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Bellarmine at #7 Purdue: Preview, Odds, & How to Watch

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Now, shall we begin.

Syndication: The Courier-Journal Alton Strupp/Courier Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Basketball is back!

I think it is safe to say that this is the most anticipated Purdue basketball season since at least 2009-10. Expectations are sky high. Personally, Anything less than a 25th Big Ten championship and finally reaching the Promised Land of a Final Four will feel like a disappointment. We’ve done everything under Matt Painter except make a Final Four, and I feel like Captain Ahab with my Moby Dick being a game in April in a large football stadium. This almost makes it tough to enjoy because in my brain Only March Matters and what happens there.

Fortunately, I am not on the team with that attitude. What we have before us is a deep, talented, and experienced roster that seemingly has all the pieces. If just a few things improve from last year (i.e., consistent three-point shooting and better defense) Purdue is going to do a lot of damage.

It begins vs. Bellarmine.

Basketball GameDay Vitals

Iowa Hawkeyes Record: 7-0
Iowa Hawkeyes Record: 7-0
From: Iowa City, IA
Game Location: West Lafayette, Indiana
Venue: Mackey Arena (14,240)
Odds: Purdue by 11.5
Date & Time: Friday, December 3, 2021 9pm ET
Streaming Radio TuneIn
Live Stats: Purdue Sports
KenPom 20
Blog Representation: Black Heart Gold Pants
2020-21 Record 22-9, 14-6 Big Ten
2021-22 Record: 7-0, 0-0 Big Ten
Postseason Result: Lost to Oregon 95-80 in NCAA Tournament Second Round
NCAA Tournament History: 27 appearances, last in 2021. 1956 NCAA Runner-up
Series With Purdue: Purdue leads 92-77
Last Purdue win: 77-68 at Iowa non 3/3/2020
Last Iowa win: 70-55 at Iowa on 12/22/2020
Coach: Fran McCaffery (223-152 in 12th year at Iowa, 473-329 overall)

The Knights are a newcomer to Division I, as they are in their second season of the four year transition. They were, however, a Division II power that won a national title in 2011 and have appeared in multiple Final Fours there. Their initial foray into DI was a success, as they had a winning record and finished second in their conference behind Liberty. They did receive an invite to the CBI and even won a game 77-67 over Army before losing to Pepperdine. Considering all the challenge they faced, it was a huge success.

Their exhibition last week was a tough 90-87 win over Division II Tiffin. Ethan Claycomb and Dylan Penn each had 19 points and C.J. Fleming added 12. Juston Betz had 10 off the bench. They have a roster with 8 players from Indiana, mostly southern Indiana kids looking for a Division I shot. The four players mentioned above are all seniors leading the program’s way into DI.

They are going to have a massive problem defending the interior against Trevion Williams and Zach Edey. Holcomb is their tallest regular at 6’7”, and 6’10” Sam DeVault only played 6 minutes in the exhibition. They were also only 6 of 15 from three against Tiffin, so asking them to shoot over us is a tall order. Penn averaged 12.9 points per game last year and Fleming was at 12.2. Fleming was a 44% shooter from three.

Let’s be honest here: this is a tune-up game for Purdue. We should not be seriously challenged unless it is a game like Valparaiso last year. If this is a close late there are going to be dozens of alarms blaring. Bellarmine is a decent low major program that is building something for the future. They are in a spot to get some really good talent. A win over a top 10 team on the road would still be a monumental upset for such a new program to Division I.