We're back for day #2 of predictions. We've got ten more for you, and same as yesterday, these won't all happen, but think of these predictions as possible trends for the Purdue season.
In case you missed it, here's our #1-10 predictions.
11. Vince Edwards will lead the B10 in offensive rating.
Purdue has had a lot of offensive rating darlings. Hummel , for instance, was 14th in the nation in offensive rating his true freshman year. Offensive rating values efficiency, particularly players who can shoot and don't turn the ball over. Vince was our best shooter inside the three point arc last year, which is insane considering we had Haas and Hammons on our team. His shooting stroke looks improved, he looks faster which should mean even more easy looks, and he's been a beast in transition. He had the 15th best assist rate in conference games in the B10 as a true freshman and will have more weapons around him this year. He'll be the third or fourth option offensively for most games, and he just doesn't take bad shots. He's a mismatch at the 3 and 4, and he won't have to carry as much of an offensive burden as most of the elite talent in the conference. What's not to like?
12. Ryan Cline will make more 3's than Dakota Mathias this season.
Dakota struggled with his shot last year. He went 38 for 118 from deep, but was battling nagging injuries all year. I'm hesitant to file Cline as a gunner. He missed all six of his 3's in the exhibition, but the first four were all solid, open looks that all shooters should look to take. They'll start to fall. While Mathias's shot is smooth and looks good, he's the opposite end of a gunner. He's a passive offensive player looking to set up his teammates. With Stephens and Cline on the team, it's probably a good thing to have such a willing facilitator. Even with Mathias likely to improve his 3 pt%, Cline is not going to be timid shooting the looks that are there, and there will be a lot.
13. Caleb Swanigan will shoot 15 free throws in a game.
Biggie is a very unusual player. He's too wide to be that quick, he's too sturdy to have that kind of touch, and he's too big to have that kind of motor. He's going to get in a rhythm, against a mismatched opponent, and he's going to cause complete havoc and they're going to have no alternative than to foul him, a lot.
14. A. J. Hammons will be the only big man to fail to shoot 70% from the free throw line.
Swanigan has a nice touch, and, secretly, so does Haas. Haas shot 55% from the free throw line, but he looked confident in the exhibition. I expect him to improve after his freshman year with more time to focus on shot mechanics instead of simply learning how to play college basketball. Hammons has hovered around the 70% his whole career, crossing over it just once in his sophomore year. Frankly, I don't trust he put in the extra work in to improve it for his senior skill. Bummer.
15. Purdue will block more than 8 shots a game.
We're huge, have you heard? We blocked 5 a game last year, and Hammons has the chance to get into some historic blocking territory this season. He's been the best shot blocker in the B10 since he put on the uniform. Haas looked improved on defense, Swanigan is quick and really long, but it's our length with Edwards, Davis, and Stephens that should add for some extra blocks against smaller wings and guards. Also, all these counting stats will go up organically just by having the shot clock reduced, but I expect even our block percentage rate to go up.
16. Dakota Mathias will average over 5 assists per game and less than 1.2 turnovers per game.
Last year, Mathias averaged 1.4 assists per game, and Edwards lead the team with 2.7 assists per game. With more shooters, more big men, and a healthier body, Mathias should be able to leverage that into tripling his assists from last year. He's been leading us in assists in scrimmage while increasing his ball handling duty. He doesn't try to do too much which keeps his turnovers low.
17. Purdue will lose 3 of 4 at some point this season.
There's two stretches of our schedule that are just brutal. We end this calendar year and start the next one with games against Butler(Neutral), Vanderbilt, Iowa, Michigan(all at home), and Wisconsin on the road. Then, with conference play winding down, we alternate away and home against Maryland, Michigan St., Michigan, Northwestern, Indiana, and Maryland one more time. The B10 is just brutal. There's no way any team gets through the conference without some major wounds. If we don't lose 3 of 4 at some point? Then this will be a very special season.
18. P. J. Thompson will be the only Boiler with 30+ 3 pt. attempts to shoot under 30%
I just don't trust his shot. As much as Stephens frustrates fans, there's at least a predictability to when he shoots. That tells me he is always engaged with the shot, and that he's looking to shoot. Confidence is huge for shooters, and I just don't see it with P. J.. He'll pass an open look to take that same exact shot later. I don't love his stroke, and at his size, he's never as open as he looks. I'm not sure he'll have a play ran for him all year to get an open 3 - mitigated by the cyclical nature of the motion offense but still - and someone is going to have to not improve his shooting, and I think it's him.
19. Caleb Swanigan will lead the team in rebounding.
It's amazing to watch him on defense and see a kid who is thinking a little too much and trying to calculate everything out in real time, to have that same player switch into the most natural, aggressive beast on the planet as soon as the ball goes up. He's a rebounding monster. He's got long arms to go up and get the ball, and a wide, wide base that won't allow him to be pushed around. He's not going to get outworked on the glass, and he's going to end a lot of possessions for other teams while giving us even more on the offensive end. It's not fair that he gets to go up against the second biggest bodies against most teams.
20. Kendall Stephens will hit 9 3-points in one game.
A little out there, especially after missing so many 3's in the preseason, but man, he's been open a lot. It's his third year, and you can see he knows how and when to get open. He's too good of a shooter to miss that many wide open 3's. He's going to catch fire one of these games - remember, teams are going to try and zone the hell out of us - and he's going to go Hummel on someone.
(This has been my hardest prediction to make. I initially had it at 10, and then thought about dropping it to eight before settling at 9. I just think he's due.)
Check back tomorrow, we'll have our last 10 predictions for the season.