2016-2017 ITH Season Preview: Purdue Boilermakers

  • 10/05/2016 8:30 am in

With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’ll be taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster over the next month. Today, we continue our Big Ten team previews with the Purdue Boilermakers.

A season ago, Purdue started off with an 11-game win streak and was one of 10 teams to be nationally ranked for the entire season. The Boilermakers climbed as high as No. 9 in the national rankings and finished 26-9 overall.

In Big Ten play, it was a strong season in West Lafayette as Purdue finished in a four-way tie for third place with a record of 12-6 and set a school record with 17 wins at home. In the Big Ten Tournament, Purdue beat Illinois and Michigan before falling to Michigan State in the championship.

But when NCAA tournament time rolled around, Purdue came up short again. The Boilermakers fell to Arkansas-Little Rock, 85-83, in double overtime after leading by 13 points in the second half. It marked the fourth straight season that Purdue failed to win an NCAA tournament game.

Finishing games is going to be a point of emphasis as the Boilermakers enter the 2016-2017 campaign. And it won’t be long before Purdue gets a stiff test as defending national champion Villanova comes to Mackey Arena on Nov. 14.

The Boilermakers have a strong returning group as three starters – Caleb Swanigan, Vincent Edwards and P.J. Thompson – are back. Both Swanigan and Edwards considered jumping to the NBA before opting to return to school. Up front, Isaac Haas will assume a larger role as A.J. Hammons graduated and was selected 46th overall in the NBA draft by the Dallas Mavericks. Raphael Davis, a former Big Ten defensive player of the year, also graduated.

The Boilermakers add Final Four experience and leadership with Michigan transfer and redshirt senior Spike Albrecht. Albrecht graduated from Michigan and will be able to play immediately at Purdue.

The incoming freshmen class is just one player, but four-star recruit Carsen Edwards should crack the Purdue backcourt rotation immediately. On the team’s trip to Spain in August, the 6-foot Edwards averaged 16.3 points per game and shot 64.9 percent from the field.

Other returnees expected to play major roles are junior guard Dakota Mathias, sophomore guard Ryan Cline and junior forward Basil Smotherman, who redshirted last season.

Bottom Line: The Boilermakers have to do a better job at finishing games if they hope to contend for the Big Ten title or advance in the NCAA tournament. They ended last season on a poor note and should be hungry to win an NCAA tournament game for the first time in five seasons. Painter has a strong returning nucleus, which should give Purdue one of the league’s most balanced lineups. Purdue’s defense could take a step back without Hammons and Davis departing, but the offense could take a step forward with improved guard play.

Quotable: “To put yourself in a position both years to get a good seed and then lose in the first round, especially last year, it hurt a little bit. We thought we really learned from it our freshman year. It happened again and I feel like learning from those things is huge. I feel like we’ve really done that since that loss.” – Thompson recently to The Herald-Bulletin.

PreviouslyRutgers, Minnesota, Nebraska, Illinois, Iowa, Northwestern, Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan

(Photo credit: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images North America)



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  • sarge

    I can’t wait to play at Mackey. The opportunity to knock Purdue down in their own building is a chance I look forward to every time. I can’t wait to see the fans disgusted, Painter throw his jacket in anger and see the Purdue team hanging their heads. There aren’t many other wins that are as gratifying. I would like to see Haas on a poster again too. OG, McFly, TB, who will it be this year? Go Hoosiers!

  • jmfriedman

    I know Purdont is going to be good, but it seems they are getting a bit too much credit when they fall in front of IU in the rankings. I sincerely hope they fall flat on their face this year……. again.

  • sarge

    It is PU tradition!

  • Arch Puddington

    I have spent the last few years traveling to one away game per year, with the ultimate goal of seeing a game in every B1G arena. So far I have been to Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, and Purdue, and the Purdue fans are without exception the angriest, most hostile I have encountered. Unbelievably angry at every call during the game, and personal aggressive with me after the game (which we won, happily). Michigan State fans are just as loud without being so hostile, Michigan fans are the most polite I have encountered, and the OSU fans have the least energy (it’s a football school, and it shows). I would gladly go back to any of the other places, but I would not go back to Mackey. I hope we win there by 149 points.

  • sarge

    You would be angry too AP if you had come to realize the mistake of being a boilermaker when you could have been a winner in candy stripes.

