Coach Matt Painter has said that the Purdue Men's Basketball team will not play in the CBI. This may be some of the best news of the season for Boilermaker faithful. Last year's CBI appearance was a difficult pill to swallow for fans and a return trip this season might have killed any supporters with weak constitutions. In the end, the last second loss on a Terone Johnson miss was a fitting conclusion to the year, and honestly most fans are probably glad they don't have to watch this team flounder anymore.
The season had a bit of an inauspicious start as the Boilers needed 5 points in the last minute to beat lowly Northern Kentucky at home, but they seemed to be on the right track until the Old Spice Classic. Purdue looked sloppy yet scrappy in a failed comeback attempt against Oklahoma State, but then gave up a 10-point halftime lead and lost by 15 against a bad Washington State team. The B1G-ACC Challenge was kind to Purdue and they scored an easy win against BC at home. Later, a week after a disappointing Crossroads Classic loss to Butler, the Boilermakers got one of their best wins of the season against West Virginia.
The WVU win and a 3-2 start to the B1G season had to give fans hopes of a return to the NCAA tournament. Unfortunately, a tough double overtime loss to Northwestern, on the same day as a horrible tragedy on the West Lafayette campus, started a four-game losing streak and a 2-12 finish. One of those two wins was a shellacking of rival IU in Mackey (keyed by Sterling Carter, who later fell victim to the Purdue ACL curse). The win was the only real solace in a season of disappointment for fans. The Boilers played Michigan tough before a last-second shot from Glenn Robinson III, the son of a Purdue legend, finished the complete derailment of the season. Matt Painter's team played a close game against Iowa and had a shot to beat Ohio State at the buzzer in Indy, but they never controlled either game.
The final season for TJ and Travis Carroll, and the only season for Errick Peck and Carter, was certainly not what any of them hoped. There is some hope as Painter brings in a promising recruiting class next year, and this year's freshman showed a lot of promise. On the other hand, the coach lost Jay Simpson to a potentially life-saving HCM diagnosis, and starting point guard Ronnie Johnson has now decided to transfer (more here). A.J. Hammons could also jump to the NBA, but I believe he will test the water and decide to return for at least one more year. Next season could see the Boilers truly compete or flounder again depending on if Painter and his players can figure each other out. They should at least be able to finish better than Rutgers...maybe.