Purdue (0-0) vs Milwaukee - Wisconsin (0-0)
Tuesday, November 8th - 6:30 EST
Mackey Arena - West Lafayette, Indiana (the loudest venue in America)
Purdue Starting Line-Up
Now Starting For Your Purdue Boilermakers
|Center||15||Zach Edey||Jr||7'4"||295||Toronto, Canada|
|Forward||0||Mason Gillis||Jr||6'6"||230||New Castle, IN|
|Wing||25||Ethan Morton||Jr||6'7"||215||Butler, PA|
|Wing||2||Fletcher Loyer||Fr||6'4"||185||Fort Wayne, IN|
|Point Guard||3||Braden Smith||Fr||6'0"||180||Westfield, IN|
Purdue sticks with their exhibition line-up to start the season. Coach Painter evenly distributed minutes, with 11 players hitting double digit minutes, in their 102 -57 exhibition win over Truman State.
Zach Edey led the starters with 23 points in 16 minutes of action, and that game plan won’t change Tuesday night. I said this in the exhibition preview, but in terms of pure basketball skills, I don’t think this is Purdue’s best line-up. I do think this is Purdue’s best 5 with Edey in the post. There isn’t much outside of Zach, in terms of scoring and shot making, on the floor to start the game, but who cares, give it to Edey and let him eat early.
Freshman guards Braden Smith and Fletcher Loyer only managed a combined 3 points in the exhibition, and that needs to improve. I like the idea of playing the young back court with the experienced front court, but the young guys have to put the ball in the bucket, because they’re going to be left wide open and challenged to score once teams start scouting the Boilermakers.
Ethan Morton is the “glue guy”, and he’s another player Purdue needs to see step it up on offense. He does a little of everything, but he needs to do a little more scoring unless defense resides in West Lafayette once again. My concern with this starting lineup is point production, and Morton, in theory (not in practice thus far) could provide a steady source of points.
Finally, Gillis does what he does. He’s a 3 and D, undersized (in terms of height) stretch 4 that hoovers up loose ball rebounds. Last season he also hoovered up fouls in several games. I like the hustle, but he’s reckless when he doesn’t need to be reckless. Purdue needs his shooting with this lineup.
Help Off The Bench
|Center/Forward||1||Caleb Furst||So||6'10"||230||Ft. Wayne, IN|
|Forward||4||Trey Kaufman-Renn||Fr||6'9"||225||Sellersburg, IN|
|Wing/Forward||11||Brian Waddell||Fr||6'8"||195||Carmel, IN|
|Wing||5||Brandon Newman||Jr||6'5"||200||Valparaiso, IN|
|Wing/Point Guard||14||David Jenkins||Sr||6'1"||200||Tacoma, WA|
This is a weird team. Four of Purdue’s top five scorers (in my humble opinion) start the game wearing a warm-up top. The bench significantly outscored the starters in the exhibition game, and it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s the case all season (as long as the line-ups don’t change).
Furst and Kaufman-Renn are the headliners in the front court. Both are big, athletic, dudes who can score in a variety of ways. Furst is more of a bruiser who can step out, and Kaufmann-Renn is more of a finesse player who can step in, which makes for a nice compliment. I like these guys off the bench together as a tandem. They compliment each other well and give Purdue the opportunity to play up-tempo and give the opponents something totally different after Zach checks out of the game.
Brandon Newman and David Jenkins provide support in the back court. We all know Brandon’s story, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he eventually cracks the starting lineup. He may have the most diverse game of all the Boilermaker guards. He’s capable of hitting from deep, from mid-range (which is still legal in basketball) and finishing at the rim. The problem with Brandon has never been the ability, but his confidence. I don’t care if he comes off the bench or starts, as long as he’s comfortable in his role, good things will happen.
Finally, I’m getting familiar with David Jenkins and I like what I see. Fellow H&R writer Jed compared him to Terone Johnson, and I think that’s a good comparison. If the exhibition game is a preview of things to come, Jenkins is a better passer than Terone, but both are/ were big bodied guards that rely more on strength than quickness. Jenkins will be a nice change of pace and strength off the bench in relief of Smith. The opposition will go from guarding a precocious young guard to a grizzled veteran capable of grinding down defenders. I expect to see Jenkins on the floor late in close games because of his experience and free throw shooting (81% last year at Utah).
Brian Waddell (who I confused with Carson Barrett last week because I watched both their fathers play for Purdue....and now I want to jump out the window) is on the outside of the rotation looking in after recovering from an ACL tear last season. His shooting and feel for the game may earn him minutes as the season progresses. I’m not sure if this team ends up being a solid shooting team, or a terrible shooting team. If the shooting struggles early, look for Waddell to get an opportunity to light it up from the perimeter.
Key to the Purdue Offense
UMW plays small ball. In their ideal world, they play 4 perimeter players around a forward. Forwards Vin Baker Jr (yes, that Vin Baker’s son) and Ahmad Rand (no relation to Ayn) hold down the post at 6’9” and 6’8” respectively. The Panters also have 7’1” Moses Bol (cousin of Manute and Bol) to throw at Zach Edey, which could make for an interesting match-up of tall thick dude vs tall skinny dude.
All of this is to say that Purdue should get the ball to Zach Edey early and often. UMW has more bodies to throw at him than Truman State, but this shouldn’t be a test for the Big Maple. When Zach needs a rest, the Brothers of Destruction (Furst and TKR...I’m trying out a few nicknames) should be primed to take the court and finish off whatever scraps of interior defense remain.
Of course, all this is dependent on Purdue’s ability to shoot the ball. If the Boilermakers play at their normal glacial pace with Edey at center, expect him to be swarmed, scaled, and traversed by the Panther defense. Perimeter shots will be open, and Purdue needs to prove they can hit those shots early in the season, or they’ll be forced to prove they can hit them all season long.
Key to the Purdue Defense
Protect Edey at all costs.
I expect Bart Lundy’s squad to attack Edey on defense at every opportunity. Zach can’t dominate the game from the bench, and Coach Lundy knows 2 fouls puts him on the bench in the 1st half, expect his squad to hunt those fouls early.
Smith and Loyer have to prove they can contain the ball off dribble and not give up straight line drives into Edey’s chest. Keep an eye on guard Angelo Stuart. He’s coming off an All-American (3rd team) JuCo season, can score, and based on what I know about basketball players from Queens, NY, is fearless. He led the Panthers in their exhibition game with 24 points in 23 minutes, and went 5-8 from 3. Granted, he won’t be playing The Milwaukee School of Engineering, but he should be an interesting early test for either Smith or Loyer to try and corral. Their ability to keep players like Stuart out of the lane will dictate their ability to stay in the starting rotation (and possibly the regular rotation).
Purdue Wins If
They show up and take UMW seriously. This team can score, and has some solid Power 5 transfers on their roster. Purdue can’t take this game lightly or the Panthers will drop 70+ on them and keep the game relatively close.
I don’t see that happening in the home opener, but Purdue seems to have at least 1 early season game where shots don’t fall. If shots don’t fall in this one, Purdue will need 25+ from Edey to ensure the win.
Consider me confident with a slight tinge of “this is Purdue, anything could happen” gnawing at the back of my brain.
Purdue - 87
UMW - 67
Confidence - 100%
This one might stay close for a while, but Purdue has too much fire power and too much size for the Panthers to keep up for 40 minutes.
Purdue - 83
UMW - 57
Confidence - 99%