To sort of set the record straight and put things into perspective, I've compiled the season/tourney histories of not only our program, but those of four of our peers for the last thirty years.
Now, I'm not a statistician, and I'm sure my fellow alums will be able to run circles around my analysis, poke holes in my methodology and find errors. I get it, this is overly simplistic and suffers from all manner of mistakes. To those more accomplished: have at it - I'd love to see more in-depth analysis. Having said that, I feel that these numbers, nonetheless, very nicely illustrate my points [below].
Note: The methodology:
I assigned a simple point scale for tourney and season accomplishments (-1 for losing season, 0 for missing tourney, 1 for 1st round...6 points for winning national title). I counted only the last level of success, not the last game played in. For example: if you lose the national title game, that counts only as a trip to the final four. Once I compiled this data, I then calculated the overall mean and standard deviation. For those mathematically challenged, the mean will show the general success of the program, i.e. the higher the mean, the better the program. The standard deviation, for this purpose, demonstrates the consistency of a program. The lower the standard deviation, the more consistent the program has been over the years (and thus more predictable) - all else being the same.
I won't write too much on the results: it's pretty self-explanatory, but I will provide a quick summary. Of the five teams listed, we're the worst. Now, we're not the worst by much...for all intents and purposes all of the B1G teams in this study are nearly equal. We are also the most consistent. During the last three decades we have been either made the 2nd round or the Sweet 16 half of the time. Now, I know we all want more, but that's not too shabby, all things considered. Now that we know where our center line should be, our expectations should follow. It's fine to have high standards, but taken out of the appropriate milieu, those unrealistic dreams die hard. I'm not suggesting we lower the bar, I'm just wanting the standards viewed through clean lenses.
UK is the only team that is head and shoulders above the rest; clearly elite. But, even at elite status, they still only average a ‘Sweet Sixteen' rating. Sure, their titles make up for it, but it's not like they've dominated over the last three decades (even though it seems like it).
The bottom line: there's no historical precedent for the negativity directed toward the basketball team this year. This is a team of underclassmen, and Purdue's program over the last 30 years has not demonstrated a success rate that would be on par with the elite programs of the world (UK, KU, UNC). There's simply no basis for egregious amounts of negativity. If you don't like Painter - then that's your prerogative; however, he is a proven winner and it's not like he ruined a National Championship dynasty. He's been consistent within the results of this study, and with well above average recruiting classes (even with the last second defectors) could be in store for a very successful run over the next 4-7 years.
The takeaway: ALL programs have their ups and downs. Like everything else, it takes hard work...and luck. It's foolish to demand perfection every single year. Every program in this quick study had at least two losing seasons, and if I had started the study one year earlier, all programs would have had at least one final Four appearance. Perception has reared its ugly head again; the elite programs seem more elite than they really are, the up and coming aren't as far away as they seem. Sure we're jealous and frustrated - but they've had their troubles too.
So, let's keep in mind the historical context of our program (and the others too!), keep the negativity at bay and get to supporting our guys as they learn, grow and develop.