  • Donnie Vick

    Boiler down!

  • Hardwood83

    Absolutely. They appear to be solid, but some of the high rankings and projections they’ve gotten are puzzling. I foresee them playing well enough to get hopes up, just to be brutally dashed…..again. But hey that’s better then watching Purdue football **shudders**.

  • I am Baby Cakes

    I hope Purdue is right there at the top with us. Tired of one of us being good and the other one sucking. Now Illinois needs to be good again.

  • sarge

    I have a dream, that Purdue is demoted to division II because they are so terrible. I don’t really care how they do as long as they don’t hang a banner and always lose to Hoosier Nation.

  • I am Baby Cakes

    I am not as angry as you are. I actually want our rivals to be good. Or else it is boring.

  • Hardwood83

    I’ve been to 2 games at Nebraska (both losses- Grrrrrr!) And had zero issues- Husker fans were fine. But that isn’t really a surprise.

  • Bill Graham

    Well you can’t expect too much from them. After all they are willing to betray their state’s namesake. How someone can live in Indiana and root against the Hoosiers is beyond me. Essentially, everyone from Indiana is a Hoosier…we are the Hoosier state…so technically speaking we have Hoosiers rooting against Hoosiers its just wrong.

  • Bill Graham

    I hate Purdue.

  • sarge

    I’m not angry, I would enjoy beating PU by an average of 50 every game.

  • I am Baby Cakes

    You sound very angry. And like someone who doesn’t like competition.

  • sarge

    Hahaha, I like competition and hate Purdue.

  • Gregory Spera

    Hope we are tied for first in the B1G when we meet on the last day in February and then we go into Mackey and gut them.

  • I am Baby Cakes

    Like I said. Angry.

  • sarge

    It’s ok man, root for Purdue and Illinois all you want. I am a Hoosier, so I root for Indiana and Indiana only. It doesn’t make me angry that I want our opponents to get torched by my team. Have a great day, and may all teams facing IU suffer a humiliating and laughable defeat, especially Purdue.

  • I am Baby Cakes

    Oh blah blah blah. Good god. Just because I want our rivals to be good means I’m not a “real fan” now? That is a joke. I actually want good games. Thats what makes rivalries good. Not 50 point wins or else it is meaningless and not a rivalry.

  • sarge

    I didn’t say you aren’t a real fan, although I have my doubts. I want our rivals to get beat badly, as do most fans of teams. That is what makes them great games. You need to cheer up, basketball is on its way.

  • marcusgresham

    Remember when Haas used to answer the door at Gomez & Morticia’s house?

  • Arch Puddington

    “You rang?”

  • Ole Man

    I disagree with my fellow ITHers.
    I want Purdue to always suck!

  • sarge

    That is the attitude I wanna see! Me too Ole Man! May they always search for the elusive first banner without luck! If they ever make it to a championship game, I hope they have to play us and lose quite badly. I hope they replace Rutgers as the conference doormat.

  • sarge
  • I am Baby Cakes

    In football I understand wanting to destroy Purdue and wanting them to suck. I don’t understand it in basketball. Because if they suck then it is a pointless game on the schedule 1 or 2 times a year. We already have enough of those with Rutgers, Minny, Illinois, Penn State, Northwestern and Nebraska not being very good.

  • I am Baby Cakes

    The Top 4 I want to see every year is Indiana, MSU, Illinois and Purdue. With Ohio State following. That’ll make the Big Ten the best.

  • pcantidote

    I agree. It puts a smile on my face to see them lose. The UALR game made me downright giddy. I am loving what their football program is going through right now too (i.e. playing the part of IU).

  • pcantidote

    The anger is an inferiority complex, aka Napoleon complex. I always thought they should change the team name to the Purdue Fightin’ Napoleons.

  • pcantidote

    I always crack up when PU fans here in Indiana say “what is a Hoosier” or “Loosier”. Uh, you are making fun of yourself, idiot.

    Another one is “You can’t spell stupid with I-U”. Uhhhhh….you can’t spell it without P-U either numbnuts.

  • Jeremy Jackson

    OK – I am a Purdue engineering grad (IPFW) and my daughter is at Purdue (freshmen engineering major).

    Always been a HUGE IU bball fan.

