Coach: Matt Painter (12th year)
2015-16 record: 26-9 (12-6)
Key departures: AJ Hammons (C), Raphael Davis (G), Johnny Hill (G)
New Guys: Spike Albrecht (Sr. G), Carsen Edwards (Fr. G)
Frontcourt contributors: Isaac Haas, 7’2" Jr (C). Caleb Swanigan, 6’9" So (F). Vincent Edwards, 6’7" Jr (F). Jacquil Taylor, 6’10" Jr (F). Basil Smotherman. 6’6" Jr (F).
Backcourt contributors: PJ Thompson, 5’11" So (PG). Dakota Mathias, 6’4" Jr (SG). Spike Albrecht, 5’11" Sr (PG). Carsen Edwards, 6’0" Fr (PG). Ryan Cline, 6’5" So (SG).
Although the Boilers lost AJ Hammons to graduation, they return a solid starting frontcourt in Haas, Swanigan, and Edwards. The bench isn’t as deep this year, though, and Haas will have to do a better job of avoiding fouls this season. Taylor hasn’t played much in his first two seasons, but he’ll get his chance this season.
There are a lot of guards who will be looking for playing time this season. Mathias and Kline will need to hit some outside shots to help space the floor and break zones that Purdue always seems to have trouble with. Albrecht sat out a large chunk of last season due to injury at Michigan, if he is healthy, he could help provide some offense. Carsen Edwards has looked pretty good so far as a scoring option, but it’s always hard to judge how freshmen will do against B1G competition. Thompson was a largely steady presence at the PG position last season, he may lose some minutes to the others this year.
AdjO: 110.4 (15th)
AdjD: 91.1 (21st)
AdjT: 70.5 (208th)
Overall: +19.27 (15th)
The non-con schedule has some tough games mixed in with the normal cupcakes. Reigning National Champs Villanova comes into West Lafayette for an early test. The B1G-ACC Challenge game is a tough one at Lousiville; maybe a Louisville assistant will provide hookers to distract the Boilers, but I’m sure that Rick Pitino would put a stop to that if he heard such a thing was going to happen. Purdue also plays Notre Dame at Indianapolis in the Crossroads Classic.
Purdue has a pretty manageable conference schedule. The Boilers only have to play Wisconsin at home; they only play at Maryland and Ohio State. It would be nice to play Rutgers and Minnesota twice, but the schedule isn’t as brutal as it could have been.
Purdue blew a lead in the final minute of their first round NCAA game for the second time in a row last season. It left a bad taste in the mouths of Purdue fans, even though the rest of the season was pretty solid. All signs are pointing towards another tourney appearance this year; it would be a relief if 2017 did not end in another choke job.
Vincent Edwards and Caleb Swanigan are going to be a solid forward combo that will be among the best in the conference. If Swanigan can limit his turnovers this season, he could be a great offensive player. Haas should provide a shot-blocking presence and some inside scoring over smaller opponents.
As far as guards go, I don’t have a great idea who will end up with most of the playing time. With the lack of depth in the frontcourt, the Boilers will probably play a small lineup more than Painter is used to. It will be nice to have some extra bodies to use in case of foul trouble and to keep fresh guys in there.
I think Purdue will be alright this year, probably somewhere in the top four or five of the conference. Even though Hammons and Davis are no longer on the team, there is a lot of potential among those who remain. As always, I am looking forward to the end of football and the beginning of basketball.