Purdue (0-0) vs University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (1-0)
Purdue Home Opener
Tuesday, November 8 - 6:30 EST
Mackey Arena - West Lafayette, Indiana
Fun Facts About the Panthers
- I mean this with respect: the Panthers’ claim to fame in recent years is springing head coaches toward roles at bigger schools. Bo Ryan left UW-Milwaukee to spend his final fourteen years coaching the Wisconsin Badgers. His replacement Bruce Pearl left to Coach the Tennessee Volunteers. Lavall Jordan eventually became Butler’s head coach.
- While transitioning to Division I under Bob Gottlieb, father of basketball analyst Doug Gottlieb, they performed a bizarre 180 by switching all the way down to Division III following his departure in 1980. They would eventually return to DI status in 1990.
- One of their bench centers is Moses Bol, a cousin to NBA legend Manute Bol and therefore also related to Orlando Magic center Bol Bol, Manute’s son. Having spent time transferring from community college to Central Florida to Milwaukee as a grad student, he is actually two years older than Bol Bol, who is beginning his fourth year in the NBA.
The UW-Milwaukee Panthers start fresh with a brand new head Panther in coach Bart Lundy. He has a track record of sustained success building up Division II programs, frequently winning conferences and earning spots in the DII Men’s Basketball Tournament since his head coaching career began at the ripe old age of 27.
In his first stint at Queens University of Charlotte, he led the Queens to a conference title in his first year and finished the next four seasons in third, first, third again, and first again before taking his first Division I job at High Point University. In his first year at high point, he was named 2004’s Division I National Rookie Coach of the Year. He maintained a competitive squad at High Point, but after a 9-21 season, he was relieved of his coaching duties in 2009. For the next four years, he was Director of Basketball Operations at Marquette before joining North Texas as their top assistant coach.
Lundy returned to Queens University of Charlotte as head coach in 2013. Picking up where he left off, the Queens finished ranked no lower than second in the Carolinas Conference in each year following his return season, making the DII Tourney each of the past seven years, including a Final Four appearance.
His return to Division I after years of consistency in Division II will be an interesting endeavor; he’s a highly respected coach who knows how to establish and maintain success with recovering programs.
Starting for the Panthers
|Guard||Justin Thomas||So.||6'7"||179||Baton Rouge, LA|
|Guard||Angelo Stuart||RS Jr.||6'1"||175||Queens, NY|
|Guard||Markieth Downing II||RS So.||6'4"||196||Ypsilanti, MI|
|Guard/Forward||Vin Baker, Jr.||RS Sr.||6'9"||208||Groton, CT|
|Forward||Ahmad Rand||Sr.||6'8"||195||Lincolnton, GA|
They’re taking small ball to a bit of an extreme here. The Panthers’ starting 5 consists of solid shooters who will need to space the floor, because they are way out-sized by the big bodies Purdue will have guarding anything near the paint.
Opponent Bench Contributors
In their season opener against the Milwaukee School of Engineering, the offense spread the ball out. No single player exceeded 23 minutes of playing time. Off the bench, Elijah Jameson clocked an efficient 12 points, three assists, and three rebounds in 20 minutes, hitting two three-pointers. They’ll need more from beyond the arc for a chance to best Purdue.
Kentrell Pullian scored 11 points with eight rebounds and three assists. He made a night drawing fouls and scored five of his 11 points from the stripe. If he can get key Boilermakers into foul trouble, their fast-paced offense may have hope, if they can keep it together on the opposite side of the court.
Beyond that, their only chance at accomplishing anything defensively in the paint is Moses Bol, who’s a solid rebounder and shot blocker (he finished second in the Horizon League in shots blocked last season with not much playing time; he can seem like an offensive liability at times), but nowhere near the force of Purdue’s bigs.
Shoot, shoot, shoot. If the Panthers consistently shoot well from outside, that’s about the only way I see them sniffing Purdue in the waning minutes. In fact, I think this one will be all but decided well before the final whistle.
How the Panthers aim to stifle the Boilermakers in the paint is beyond me. If they can keep the ball on the perimeter while forcing bad shots, maybe this game stays close heading into the half, but I don’t see it being sustainable. The one guy they have who can challenge Zach Edey, Moses Bol, is not exactly the strongest center, but if he can put up a fight off the bench, a fast Panthers offense can maybe get some points in transition down the floor.
Opponent Wins If
The opponent wins if Purdue has a horrible day from the field and is forced into outside shots, which, again, I don’t see as much of a possibility.
Purdue is going to bully these guys in the paint, so the Panthers’ outside shooting better be on point to give the recovering program a chance at a win. I like Purdue by a wide margin for a lot of obvious reasons, but Milwaukee’s coach can coach, they’re always competitive, and they do have some shooters.