It is a big night for Purdue basketball. We have the first of two exhibition games as the Boilers host the University of Indianapolis at Mackey Arena. Quite a bit further up the road, in Minneapolis, The Orlando Magic take on the Minnesota Timberwolves, allowing for the first ever professional meeting between E`Twaun Moore and Robbie Hummel.
I don't normally pay too much attention to the exhibition games, mostly because there is no excuse for a team like Purdue to ever lose to a Division II school even though the University of Indianapolis has some solid players. There are too many advantages that a Big Ten school like Purdue has in terms of recruiting, coaching, conditioning, and training.
UIndy has already played one exhibition game this season, a 95-69 loss at Notre Dame Monday night. They were led by 14 points from Reece Cheatham, a graduate of Pike high school here in Indianapolis. He is a different type of player because he was a 2006 graduate of Pike and an AAU teammate of Eric Gordon, Greg Oden, Mike Conley, Dawquan Cook, and Josh McRoberts. After playing a year of baseball and basketball at Wabash Valley College he took off four years to play baseball in the White Sox organization.
He made it as high as Class A Advanced with 310 career minor league games before he returned to give basketball a shot. He has averaged over 14 points per game as the Greyhounds have reached the Division II NCAA Tournament in each of the last three seasons. This is his third season with UIndy, and he was team MVP last year.
Quinten Hunter had 11 points for the greyhounds against the Fighting Irish. He is a 6'3" sophomore that played for a very good Richmond team that went 21-4 two years ago and beat my Kats in overtime before losing their sectional. Leland Brown, another decent player I saw a few times at Noblesville, also had 10 points for UIndy.
This is a decent Division II team. They were 20-9 last year and lost in the first round of the Division II tournament to Bellarmine, the new home of Donnie Hale. In 2011-12 they won a game in the D-II tournament before losing to Kentucky Wesleyan.
Despite their recent success they are not currently in the Division II rankings. They play in one of the tougher D-II conferences in the country with Bellarmine, Southern Indiana, and Wisconsin-Parkside. That is still a far cry from the Big Ten.
This is a team without a lot of size, which is good since Purdue is without A.J. Hammons tonight. They have Manny Ochenje, a transfer from Pepperdine and Joe Daniels, a former HS teammate of Jay Simpson at 6'9", but that is it. This game will likely be dominated by guard play, which is good. We want to see how the influx of new guards will mesh with Terone Johnson and Ronnie Johnson.
Things to look for:
- How do new graduate transfers Sterling Carter and Errick Peck look?
- What about freshmen Bryson Scott, Basil Smotherman, and Kendall Stephens?
- Can Simpson step up in the absence of Hammons?
- Can Purdue shoot the ball better?
Prediction: Purdue 85, Indianapolis 65