I am not sure what to think, to be honest.
The last two seasons of Purdue basketball have been excellent with 57 wins, 2 Sweet 16s, a Big Ten championship, a near second one that was ruined by a Wisconsin no show, a Northwestern collapse, and two last second Purdue losses, and a bunch of other highlights. Purdue went 57-15 these last two years and had a ridiculously talented team, yet it still feels like something was left on the table.
Today we take the first step toward the future. Gone are four seniors in Vince Edwards, Dakota Mathias, P.J. Thompson, and Isaac Haas. They will not be easily replaced. There is still a lot of talent on the team, however. Carsen Edwards (assuming he returns) will be in the running for National Player of the Year. Matt Haarms is a budding star at center. Nojel Eastern, Ryan Cline, and Grady Eifert give Purdue returning experience. Aaron Wheeler and Sasha Stefanovic hopefully had a valuable redshirt year and can ease the loss of Mathias and Edwards, respectively. Then incoming freshmen in Trevion Williams, Emmanuel Dowuona, and Eric Hunter will be called on to fill big roles. There is also the addition of Evan Boudreaux, a grad transfer starter with two years of eligibility who pretty much stepped out of a Brian Cardinal cloning vat, receding hairline and all.
So I am not sure what to think. What are the expectations? Last year at this time we knew what to expect because we had seen that group play together forever. We lost Caleb Swanigan, but the same core was there and it was really good.
The 2018-19 team certainly has talent. I don’t think we’ll have the drop off like we did in 2012-13, but how will they fit together? How much did chemistry and familiarity play in last year’s success? Because of the athleticism of Carsen, Eastern, Wheeler, Hunter, and Haarms we offer be a different look, too. Because of that uncertainty we can’t expect a repeat of last season’s heights, but we can still have a really good year. It just depends on what questions are answered and how this group fits together.
The aforementioned first step is the schedule. It is being released this morning via Twitter.
Starting at 9 AM ET, we will release our non-conference schedule in 15-minute intervals.— Purdue Men’s Basketball (@BoilerBall) May 17, 2018
So, stay tuned this morning. #BoilerUp
Remember: This year we have just 11 non-conference games because it is the first year of the 20 game Big Ten schedule. Here are our Big Ten opponents:
Purdue’s seven home-and-away series will be with Indiana, Maryland, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio State and Penn State.
Purdue will host single-play home games against Illinois, Iowa and Rutgers and the Boilermakers will travel to Michigan, Northwestern and Wisconsin for their three single-play road games.
I’ll update the post as it comes out, so here is the schedule as follows:
11/6/2018 vs. Fairfield
11/10/2018 vs. Ball State
11/15-18/2018 Gildan Charleston Classic (Alabama, Wichita State, Northeastern, Ball State, Virginia Tech, Davidson, Appalachian State, Purdue)
11/23/2018 vs. Robert Morris
12/9/2018 at Texas
12/15/2018 vs. Notre Dame (Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse)
12/20/2018 vs. Ohio
12/29/2018 vs. Belmont
The ACC/Big Ten Challenge (Likely a road game) will be announced later as the 11th and final non-conference game.