    However before anybody freaks out I bleed Cream and Crimson and thought I would share a picture from my visit in early September. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/415b30fe7fd4f89c92608c8bc90d800b210f8cc01ecca81f22304fcff552d61a.jpg

  • Jeremy Jackson

    Oops is came through rotated – any ways I hope we kill-em

  • John D Murphy

    Purdue is the only B1G I do not root for against other conferences. I want our conference to do well and be great but Purdue I want Purdue to lose every game by extreme margins. Puck Furdue.

  • John D Murphy

    You can’t expect too much from them…agreed. Tying their shoes and zipping their fly is a full days mental workload for a boiler.

  • John D Murphy

    Why would you do that to your own child? I’m sure there is some sort personal story but sending her to Purdue as a punishment is a cruel and harsh penalty. I’m sure it is overkill for whatever you are holding against her.

  • IdahoHoosier

    I don’t see the need to hate Purdue. #1 they are in the same state, and I like to see the state of Indiana do well in general. #2 they are in our conference, so for the sake of conference I would like to see all B1G teams do well. #3 they are not as good as IU so hating them just seems like piling on. Hating successful teams like Duke and UK seems more justified and satisfying as hatred often stems at least partly from jealousy (of their success, of which PU has little).

  • sarge

    Hey JJ, you will always be able to hang Purdue’s losses, especially to IU, and the fact they have no banner every time your daughter comes home and says or does something you don’t like. Then yell “HOOSIERS!” and calmly walk away. Works every time!

  • Bill Graham

    Haha thats awesome. Haven’t heard that last one.

  • TomJameson

    It might have been a little bit different if Nebraska lost. It’s really easy to be a good sport when you win.

  • TomJameson

    That’s a pretty good attitude, and one that I’m closest to. I always root for IU (of course). After that I root for Indiana teams, then B1G teams, then a few “favorites” after that. I really don’t hate any team.

    The list of teams that I just don’t care for (not hate) starts off with UK. And I guess I really do dislike their coach. AAMOF, I guess I dislike more coaches than teams. Go figure!

  • Jim Miller

    I used to tolerate Purdue since I have a couple of family members who are alum (shallow end of the gene pool). But I watched a game with Purdue at home on TV a few years back and they were getting beat badly in the second half and at the under 8 timeout the Paint Crew starts the “IU sucks” cheer and they are not even playing us!! From that moment on I have been firmly in the Puck Furdue camp.

  • And One

    I think a “true fan” can acknowledge that the rivalry is best when both teams are doing well, and at the same time hope we administer a savage beat-down every time we play them. This can result in some cognitive dissonance, to be sure. I hope they are seen as a formidable opponent coming into the game, and we pants them anyway. Cakes, lighten up brother. It’s okay.

  • John D Murphy

    I also hate UK. I hate no one else. I would argue if you don’t hate Purdue and UK above all others, you are not really an IU fan. Just my opinion.

  • pcantidote

    They do that every game. Their obsession with us is really sad.

  • IdahoHoosier

    I get that it is your opinion, but I don’t follow the logic. Saying you have to hate PU to love IU is similar to saying “you don’t really love ketchup unless you hate mustard.” Loving one is not dependent on the other.

  • thrawnjan

    How fitting that just below a Boilermaker article I find an ad that says “Every 8 minutes the Red Cross responds to a disaster”.

  • Greg M. Bailey

    So Purdue’s star bigman and a conference defensive POY graduate and all they bring in in an injured 5th year senior from Michigan that they didn’t want anymore and one four start Freshman. Explain to me how that gets them ranked higher then IU in half the publications. We graduate two starters, our sixth man and lose TW to the NBA, but we keep two potential lottery picks from last year’s team and get back our leading scorer who was hurt all year. Plus bring in Four Freshmen (two four stars) and a Juco transfer with NBA aspirations and get Josh Newkirk eligible. JBJ is better Zeisloft, OG and McSwain will replace TW with both consistency and Defense, DD and a healthy JW more than make up for the loss of Max. The just leaves Josh and CuJo to make up for the loss of Yogi. That will never happen, but overall we are a better and much deeper team than last year while Purdue I think actually takes a step back. CH got hurt after all the preseason rankings came out so that can’t figure in. Scratching my head.

  • John D Murphy

    A more comparative analogy would be ketchup and dung.

  • IdahoHoosier

    Whatever you are used to eating I suppose.