If it’s Saturday it must be the roundtable. Where I ask the staff a question and they are duty bound to respond to me. Let’s take a look at today’s question.
Now that Purdue is the outright champion and we’ve just got Illinois in front of us it’s time to look ahead to the tournament. The Big Ten tournament! This is a tournament Purdue has won just once but has also been in the title games on a couple other occasions. What are your expectations for this event? Will the outcome of this tournament impact what you think they can do in March Madness?
The BTT has very little meaning in a good year but less meaning than usual for Purdue this year. Purdue’s more or less set at the 1 or 2 line in the Big Dance and I’m not sure that what they will do in the BTT is gonna make a big difference. For the fans though it’s a fun event. I’ve been lucky enough to attend the whole tournament a time or two as a fan and it is really a lot of fun. So what do I think will happen in the BTT? It’s really hard to say given how much of the bracket remains unsettled. I’d expect to win their first game but I think that’s about it. I just don’t feel like this team is clicking like they should be and a loss in the BTT seems likely to me. Gives them an extra day to regroup and figure things out before March Madness starts. What happens in the BTT won’t impact my expectations for the tournament either. What has impacted my expectations has been Purdue’s recent lackluster play.
My expectations are always the same, win as many games as you can, however you can. I always think winning or at least getting to the title game of the tournament is a good thing and puts some momentum on the team heading into March Madness. I don’t think my expectations will change if they get bounced early but it will make me feel a little uneasy on where this team stands. Let’s face it, Purdue hasn’t been shooting the 3 ball well and will need to right that ship moving forward. This team needs to get their confidence back and the only way they can get that back is with some wins and seeing the ball go in. Even if we don’t win the BTT making their shots and get going offensively will do this team (and fan base) some good.
I have mixed expectations for this team in the BTT. On the one hand, they’ve proved more than capable of playing back to back days against quality opponents and coming out with wins. On the other hand, the Big Ten is a giant mixed bag of chaos. As it stands, I think Purdue gets to Sunday for the second year in a row. They definitely have the ability to win the tournament and cement their spot as a 1 seed in the NCAAT (I think 1 win in the BTT locks a 1 seed). I do not, however, think that the tournament results will affect my expectations of the Big Dance and it’s for one reason: NO BIG TEN REFS. Zach Edey may finally be treated like a basketball player and not a sparring partner, making Purdue’s advantage that much larger over opponents. Just need the shots around Edey to fall a bit more often.
The Big 10 tournament doesn’t mean anything. Purdue is going to either be a 1 or 2 seed. The Big 10 tournament doesn’t change that. I don’t see a huge difference between a 1 and 2 seed, but if you desperately want Purdue on the top line, they need to make the finals.
What I really think Purdue needs going into the tournament is rest. Since that’s not possible, Fletcher Loyer hitting a few outside shots would make me feel better about the tournament. We’ve seen this team play 30 games (will be 31 after Illinois), I’m not sure how much a couple in quick succession will tell us.
Purdue, for better or worse, does their thing. They’ll do their thing in the Big10 tournament and they’ll do their thing in the NCAA tournament. For the Boilermakers it’s all about matching up against the right teams, and hitting open catch and shoot jumpers. They do that in the Big 10 tournament, they can win it all. They fail to do that, it doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t play well in the NCAA Tournament.
I think the expectations for most people every year should be a title game appearance. Purdue has made the double bye every year since the conference expanded and with that comes those expectations. With a title game appearance Purdue will lock up a #1 seed for the first time since 1996 and likely the easiest path on paper to an Elite 8 before the NCAA Tournament starts.