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Purdue Basketball Roundtable: Expectations for 2019-2020

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The Hammer and Rails Staff weighs in for the upcoming season.

Purdue v Kansas Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The season starts this Friday with a scrimmage against Southern Indiana.

Purdue is in another transition period - last year it was losing 4 senior starters. This year it is losing Carsen Edwards to the NBA, Grady Eifert to graduation (now GA) and Ryan Cline to graduation.

Vegas has put the line on Purdue wins at 20.

Hammer the over! (pun intended)

Coach Painter has turned Purdue into a machine. He adapts to his players, plays to their strengths and still has that old school gritty Purdue Mentality of post play and defense.

The staff weighs in on expectations for the upcoming season.

Travis, our fearless leader says:

It is strange. Last season we were pretty much free from expectations compared to the previous year and after the Notre Dame game it was one of the most fun seasons in Purdue history. Also, it was one of the most successful.

I used to say that, as a program, Purdue had risen to the level where the bare minimum expectation was an NCAA Tournament appearance. If you look at Painter’s tenure, he has done that. He has 11 NCAA appearances in 14 seasons and in nine of those years he won at least one game. In the other two, Purdue lost in overtime after the opponent tied it on the final possession of regulation. Painter has made it so that not only should Purdue make the tournament, but win a game or two once there.

We’re on the precipice of some unprecedented accomplishments for Purdue. Should Purdue reach the Sweet 16 it would be the first time ever it has reached the second weekend of the tournament in four straight years. Finishing in the top 2 of the conference standings for a fourth straight year since Gene Keady went 1-1-1-2 from 1994-97. Painter has had Purdue finish in the top 3 for five straight years now. We lost a lot with Carsen, Cline, and Eifert all leaving, but we also have a lot returning. If anything, this could be a down year before a huge 2020-21 season. If finishing in the top 3 of the conference again and reaching at least the Sweet 16 is a down year, I’ll take it.

Chris, our Texan says:

I tried to be Mr. Optimistic in the football preview, and that fell apart after one game, so I’m going to take a more middle-of-the-road approach with the basketball team. I’m in the minority of Purdue fans where I was actually happy with everything after the Elite 8 game. We played hard, lost on a freak play, and probably should’ve gone to the Final Four, but I guess it just never hit me while I was there in Louisville. The Virginia and Tennessee games were the two greatest college basketball games I have ever been to and it’s not even close. And we made an Elite 8! This wasn’t a buzzsaw sweet 16 game to a double digit underdog where we got pantsed. And so with that ghost shirked, I think this season could be that of some overperformance relative to talent. Losing Carsen and Cline hurts, and I think our team with Haarms will look a lot more like the Haas team. I think we get off to a quick start, 5-0, with our most impressive win being over Texas, and people start to think that maybe we are a Final Four capable team this year too.

Then we play VCU and struggle, potentially lose a revenge game against Tennessee (or Florida State beats us) and Virginia comes in, and maybe even a bit of hangover against Northwestern or a sneaky-good Nebraska team, at which point the fan base melts down and thinks that we’re destined for the NIT. As is our tradition Every. Damn. December. Ultimately I think we finish in the 3-5 spot within the conference, make it to Friday or maybe Saturday in the conference title, and go into the NCAA Tournament looking at a 5 or 6 seed. A win in the first round sets us up against an overrated mid major 3/4 seed who we put to bed, making the second weekend before losing in a S16 matchup to a good team where we are just outmatched. So to answer the question, I think my minimum expectation is an NCAA Tournament appearance, my middle-of-the-road expectation is a 2nd weekend, and the absolute top would be another E8 (or even a stretch F4) appearance.

Jumbo, our Lawyer says:

I’m up in the air on this. I know in the group chat we have everyone is very bullish on next year’s team, but I don’t think I’m as optimistic as they are. Losing Carsen Edwards, and Grady Eifert to a lesser extent, is huge. Edwards could be hot or cold sure but he was hot more often than he was cold and he single handedly won Purdue games last year but then I don’t need to tell any of you that. This team will have to rely on the center spot with Haarms and Williams to carry a large scoring load and maybe even sharing the floor more than last year. I’m most looking forward to see Aaron Wheeler emerge as I think he could be the most dominant player on the team if he grows into the player I think he can be. The newcomers will likely have to make an impact right away but there’s no one that is going to be leaned on to carry the team which is obviously good news. That’s a long winded way of saying I’m not sure what my exact expectations are but here’s where I’ll land, I expect a top 4 B1G finish and an NCAA appearance in the second weekend. Other than that I can’t really be more specific at this time. I’m just looking forward to see this team on the floor once again.

Holmes(?), our mascot says:

When it comes to the regular season, I fully expect Matt Painter to pull off a Bo Ryan and keep Purdue in the top four of the Big Ten with a solid tournament seed. There are some questions offensively, but I expect us to adapt and rely on the size mismatches that guys like Nojel and Haarms create. When it comes to the tournament, which I maintain is more random than actually predictable, a Sweet Sixteen seems doable if things break the right way.

Casey, our newly branded South Carolinian Says,

NOTHING. CASEY SENT ME NOTHING!

Juan, our newly engaged Doctor, says:

HE IS ENGAGED NOW. WE GET IT. CONGRATULATIONS, JUAN!

Kyle, our model/millionaire, says:

Coach Painter has built a machine. Last year, we struggled early, but the players bought in. They believed in Coach Painter and having Carsen Edwards obviously helped. We were a Ryan Cline Free Throw away from a final 4 appearance that we all deserve.

How do we replace Carsen? We do not have a go to guy like that this year. But, what we do have is a team that will hang their hat on gritty defensive play and a solid post presence by 4 players. Tre, Haarms, Dow and Boudreux.

We also have depth on the wings and at guard. We are insanely athletic and long. The rumor from the not so secret scrimmage is, with Nojel out, we still played hard defensively and tried to grind it out.

Expect a lot of that this year. Not so many games in the 80s or 90s but a bunch in the 70s. We will have one of the best defenses in the country and the coaching staff got better. Bringing Coach Micah Shrewsberry back from the NBA. Like I stated at the beginning, hammer the over on Vegas’ line of 20 wins.

Boiler Up!