Purdue Closes Out Pre-Season With a Win

Purdue closed out its exhibition season with a 65-49 win over Southern Indiana University. While the outcome was never in question, Purdue will have plenty of things to work on in practice this week.

Purdue played well enough to keep the game out of reach, but also outlined a few items that need to be addressed by the start of the season. This is partly to be expected as Painter is in the process of of identifying lineups for various situations. Either way, there are still many areas that need to be improved upon.

Kelsey Barlow led all scorers with 12 points (5-7 shooting) including 2-3 behind the arc. Robbie Hummel had a well-rounded game with 8 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks in 16 minutes of play. Terone Johnson and Anthony Johnson added 10 and 8 points respectively. As a team, Purdue shot 25-61 (41%).

(click to enlarge)

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Losing E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson will not erase the target on Purdue's back. They will continue get every team's best shot and will likely viewed as a wounded animal ripe for the picking this season. The margin for error will be much tighter and Purdue needs play a much cleaner brand of basketball that we saw in the two exhibition games.

But also keep in mind that any insights drawn from exhibition play should be taken with a grain of salt. Painter played mad scientist with the lineups and subbed early and often. It's used as a tool to test out different situations and play sets.  Any success (or lack there of) is difficult to accurately evaluate.

Positive Observations:

- Robbie Hummel played much more aggressive in tonight's preseason game than he did on Tuesday. While he was more human tonight, he looked much more decisive picking his shot. For Purdue to be successful this season, Hummel will need to be a little selfish with the basketball. Tonight was a glimpse Robbie as the first option, and he really looked the part. He looked particularly lethal with his pullup jumper. I think he still has some minor aspects of his game that he is working through, but for all intents and purposes, he's currently playing at a very high level. With all the question marks heading into the season regarding Robbie's health, I think the preseason has told us everything we needed to know.

- Kelsey Barlow single handedly blew open the game in the first half with a three, followed by a steal and dunk, and capped by another three. We all know that he's capable of making spectacular plays, but he's never been a viable perimeter threat. The jury is still out, but it's fun to daydream about the the potential impact a legitimate three point shot would make on Barlow's game. If it was merely good enough to keep opposing D's honest, he'd be helping clear the lane. If he became the offensive threat that like that of tonight, he would be difficult to take out of the game.  But before I get too excited, lets see him do it when it really matters.

- In my opinion, Sandi Marcius has lived up to the off-season hype. Among everything else, he has embraced Purdue's high energy style of play and made a couple plays that amazed me. In one play he stole the ball and took it 3/4 of the court and drew a foul on the layup. Words cannot describe the sight of a 270 lb man child winning a footrace. His energy will make him a fan favorite. In two pre-season games, he has shot 6-7 from the field. Personally, I'd like to see the ball fed to Marcius in the post more often. He is obviously not going to be a first option, but he proved to be a capable option in the preseason. There is no doubt he is going to make some really stupid plays in the process, but any presence that he can create down low will help Purdue's perimeter game in a big way. I understand that the preseason is not a good representation of what he's going to face this season, but he should at least be given the opportunity until it's proven ineffective. At the very least, he will benefit from the experience.

-  Anthony Johnson demonstrated that he can be a great asset to the offense season. This might sound stupid or naive, but I wouldn't be surprised if he found his way into the starting lineup late in the season. Our half-court offense is going to need all the weapons it can get and AJ might be one of the best organic shot creators beyond Robbie Hummel. He does a lot of the things that E'Twaun Moore by creating his own shot and slashing through the lane. And AJ can be just as good, if not a better three point shooter. Unfortunately, his PT will largely be determined by his ability to play defense. If he can be even an adequate defender, he'll find his way into the rotation.

- Ryne Smith was very active on the boards, grabbing 6 rebounds. This needs to be the attitude adopted by the entire team.

Unanswered Questions

- Will GDB lose the 'GD'? If tonight's game was any indication there will be no need for a title change. He had a couple of classic GDB moments to go along with his spectacular series. Par the course as usual...

- Will Purdue survive defensively without JJ and EM? This might be a factor of the constantly changing lineups, but Purdue's defense was pretty sloppy tonight. We were terrible in transition and didn't guard the post very well. We'll need to play much better as a team.

- WIll Purdue struggle to rebound this year? Okay, I can probably answer that: Yes. But how bad we get out-rebounded will largely determine our success this year. Regardless of position, everyone needs to have a rebound-centric mentality. This will likely be a hot topic this season.

- Will Terone Johnson regain his athleticism? Coming off-season surgery, Terone Johnson is still a step slower than he was last year. It's imperative that he's at his best before Big Ten season.

Other Tidbits

- Jacob Lawson will really benefit from a redshirt season. He looked extra eager to make his mark on the game, but he clearly needs to settle down and flow with the offense. There is no doubt that he's athletic but his game definitely needs some refining. It's not official, but the alternative is having him waste a year on the bench with little more than mop-up minutes.

- Not happy with BTN.com production value. I don't care if it's just a pre-season game - if we are pay for a service, we expect a certain level of quality. If it's going to be an amateur crew and a low quality stream, don't charge the consumers. (sorry, had to vent.)

Post-Game Press Conference Notes:

 

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