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Purdue Boilermakers Men’s Basketball 2017-18 Preview and Predictions

Can the Boilers repeat as Big 10 Champs without Swanigan?

NCAA Basketball: Indiana at Purdue Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Last Season

Led by All-American Caleb Swanigan, Purdue went 14-4 in conference play and won their first Big Ten Championship since 2010. After an uneven performance in the non-conference, and a shaky start to the B1G season, the Boilers put together a great run and ended up winning the conference by a two game margin.

After a disappointing B1G Tourney loss to Michigan, Purdue advanced to the Sweet Sixteen as a four seed and got pummeled by Kansas.

The Lineup

Key Loss: Caleb Swanigan

Key Additions: Matt Haarms (7’3” PF/C from Holland), Eden Ewing (6’7” PF from JuCo), Nojel Eastern (6’6” PG)

Projected Starters:

Isaac Haas, Sr, 12.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg

Vincent Edwards, Sr, 12.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg, .423 3P%

Carsen Edwards, So, 10.3 ppg

Dakota Mathias, Sr, 9.7 ppg, 3.8 apg, .453 3P%

PJ Thompson, Sr, 7.4 ppg, 3.9 A:TO ratio

There is a lot of returning talent coming back to Purdue this season. They only lost one major piece of last year’s championship squad. It will be interesting to see what Purdue looks like without Caleb Swanigan.

Although the Boilers still have an inside presence in Isaac Haas, they will have to play more of an outside game this season. Purdue has some excellent outside shooters, including Ryan Cline off of the bench, but they may not be able to get as open this season without Swanigan drawing so much attention inside.

For Purdue to have a chance to repeat, Vincent Edwards will have to have a monster season. He is a great all-around player and a solid three-point shooter; he has had consistency issues in the past.

What to Watch For

  1. Matt Haarms. The 7’3” Dutchman is listed as a forward in the media guide. He has supposedly been playing well in practice, and has a decent outside shot. If both of those things are true, Haarms should be fun to watch, at least early in the season against the cupcakes.
  2. What happens in games where the three-pointers aren’t dropping. Purdue returns a lot of quality outside shooters and when they are on, the Boilers will be tough to beat. If the shots aren’t falling, then Purdue will have to find a way to score.
  3. Can Isaac Haas stay on the floor? Haas has a tendency to get into foul trouble, and it is usually worse as the season progresses. Without Swanigan to pick up the slack, Haas will need to stay on the floor and/or someone will need to step up as a reliable backup.
  4. Fun. Since Caleb Swanigan got drafted, the expectations for this season are not quite as high. Last season’s B1G championship should relieve a little bit of the stress of being a Purdue fan this season. Let’s watch the games and enjoy them this season.

Schedule

Nov 10 - SIU Edwardsville

Nov 12 - Chicago State

Nov 14 - at Marquette

Nov 18 - Fairfield

Nov 22 - vs. Tennessee -Battle 4 Atlantis quarterfinals

Nov 23 - vs. Villanova/WKU -Battle 4 Atlantis

Nov 24 - Battle 4 Atlantis TBD

Nov 28 - Louisville -B1G/ACC Challenge

Dec 1 - at Maryland

Dec 3 - Northwestern

Dec 7 - Valparaiso

Dec 10 - IUPUI

Dec 16 - vs. Butler -Crossroads Classic

Dec 21 - Tennessee State

Dec 30 - Lipscomb

Jan 3 - Rutgers

Jan 6 - Nebraska

Jan 9 - at Michigan

Jan 13 - at Minnesota

Jan 16 - Wisconsin

Jan 20 - at Iowa

Jan 25 - Michigan

Jan 28 - at Indiana

Jan 31 - Maryland

Feb 3 - at Rutgers

Feb 7 - Ohio State

Feb 18 - at Michigan State

Feb 15 - at Wisconsin

Feb 18 - Penn State

Feb 22 - at Illinois

Feb 25 - Minnesota

Purdue has a tough path to repeating as conference champs. Four out of five of the conference teams they play twice are pretty good (sorry Rutgers). Purdue only has to play Michigan State once, but it is an away game, so that sucks. And playing Indiana only once is also not optimal. Oh well, putting together a conference schedule is probably hard, so good work by the B1G to make sure everybody plays the same amount of games.

Predictions

I would expect Purdue to have a really good year and to win a lot of games. They will probably not win the conference again; repeating is hard. I’ll say they get third in the conference and make it back to the Sweet Sixteen.

The writers at this fine weblog (or ‘blog for short) have Purdue coming in second in the conference behind MSU, but ahead of the other teams.