Preseason Preview: Purdue

2017 Marquette Madness

Photo by Ryan Messier/ Paint Touches

The first official practices of the 17-18 college basketball season are in the books and Paint Touches is celebrating by counting down every Marquette opponent from worst to first. Each preview will contain a look at how the opponent did last season, who they lose, who they gain, reasonable expectations for their season, and our own prediction of how their matchup(s) with Marquette will go. This series will start with the most under of underdogs and progress all the way up to most unbeatable of opponents. After a long stretch of Big East teams, it’s time to look at Marquette’s opponent in the Gavitt Games, the Purdue Boilermakers.

Team: Purdue Boilermakers
16-17 Record: 27-8 (14-4 Big Ten)
Postseason?: 4 seed in the Midwest region, beating Vermont and Iowa State before getting taken to the woodshed by Kansas in the Sweet 16
16-17 KenPom: 19
Date: 11/14/17
Location: BMO Harris Bradley Center
Coach: Matt Painter (14th Season)
Projected KenPom Range: 10-35
Projected Conference Finish: 3/14 in the Big Ten

Departures from 16-17
Caleb Swanigan: Starting C: 32.5 mpg, 18.5 ppg, 12.5 rpg, 3.1 apg, 0.4 spg, 0.8 bpg, 3.4 tpg, .527 FG%, .447 3P% (Drafted 26th overall by Portland)
Spike Albrecht: 3rd Man off the Bench: 12.5 mpg, 1.6 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 1.3 apg, 0.4 spg, 0.0 bpg, 0.3 tpg, .268 FG%, .231 3P% (Graduated)
Basil Smotherman: 4th Man off the Bench: 12.1 mpg, 3.9 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 0.8 apg, 0.5 spg, 0.1 bpg, 0.7 tpg, .556 FG%, .308 3P% (Graduate transferred to Georgia State)
Jon McKeeman: Benchwarmer: 1.8 mpg, 0.3 ppg, 0.1 rpg, 0.0 apg, 0.1 spg, 0.0 bpg, 0.1 tpg, .400 FG%, .500 3P% (Only appeared in 16 games) (Graduated)
28% of scoring, 39% of rebounding, 25% of assists, 20% of steals, 35% of blocks, 16% of 3PM

Eden Ewing: JUCO Transfer PF from Tyler Junior College
Nojel Eastern: 4-star SG, ranked #82 overall by 247Sports
Jacquil Taylor: Backup PF, returns from redshirt
Aaron Wheeler: 4-star SF, ranked #138 overall by 247Sports
Matt Haarms: 3-star C, ranked #348 overall by 247Sports
Sasha Stefanovic: 3-star SG, ranked #368 overall by 247Sports

Probable Starters:
PG: PJ Thompson: 5-10 185 lb SR: 28.6 mpg, 7.4 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 2.9 apg, 1.0 spg, 0.0 bpg, 0.7 tpg, .455 FG%, .402 3P%
SG: Carsen Edwards: 6-0 190 lb SO: 23.3 mpg, 10.3 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.0 spg, 0.1 bpg, 1.8 tpg, .382 FG%, .340 3P%
SF: Dakota Mathias: 6-4 200 lb SR: 31.8 mpg, 9.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.8 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.1 bpg, 1.5 tpg, .470 FG%, .453 3P%
PF: Vince Edwards: 6-8 225 lb SR: 28.6 mpg, 12.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 3.2 apg, 0.6 spg, 0.5 bpg, 1.7 tpg, .486 FG%, .423 3P%
C: Isaac Haas: 7-2 290 lb SR: 19.5 mpg, 12.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 0.6 apg, 0.3 spg, 0.7 bpg, 2.2 tpg, .587 FG%, .000 3P%

Probable Bench:
Ryan Cline: 6-6 195 lb JR SG
Eden Ewing: 6-9 215 lb JR PF
Nojel Eastern: 6-6 220 lb FR SG
Jacquil Taylor: 6-10 240 lb RSJR PF

Probable Benchwarmers:
Aaron Wheeler: 6-9 200 lb FR SF
Matt Haarms: 7-3 250 lb FR C
Sasha Stefanovic: 6-4 195 lb FR SG
Grady Eifert: 6-6 220 lb JR SF
Tommy Luce: 5-10 150 lb SO PG


