I should preface this by noting that I didn't watch last night's game. I don't live in the US, and it's difficult enough to get any US college sports, let alone exhibition games. I'm a pretty dedicated box score cruncher, though, and here are my thoughts on that. Numbers aren't everything, but they do sometimes tell you things that your eyes just don't pick up. Last year, for instance, the numbers stubbornly refused to corroborate my belief that Purdue's 3 pt defense was better than the previous year. Anyway, if you like reading kenpom, you'll probably enjoy what follows. If not, well, beware...
1. Rebounding - Holy crap. Last year it was close, but Purdue was outrebounded in its first exhibition game. Not so this year. Our Boilers collected 19 of 35 possible OFFENSIVE rebounds. That is to say, whenever Purdue missed a shot, it was more likely that a Boiler would come down with the board than that a Greyhound would. For some historical perspective, Purdue has accomplished that feat only 4 times in the past 2 years, and only once against a quality opponent (in a 75-50 throttling of Ohio State in the 08-09 season). In addition to this fantastic performance on the offensive glass, Purdue did a solid job on the defensive glass as well, collecting 72% of Indy's misses. Moreover, this dominance appeared to be consistent throughout the game. Purdue won the first half boards 25-13, and the second half boards 25-15. This is a great sign.
2. 2 point fg% - Purdue shot 53.4% from inside the arc last night. This is a solid number. Purdue was a bad 3 pt shooting team last year (only Hummel, Moore, Hart, and Wohlford were over 30%), and I always thought they should be shooting fewer 3's than they did. This year with a Preseason All-American big man in JJ, a great mid-range scorer in E'Twaun, and two players with the ability to finish at the bucket in LJ and Barlow, they should dominate in this category, and it looks like last night they did.
1 (and only). Turnovers - This sucked. Purdue committed to many and forced too few. As Painter has often remarked in post-game comments, it's wise to look at turnovers and rebounds together. In previous years, Purdue often offset poor rebounding by generating a lot of turnovers on the defensive end and taking care of the ball on the offensive end. Last night was completely the opposite. Does this signal a shift in Purdue's style? Perhaps. Of course, last night's turnover and rebounding numbers will revert to the mean to some extent, but I doubt that last night was a total aberration. The team has lost Kramer, who forced a ton of turnovers, as well as Hummel, who was one of the best in the nation at holding on to the ball on the offensive end. Because of that, it's likely that Purdue will force fewer TOs and commit more than they have in previous years. The questions are these: How many fewer will they force? How many more will they commit? And will improved rebounding be enough to offset this?
That's how it looks to me. Granted, this is one exhibition game, so any conclusions need to be tentative, but given the personnel changes that have occurred between last season and this one, it wouldn't be surprising to me if our Boilers clean the glass a bit better this year while doing a little worse in the turnover department.
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