The Purdue Boilermakers let the nation know on Tuesday night that they are still among the top tier of the Big Ten.
This was just the second game for Matt Painter’s team in the wake of their loss to Louisville and whoever doubted them after that game, must rethink that decision now.
The Boilermakers absolutely throttled Bobby Hurley’s Sun Devils, thoroughly dominating them from start to finish, on both ends of the floor. In every phase of the game, Purdue was dominant.
Arizona State is not a top-flight opponent by any means, but to dismantle a major conference team like Purdue did is always something that should draw attention.
Here’s what we learned from Purdue’s performance tonight.
What We Learned:
1. Purdue has many scoring options.
This beating that Purdue dished out on Tuesday night came with their star player, Caleb Swanigan, registering only 6 points.
But shouldn’t be surprising, either. Five players on Purdue’s roster came into this game averaging double-figure points per game. Even with Swanigan in single figures, six Boilermakers still scored in double figures.
The 7-2, 290 pound Isaac Has led the efficient Purdue offense with 16 points, on 6-9 shooting, and also grabbed 7 boards. Freshman guard Carsen Edwards and junior Dakota Mathias both notched 12 points in the starting rotation.
For the bench unit, three more were in double figures as Vince Edwards (16 points), Ryan Cline (15 points), and Basil Smotherman (14 points) all had big scoring nights.
The team shot a terrific 59% from the floor in this game, in an almost 100-point outburst. They also shot 56% form downtown, up from their already good team average of 43%.
This offense has options, and is very dangerous. If they can build on this performance, then look out. ESPECIALLY if Swanigan is hot like everyone else was.
2. Purdue’s size proves to be dominant (again).
Everyone already knew that Purdue’s size was their greatest asset.
But that asset came through in a big way in this game.
The Boilermakers out-rebounded the Sun Devils by a 44-28 margin. It was total domination on the glass.
But defensively was where the size took its biggest toll. The Sun Devils shot only 36% from the floor and 15% from 3-point range. Purdue’s ability to clog the lane with big bodies, like Haas and Swanigan, made for a lot of contested interior shots and forced 3-pointers as a result of such little opportunity inside.
Purdue’s path to a Big Ten title is certainly not going to be easy with teams like Indiana and Wisconsin at the top of the conference. But if they can continue to impose themselves physically like this, then it will be very hard to beat them.
3. Carsen Edwards is the X-Factor
The freshman from Atascocita, Texas had a solid game, and flashed his great potential in showing why his growth could be the difference between Purdue being a contender for the No. 2 spot in the Big Ten, or being a serious threat to win the conference.
Edwards scored 12 points in this game, which is right at his average of 11.9 per game. He also tacked on 4 boards and 2 assists. He shot a decent 5-11 from the field, but if he can improve his efficiency, then he is a star.
Edwards came into the game shooting only 41% from the floor and 34% from three. But his shot is developing and his quick first step make him a threat in driving to the hoop. If he can continue to improve on his shot-making clip, then he could be a serious contender for Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
Edwards’ development into a potential star could take this team to Final Four-like heights, and he has shown promise of being that star thus far this season.
Purdue’s two losses this season are far from bad ones.
They lost a tight game to No. 1-ranked, and defending national champion, Villanova, and simply heated up too late in their seven point loss to Louisville. the No. 11-ranked team in the nation.
Purdue is not the most flashy team on planet Earth, but Matt Painter’s squad embodies their coach in their toughness and ability to wear down their opponents.
If Purdue can continue to impose their size and keep this great depth intact, then they will be a team that can make some noise in the NCAA Tournament come March.
But if Carsen Edwards can fast-track his development and become close to the player that he is capable of being, then the Boilermakers can accomplish something so much more.
Don’t forget about them because of a couple tight losses.
Purdue is for real, and they’re a tough out for any team in the nation.