Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Purdue falls flat yet again.
I saw this in the comments near the end today:
"if you want to give up hope on this team, then do it, and don't come back" piece of literary brilliance.
Yes, that was true earlier this season, but no longer. The time to consider quitting on the 2012-13 Basketball season is now because it is clear the players have. Until they decide to play with some actually heart and hustle, the staples of Purdue basketball, there is little point in wasting our time as fans watching them.
Purdue was beaten today once it fell behind 12-0 before the first media timeout. There was no intensity from them at all. Defensively they were somehow worse than against Indiana. At least the Hoosiers are the best offensive team in the country. Northwestern is closer to 300th. Purdue rarely gets a hand in a shooter's face, has no idea how to come off of a screen, and loses people on back cuts all the time.
Once again, this is everyone's fault. Painter is at fault for not finding whatever needs to be found to motivate this team. I still trust him and think he is a good coach, but the methods that have worked in the first eight years of his career are not working with this group for whatever reason.
It is the players' fault because there was never a sense of urgency today. Even A.J. Hammons was beyond lazy defensively. Ronnie Johnson was terrible at both ends. Terone Johnson, who should be leading this team, was a complete and utter no show. Dru Anthrop was the one player that played with heart, and he injured his wrist.
It's easy for a team like Northwestern to shoot over 60% for most of the game when they are getting wide open looks because no one has a hand in a shooter's face or can get off of a screen. I know getting off of screens can be done because defenders against Purdue do it all the time.
Another thing where Painter failed today was his inability to get away from RJ and TJ when they combined to be less than useless. They were 5 of 22 from the floor. Most of the time they weren't even looking to pass when players were streaking off of cuts. If Carroll or Marcius were in, they were terrified to pass to them even when they had position.
Given the effort today and from the Indiana game, it is clear there needs to be drastic lineup changes. Personally, I would go with Hammons in the middle, Travis Carroll at the four with a license to shoot because he has shown that his midrange jumper is at least serviceable. It will be given to him, too.
I'd go with Rapheal Davis at the three because he works well with Hammons and has shown he can score. I'd stick Byrd at the two because he is still Purdue's only three-point threat. If Anthrop is healthy I'd start him at the point. If not, I'd go with Anthony Johnson because he was the best of the three Johnsons and we have no other options, really.
As far as the bench goes, Marcius subs for Hammons, Lawson for Carroll, and Donnie Hale for Davis. If the Johnson brothers want to actually play with some heart and look for team-oriented basketball they'll have to show it.
A lot of people are questioning why Painter isn't showing more anger. I think he might be beyond the point of anger. He's probably like many of us, just throwing his hands up in confusion. Yes, he needs to try something different, but if nothing works, what can you do?
Purdue has another chance on Tuesday against winless Penn State, but things are beyond the point of embarrassment now. Even Painter's first team that went 9-19 played with more heart and actually improved as the season went on. Right now this is a young, leaderless team that cannot shoot and plays like a bunch of individuals. We have seen that the talent is there from Hammons, Davis, even RJ, but it not meshing at all right now. They're callow. Someone needs to step forward and have the gumption to become a leader on the floor, but too many players have backed away from it.
That's really what this teams lacks. If you think about it, Purdue has had a leader on the floor form Kramer to Hummel since Painter's second year, but that type of leader is gone, and I don't know who it could be short of Bryson Scott, who is currently playing in high school.
Coach Painter has his work cut out for him, and if he has lost the team there may not be much he can do. It is the toughest challenge he has faced yet as a coach and that means it is time for him to earn his larger salary.