The Boilers start their season off at home inside Mackey Arena tonight at 6:30pm against the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Panthers (1-0). This is the second all time meeting between the two programs with Milwaukee winning the first contest in Gene Keady’s final year as head coach 73-68.
Purdue holds a distinct size advantage over the Panthers with 7’4 preseason All-American Zach Edey at center along with 6’10 center Caleb Furst and 6’9 forward Trey Kaufman-Renn coming off the bench. Purdue will also start two true freshman at the guard positions in Braden Smith and Fletcher Loyer alongside juniors Ethan Morton and Mason Gillis.
Purdue will get their first opportunity to test their defensive skills against a small ball lineup that many programs will counter Purdue’s size this season. Edey will need to show improved coverage in the pick and roll/pick and pop to help the young perimeter defenders and keep Purdue out of rotations. Milwaukee is led by Angelo Stuart who scored a team high 24 points on 8/11 shooting while the rest of the team shot 61% from the field and 47% from behind the arc.
Purdue Wins If...
Purdue wins if they simply play a cohesive style of defense and play to their strengths on offense. Edey will be a continually matchup problem for most teams and the key will be not getting bored with what is working. Sometimes it is ok for a player to shoot the ball 20+ times a game if they are being successful. Force Milwaukee to double Edey to find easy pass outs and ball rotations to get Milwaukee moving because open shots from Loyer, Smith, Gillis, Jenkins, and Morton are shots that should go down 40%+ of the time.
Milwaukee Wins If...
I mean this shouldn’t happen but if Purdue comes out and turns the ball over 20 times, shoots poorly, gets into foul trouble, and let’s Milwaukee control the tempo of the game, then there is every opportunity for them to win. This may be a case where Purdue could play down to the competition and being unfocused and overwhelmed in game 1 and get stunned. We’ve seen it already with FSU being beaten by Stetson.
Purdue will likely win this game in fairly easy fashion after pulling away midway through the first half. Edey will grab 20 points and 12 rebounds and a multitude of others players score between 8-14 points. Purdue wins 94-63.