Well. That happened. #3 Purdue, which will hold onto that ranking for just one more day, fell into the trap game and went ahead and lost by 24 points to Michigan after narrowly beating them at the start of the week.
It’s been a week of real highs and real lows for a team that had only suffered 3 losses by a total of 10 points coming into it.
Purdue hosted Michigan and won to start the week, and then blew out Illinois at home as one of their marquee wins of the season. Just two days later, they had to travel to Ann Arbor where a hungry and desperate Wolverines squad absolutely wiped the floor with them. It was one of the worst losses in the Coach Painter era, an 82-58 drubbing that made Purdue’s defensive concerns look like absolute fire alarms.
An unusually off Purdue offense was clearly struggling from tired legs and the let down of coming off a get up game at home against Illinois. It was easily the worst offensive performance of the season for a team that is still the #1 offense in the country.
It was a throw away the tape game... at least offensively. That’s not what Purdue’s offense has been at any point in the season. Coach Painter can be fairly confidence that will be the worst offensive performance of the season for Purdue.
However, the defense, well it felt both like the culmination of a lot of bad happens and perhaps foreshadowing to what could happen to Purdue in the NCAA tournament if they don’t sharpen up on that end. Tired legs, slow communication, whatever reasons you want to explain the vast gap in score, it’s without argument that Michigan attacked defined and consistent weaknesses of the Purdue defense.
Purdue could not contain the pick and roll. They allowed easy slips to the basket. They over hedged and left open shooters. Dickinson again went off on Purdue. Michigan got into the paint over and over and over again.
Purdue’s rotations were neither crisp, timely, or communicated. At this point in the season, it’s alarming to see Purdue still struggle with the stuff that Coach Painter said was a priority at the very start of off season training.
Who is Purdue’s defensive leader? At this moment, it doesn’t look like they have one.
Purdue has two things working in their favor Sunday in their attempt to turn it around: they’ll get Mackey Arena behind them and a Maryland team that seems to be falling off a cliff.
It was a tough turn of events for Maryland, a perennial contender and disappointment under Coach Turgeon.
Under Coach Danny Manning... well they’ve stopped pretending to contend. They’re 11-13 and losers of their last four games and only one of those games wasn’t a double-digit defeat. They have a borderline top 100 offense and a defense outside the top 100.
Maryland has struggled at most aspects of the game. They don’t shoot the ball well. They don’t defend the ball well. They lack size or a perimeter threat on all three levels. They don’t force turnovers and they’re a bad rebounding team. Their program is playing with a likely lame duck coach, and has a lot of questions about their future.
It’s a well-timed get right game for a Purdue team that went from six straight wins to absolutely needing one.
If Purdue looks anything like the team they were the first 23 games of the season, their shooters will be going off, their bigs will be dominating, and they’ll one again look like one of the top teams in the country.
However it takes more than beating up the worst in the Big Ten to wash that taste out of your mouth. Purdue will simply have to take care of business look ahead to a week where they’ll only have to play two games. It’s the softest part of the schedule for Purdue in conference.
Maryland on Sunday, a trip to Northwestern on Wednesday, and then Purdue hosts Rutgers on Thursday before getting a chance to revenge a road loss against Rutgers at Mackey Arena.
The Big Ten is now out of Purdue’s hands, but the slip up in Ann Arbor is probably the last one they could give up if they hope to win the Big Ten still. They have four conference losses now, one behind the leader Illinois.
Their final three games of the regular season will make Purdue earn a win or share of the Big Ten if Illinois does slip up: @Michigan State, @Wisconsin, and home against IU.
But all of that is moot if they don’t handle Eric Ayala and Fatts Russel, the two lead guards for Maryland and one of the worst defenses in the conference. Granted, not as bad as Purdue’s has been this season.
Basketball GameDay Vitals
|St. Peter's Peacocks||Record: 21-11, 14-6 MAAC|
|St. Peter's Peacocks||Record: 21-11, 14-6 MAAC|
|From:||Jersey City, NJ|
|Game Location:||Philadelphia, PA|
|Venue:||Wells Fargo Center (19,500)|
|Odds:||Purdue by 12.5|
|Date & Time:||Friday, March 25, 2022, 7:09pm ET|
|Live Stats:||Purdue Sports|
|2020-21 Record||14-11, 10-8|
|NCAA Tournament History:||4th appearance. This is the first season they have won a game. 2017 CIT Champions|
|Series With Purdue:||Purdue leads 1-0|
|Last Purdue win:||65-43 in Chicago, IL on 3/18/2011 (NCAA Tournament First Round)|
|Last St. Peter's win:||None|
|Coach:||Shaheen holloway (63-55 in 4th year at St. Peter's)|