Our Boilers have went above everyone’s expectations this summer, well, besides Casey’s apparently.
So, with Purdue basically being a lock for March now. What are the expectations of this young Purdue team during March Madness? What would be considered a disappointment?
Let’s get the disappointment out of the way first - a first round exit. This team is too good to lose to anyone in round 1. Period.
My expectation is sweet sixteen with a ceiling of elite eight and floor of round 32. Ivey has come into his own - now flashing on both sides of the ball. Hunter has as much experience as anyone in tournament play. Sasha is coming around. Newman can carry minutes at a time. Wheeler is playing well. Edey is a problem. Gillis is the ultimate steady.
But mostly, in Trevion Williams and Jaden Ivey, Purdue has two players capable of winning a game all on their own. One in the post and one on the perimeter. That kind of balance with two guys who both see the court well and make mismatches is the exact blueprint to March success. Honestly, anything less than the Sweet 16 would be disappointing.
At this point my hope is that the team gets to the Sweet 16. With the way they’ve been playing, specifically the continued emergence of Jaden Ivey, they should get a favorable draw. The emergence of Ivey has coincided with the return of Sasha Stefanovic from his bought with Coivd. With those two working from the outside and as a slasher respectively it allows Purdue’s main threat Trevion Williams to continue to eat down low.
I’ll give credit where it’s due Casey has been saying we’d get to the Sweet 16 for weeks and I think I’m finally on board. With a team this young hiccups are bound to happen and should they flame out in March I’ll of course be disappointed but I’ll be more hopeful than anything because the future is so bright for this team.
I think Purdue will be a team that is slept on and will surprise a lot of people this March. I think this team can easily make a Sweet 16 appearance but could get outmatched by the 1 or 2 seed in their part of the bracket, given how experienced some of those teams are. Only let down would be to get bounced in their first game. It’s hard to do at this point without seeing the matchups Purdue could have, but don’t sleep on the Boilers when you are making your bracket.
This take never lands, but the NCAA Tournament is the absolute worst way to pick a Champion, but the most fun by far. It’s a roll of the dice, and Purdue has come up with snake eyes on more than 1 occasion. Winning in March is all about who you play, and how they play on any given night. I think Sweet 16 is probably the ceiling, but who knows. My guess is that in either the actual 2nd round or the Sweet 16 Tre gets in foul trouble and Purdue’s young guys can’t carry the scoring load. This team has already surpassed my expectations, and barring a shocking upset, it’s all gravy.
My expectations? Well, since I am likely not getting the vaccine by then and don’t want to put my family at risk, I will probably be watching from home less than 5 miles from Lucas Oil Stadium, so I will be tortured with a run to win the whole thing. It would only be poetic justice that this entire happening so close without me in attendance would turn out this way.
Seriously though, it all depends on if Purdue can get some threes to fall. It has won a couple of games ugly like at Michigan State when the threes weren’t there, but we have seen that Purdue needs to consistently have 7-9 made threes per game to beat good teams. If that happens I think Purdue can make hte Sweet 16, where pretty much anything can happen due to upsets or matchups.
As far as what would be a letdown, Purdue needs to win its opening game. It is going to be a higher seed than its opponent and playing a virtual home game where the small crowd could be quite partisan as we’re the only team from Indiana making it right now. If we lose that first game it feels like a small step back.
Well, I will say this group has far exceeded my expectations, pre-season I did have us making the tournament. But, the more I watch this team, the more I think there is a chance we make a run.
We have a guy that can get us a bucket by posting up at anytime against any player. We have a guard that can get his own shot at any given moment. I think if we make a run, it will come down to the shooting of Sasha Stefanovic and Brandon Newman on the wings. If we can shoot the 3 ball well, I can see us making a spurt to the Sweet 16 with this young team.
If we lose in round 1, I see it as underachieving though. This team has too much talent to not be one of the remaining 32 teams, at minimum.