michigan is intriguing. The Wolverines have talent and John Beilein is as under-appreciated and underrated as it gets. Ohio State is for real now, and they present, possibly, the toughest match-up issues for Painter’s bunch. Like almost any match-up worth watching this year in the B1G, it’s only a one-play, and the Buckeyes come to Mackey February 7.

vince edwards purdue basketball

That will likely be a match-up of conference player of the year front-runners in Vince Edwards and Keita Bates-Diop. Beyond Ohio State and Michigan, two teams where most of their fans are usually still more interested in spring football practice than men’s basketball (at least until March), you have Michigan State.

Let’s flash back to our B1G Purdue basketball season preview, published November 10:

Michigan State is everyone’s pick to win the league, but remember the Sparty script. They often stumble to inexcusable and inexplicable losses from the period of late December to mid February. Then they pick it up when it matters most in March.

If State repeats that pattern again this year and loses ground in the league race, perhaps this Purdue basketball team will be the side that steps up seizes the opportunity.

And now…

Th rest of the league? Well, the less said, the better, as it’s all one big soft underbelly. Indiana is improving, but has a ways to go. Wisconsin has finally had a market correction. Illinois is the Tonya Harding of power five athletics- their own worst enemy, with no capacity to handle success at all.

Northwestern hasn’t been able to adjust to their new role as the hunted, instead of the hunters. All in all, it’s full steam ahead in West Lafayette.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.

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