After a pair of blowouts where Purdue looks completely different from last year, allow me to express my feelings toward the 2014-15 Purdue Basketball season that is now only a week away:
I am more than aware that we played two very overmatched teams, but in terms of the eye test, Purdue looks infinitely better than it did at any time last year. You could say that about the last two years. The Boilers have not looked like a Purdue team. The typical hustle and defensive intensity has not been there. The Boilers have not been a fun team to watch and the players that returned never looked like they were having fun the last two years.
Tonight, Purdue was having fun. They had 20 assists on 32 made field goals. Everyone was getting involved that played. They shot 53%(!) from the field. They were 81%(!!) from the line. The post players had 7 blocks and 39 rebounds against only 32 rebounds given up. Four players reached double figures with A.J. Hammons and Kendall Stephens, two of Purdue's projected top scorers, not among them. A pair of freshmen in P.J. Thompson and Dakota Mathias were the Boilers' leading scorers.
There is a lot to like about this team. It is unselfish. It is playing together. It has everyone dialed in and it looks like everyone actually likes each other. You could not say that about Purdue at any point during the last two years. Even Jon Octeus, a last minute addition to the squad, is playing like he has been with everyone for years. When guys like Thompson are hitting four threes and dropping 16 you know you have a good night.
Yes, it came at the expense of Carson Cunningham's team. But this Purdue squad couldn't beat anyone by 41 last year. I will most certainly take it.
The games start counting in 7 days.