• When it was announced that Marquette would be facing Purdue in the Gavitt games, the NBA draft declaration deadline became very interesting all the sudden. Purdue had two players considering the draft, including consensus first team All-American Caleb Swanigan. Depending on these decisions the game against Purdue could swing from unwinnable quality loss to a close but likely quality win. Vince Edwards ended up returning but the monster that is Caleb Swanigan took his talent to the NBA. Besides Swanigan, Purdue only lost a few back of the rotation type players. Purdue looks like a top 20 team again this season as they have good depth and roster balance. No one player can replace everything that Swanigan brought but a committee of them should get pretty close.
• Replacing Swanigan in the post is going to be 7 foot 2 senior Isaac Haas. The Alabama native is about as efficient of an offensive player as a coach could hope for. Unsurprisingly, most of his damage is done posting up, 315 of his 441 points to be exact. He has no difficulty backing down smaller defenders…which is every defender. Despite his size, he runs the floor fairly well and showed some ability to cut from the high post and score on the move. Defensively he is mediocre. He does a great job against other posts but catch him in space or on a pick and roll and he almost automatically gives up a bucket. He has some rebounding and rim protection ability but not nearly what you would be expect from a guy standing over 7 feet with a 290 lb frame. Him taking the next step without increasing his foul rate will be key to Purdue’s success. They will probably win every tip off though.
• Vince Edwards is the other Boilermaker who almost declared for the draft. He’s naturally a wing but with his size he often ends up playing as a forward. His greatest strength is his versatility. He has a ton of tools in his offensive toolbelt and he uses all of them well. He can pull up from the outside, back defenders down in the post, and attack out of both sides of the pick and roll. He’s at his best when the ball is in hands and he is allowed to take his defender in isolation. He’s not just a scorer, his 3.2 assists per game were second on the team last season. Defensively, he benefits from the same versatility. He can legitimately guard any position on the floor.
• A trio of defensive minded guards anchor Purdue’s backcourt. All three of PJ Thompson, Carsen Edwards, and Dakota Mathias all ranked in the top quartile of all Division 1 basketball payers in points per possession allowed. Each of them also averaged about a steal per game, creating valuable transition opportunities for the offense. None of the three are particularly explosive scorers, between all three they only had two games of 20+ points. They may not be volume shooters but all three are very efficient. Mathias particularly stands out in this area. On spot up jumpers he scored 150 points only 105 attempts. That type of efficiency puts him in elite company as he was in the top 1% of all division 1 in that category. This trio doesn’t have much size but their collective ability to three and d make them a very dangerous unit.
• Coach Painter brings in a recruiting class that ranked 4th in the Big 10. The player likely to make the most immediate impact is JUCO transfer Eden Ewing. Ewing comes from JUCO powerhouse Tyler Junior College, the same program that produced Jimmy Butler. He averaged 13 points and rebounds a game while demonstrating even better skills on the defensive end. The other big name is former Marquette target Nojel Eastern. The Chicago product has the size of a wing but has been listed as a PG, SG, and SF at different points in his high school career. He has great court vision and can abuse smaller guards when playing from the point. His shot needs some development but he is likely to come off the bench as a freshman so he can be brought along slowly.

The departure of Caleb Swanigan opens the possibility that Marquette could win this game. However, Purdue is exactly the kind of team that Marquette is likely to struggle against. Pudue’s defensive minded guards have the ability to shut down Marquette’s three point attack. Marquette will also be without Harry Froling so they will have a limited number of bigs who can handle the mountain Isaac Haas. Theo John comes to Marquette with a Big East ready body but going against Haas is another thing all together. With this being only the second game of the season the advantage is likely to go to the team who has more experience playing together and that is unquestionably Purdue. Marquette’s best hope in this game is to catch fire from three while their opponents go cold. Marquette falls behind early and never makes a game of it. Its not nearly bad as the Iowa debacle of a few years ago, but its not particularly close in the end.

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Categories: Home, Offseason, Previews

Author:Ryan Jackson

Texas A&M Professional, Marquette Fantatic


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