Basketball season kicks off tonight! In just over four hours Purdue will tip-off against the Samford Bulldogs. That tip has been the talk of Twitter these last few days as Samford has had a lot of fun with jumping against the much larger Zach Edey.
Before we get into individual games and get bogged down by the season I asked the staff to send me their bold predictions for this season.
Over the last few years when I did a podcast with Casey now at Boiler Upload he’s been the one who has always convinced me that Purdue was a final four team. I struggled to believe it for a number of reasons but one of those is of course the snake-bit life of a Purdue fan. This season though, I think it’s different. Zach Edey has returned and he’s angry. Braden Smith and Fletcher Loyer have returned a year older and a year wiser. Then, there’s the addition of guys like Lance Jones and Myles Colvin. Purdue was close last year. I know the Fairleigh Dickinson loss didn’t show that, but the PK tournament did, the way they ran through their conference slate did.
If you know me personally, or listen to my various podcast appearances, you’ll know I’m a sucker for an emotional sports story. Ted Lasso was perfect to me. I love that show and will take any chance I get to evangelize for it. Things didn’t always end perfectly for AFC Richmond and that was okay, because ultimately, that’s life. Right now I am loving Welcome to Wrexham. Two soccer shows, and I don’t even really like soccer. Maybe it’s the sentimentality of these shows that makes me think the streak will end. Maybe it’s the Hollywood ending I dream of. Or maybe it’s just the black and old gold glasses clouding my vision. Either way, I believe.
The new additions will be enough. Purdue is making the Final Four this year (technically in 2024 but you get what I mean). The streak finally ends.
A Final Four is probably the easy way out here so let’s dig a little deeper here.
I think Purdue will win the B1G again by at least two games and then win the B1G Tourney to go back to back x2, a feat that has never been done in the history of the conference.
I’ll also say that Braden Smith ends up averaging 15 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 steal which would make him a First Team All B1G. If Purdue goes back to back and Smith had a season like that, it would be very hard to ignore.
Alright, here’s my bold prediction for this Purdue basketball season. I think we’re going to see more losses than we expect. We might stumble a bit out of the gate, drop a few games we probably shouldn’t. It’s not that we don’t have the talent - we do. But with all the hype and high expectations, I can see us getting a bit rattled early on. I also can see Edey’s game averages dip a bit. Why? Well, I think we’re going to be playing a smaller rotations against other smaller rotations, and that means a few less minutes for him on the court. But don’t panic, I don’t think this going to be a drastic change or a bad thing. In fact, I think these early struggles are going to be the making of us. We’ll learn from our mistakes, and grow stronger throughout the season. We’ll get it right when it matters most and start winning when it counts. And that’s when we’ll start our march to the Final Four. Yeah, you heard me. I’m predicting that this is the year the Boilers finally make it to the Final Four. Maybe I’m just manifesting, but gosh dang it after last year I need a redemption season.
As much as I would like to boldly predict that Purdue will make the Final Four or Zach Edey will shoot and make a 3 this season, I want to focus elsewhere. I think Lance Jones comes in and makes a big impact, especially on defense. Purdue has had mixed luck bringing in top scorers from smaller programs because moving up to this level is a whole new beast. Lance Jones is a defensive gamer though and I think that translates better between small and large programs. I predict that Lance Jones will make the Big Ten All-Defensive Team this season (alongside Zach Edey).