The national question is still out there: Will Caleb Swanigan stay or go? But for those that have paid attention to the Boilers over the last three years, knows that Vincent's decision to stay or go was just as important. The will be senior was testing the waters along with Caleb, but has decided to return to West Lafayette for his final season in Black and Gold. (AUHEGPOAIEHPOIEH HE'S COMING BACK!!! AOIEHGPOAIGHOEI) Vincent was part of the class that turned things around for Coach Painter and his program, and coming off a Sweet Sixteen appearance and B10 championship, makes the Boilers a team to look out for regardless of what their NPOTY candidate decides to do with his career.
So I asked the boys: What does Vincent's return do for Purdue's expectations regardless of Biggie's decision? And bonus question: What will Biggie decide?
Andrew Ledman (Jumboheroes): Since I always assumed Vincent was coming back this doesn't change my expectations at all. I still think that Purdue will contend for a conference title next year. If Biggie chooses not to return it will certainly hurt Purdue's chances but the team came together so well last year that I have to assume they will continue to improve and gel as a team. This will make them a formidable opponent regardless of who they play and what the matchups are. If Mathias and Cline continue to improve and Vincent has a great senior season it will make up a lot of the deficit that Biggie leaves behind. In addition to that, Carsen Edwards is a star in the making and his improvement next year will be dramatic. That boy is gonna be a star.
My guess on Biggie? He gone.
Juan Crespo: Assuming Biggie leaves for the draft, I think we should expect Purdue to finish in the Top 4 of the B1G. The conference is going to be tough with Michigan State returning a talented team, as well as a worrisome Michigan team that should still have the pieces to give the conference trouble. If Haas
can become (Editor's note: this implies he isn't already a bully, and I do not condone this kind of slander) a bully under the basket like we saw with AJ and Biggie, then I think Purdue has a chance to win its 24th Big Ten title.
If Biggie returns, then Purdue has a good chance of blocking the Michigan's from winning the conference and dominating the rest of the B1G.
Casey Bartley (cryan26): Michigan State will be very good next year. With Vincent's return, we'll be better. We have a huge recruiting class coming in and Vincent's returns makes all of their jobs easier. Wheeler and Ewing will be able to have their spots picked, allowing them to get acclimated before using their athleticism and all-around game to offer the thing most lacking from last year's team. Nojel will be allowed to play off the ball and ease into his role. Cline and Mathias will have more room than ever to shoot and attack. Carsen will have a big man versatile enough to keep traps and doubles off him. Haas will continue to be a monster down below. Everything about this team is perfectly designed as long as we have Vincent. We have Vincent. B10 champs. Top-10 team.
He's gone. :(
Kyle Holderfield (this is not an actual Kyle response, but one done by me, as his proxy, and formed in the style of a Holderfield email): HEY GUYS. HEY. GUYS. ITS ME. VINCENTS BACK AND THAT MAKES ME not allowed to post this description, IF YOU GET WHAT I’M SAYING. BUT I KNEW THIS FROM THE BEGINNING SO YOU KNOW, MY EXPECTATIONS ARE THE SAME TOO. WE’RE GONNA WIN THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP, MAYBE EVEN THE NBA CHAMPIONSHIP, WE’RE THAT GOOD. BUT I DON’T KNOW. THAT WARRIORS TEAM, THEY’RE PRETTY GOOD, RIGHT? LOVE THAT DURANT GUY, BUT, OH YES, VINCENT IS BACK LIKE CHILI’S BABY RIBS. LOVE THAT GUY. LOVE THAT TEAM. (I repeat this is only an approximation I expected to get from Kyle, not his actual reply.)
Travis Miller: 1. I have said all along that with four senior starters from the defending Big Ten champs Purdue should be a top 25 team. Even without Biggie, the returning talent has played together for a long time and has won a lot of games. It is probably not as individually talented as the Hummel-Moore-Johnson teams, but it is still pretty damn good. Being in the top 25 st the start of the year and at least challenging for the conference title are reasonable expectations. Michigan State is going to be really, really good though.
2. My heart and my head says Biggie is gone. I am not going to blame him one bit. I was ready for him to go this entire time, but now that there is at least a chance he is returning that is going to get my hopes up. I had a strange gut feeling he was coming back a few weeks ago. I tried to talk myself out of it, but it is still there. The fact that he is still open to returning speaks volumes to me. Maybe my gut feeling is right.