Here are a few unsolicited observations from Sunday night's opening win against the Howard Bison:
- The Byrdman impresses - DJ Byrd's impressive stat line (12 points, 3 assists, 4 rebounds, and zero turnovers) doesn't even accurately portray his true value. Like Kramer before him, he brings energy and sacrifice that doesn't show up on the stat-line. If he continues shooting like he did Sunday, he may find himself in the starting lineup.
- Mackey Arena 3-point field goal record - Purdue was a single three-point shot short of a Mackey all-time record of 14. ( Established vs. San Diego on12/7/02). Not bad for an opening game...
- Frosh frontcourt - Painter has quite an impressive frontcourt arsenal to work with this season. Travis Carroll and Sandi Marcius will obviously have some growing pains along the way, but they both proved that they're fairly coordinated and run the floor (unexpectedly) well. This picture does a great job of capturing exactly what I'm excited for. I'm not going to lie, I had very low expectations for the two. My initial hope was that they could merely take up space in the lane and grab a few rebounds. But it seems there's a good chance they'll bring much more to the table.
- Patrick Bade on 'D - Patrick Bade's performance wasn't spectacular, but his new found mobility was very evident. I was most impressed by his defense when he was lured out beyond the three-point line. He had no trouble at all guarding his man on the perimeter. In fact, He nearly stole the ball off the dribble on one occasion, but couldn't secure it. If only he could work on his hands.
- Tale of two halves - This is obviously a shallow observation, but the Mackey Arena crowd didn't really wake up until E'Twaun Moore's three to end the half. The first 19:59 minutes were a bit of a snooze-fest as far as the crowd is concerned. We were never able to maintain any momentum and there seemed to be an extraordinary amount of breaks in the action. The second half was obviously a different story. About as loud as you can get in a season opener. Hopefully none of the visiting recruits left at halftime.
- Zone-busting - If we continue to shoot the way we did Sunday (or even close to it) we'll be a difficult team to play zone against. We have 5 players in the rotation capable of punishing zone defenses.
- Paint Crew in full force - I got to the game about 50 minutes before tip-off and expected Mackey arena to be sparsely populated. To my surprise, the Paint Crew was already in full force and jammed into their section like sardines. The entire bottom half of the PC was already filled and students were starting to populate the upper half. That was pretty damn impressive against an MEAC opponent. Well done, Paint Crew. It's nice to have loyal support, unlike some other schools. (Sorry, I couldn't help myself.)
- Accumulative production by class - This probably doesn't have as much relevance early on, but it should be mildly interesting as the season progresses. I'll conclude each UI with the accumulated total production distribution by class. I'll include the accumulative assists, steals, blocks and TO's when we get a few more games under our belts.
Points: 18 (23.7%)
Rebounds: 7 (14.3%)
Points: 29 (38.2%)
Rebounds: 12 (24.5%)
Points: 6 (7.6%)
Rebounds: 5 (10.2%)
Points: 26 (34.2%)
Rebounds: 18 (36.7%)