I feel like all of Purdue basketball fandom has been sitting around and stewing for the last five days since the two losses in new Yrok. There has been sniping in the comments, calls for Painter being a terrible recruiting, and belief that after four games the 2012-13 season is over. As I stated on Friday, patience is desperately needed here. It is going to take some time for things together. This team is going to have to learn how to win at this level.
Fortunately, tonight is just what the doctor ordered. We get a UNC-Wilmington team that should be an easy victory on the eve of Thanksgiving.
Location: Wilmington, NC
2011-12 record: 10-21, 5-13 CAA
2012-13 Record: 1-2
2012 Postseason: None
Blog Representation: None
Series With Purdue: First Meeting
TV: Big Ten Network
Tickets: Print mine at home right here.
Odds: Purdue by 20.5
So far the Seahawks haven't done a whole lot. They opened the season with a 67-59 win at home against UNC-Asheville, but lost 101-58 at Richmond and 85-47 at Ohio. That has them a lowly 323rd nationally in scoring at a paltry 57.3 points per game and they are 309th in field goal shooting at 37.% per game. That means we're facing the rare team that is shooting worse from the field than we are.
As expected with a team where scoring is a struggle, only one player is averaging in double figures. 6'8" senior forward Keith Rendleman is by far their top scorer and rebounder at 15 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. Fellow forward Cedrick Williams is only a sophomore, but is a solid 6'9" rebounder averaging seven points and 7.3 rebounds per game.
Statistically those two players do the vast majority of everything UNC-Wilmington needs done. Senior guard Tyree Graham averages 3.3 assists per game but only scores 5.7 points and has two rebounds total on the season. Graham is one of only three seniors on the roster with Rendleman and Matt Wilson, a 7' center that plays less than three minutes per game.
We should not expect much of a perimeter game tonight from either team. Wilmington is 11 of 42 from long range this season (Purdue is 19 of 76). Theya re a good free throw shooting team, however at 77.6%.
There really isn't a lot here outside of Rendleman. He's an excellent player in his own right and shoots nearly 60% from the field, but he can only do so much. Williams was good in the opener with 15 points but hasn't done much since. In fact, outside of that game and 12 points from Graham against Asheville, Rendleman is the only player that has scored in double figures period.
This is the type of game that if Purdue struggles at all we should be extremely concerned. Stephen Toyra and Neal Beshears should be able to play extended minutes at the end because we have a big lead much like against Hofstra. This is a game where we need to work on the little things like three-point shooting and free throw shooting. The freshmen have a chance here to grow and learn in a low pressure environment, unlike three of the first four games which were pressure cookers. Purdue 85, UNC-Wilmington 55