The Boiling Point: The Ten at Ten.
Potential bowl option? Hey a bowl game is a bowl game.
Welcome to this week’s edition of the Ten at Ten, a list of 10 positives/negatives/in between from the previous week in Purdue sports posted at 10am eastern every Monday.
1) Puerto Rico Tournament- Even though Purdue didn’t win the tourney it was a great test for the Boilers. A lot of people will look at wins over Iona and Temple as nothing but those are two teams that could probably compete in almost any league. Iona is #26 in the country when the tournament started and both of their guards could play almost anywhere. Alabama is the 16th ranked team(at time this is posted) in the country for a reason. They’re vastly improved over the team Purdue beat last year. Even though Purdue had a terrible offensive game they were in it for most of the game ultimately losing by 9.
2) Emergence of Jacob Lawson- Man am I glad Lawson and his dad told Coach Painter he won’t redshirt. With Carroll seemingly not able to match up effectively with anyone and Marcius still coming along, Lawson has been a blessing in disguise. Lawson is definitely still raw but even in just 5 games he has improved. His athleticism is off the charts and is what is probably getting him a lot of minutes. With that athleticism he is able to out run and out jump almost all post players Purdue has and will face. He’s actually faster end to end than a lot of guards as well; he was a high school track star. Lawson is going to be a valuable asset this year and it is going to be fun to watch his development.
3) Basketball Offense- I don’t think anyone expected Purdue to put up 96, 91, and 85 points in three of their first five games. It looks as though Purdue is going to be able to fill the scoring that JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore left with. Only thing that makes me nervous is that a lot of the scoring is coming from streaky shooters. Robbie Hummel is the only one on the team that can score at a consistently high rate. Lewis Jackson has the ability to take the game over but doesn’t always do so. Ryne Smith catches fire, like he has been until yesterday, but it doesn’t always seem to stay. You could say the same for DJ Byrd. I like how Anthony Johnson is able to create his own shot and is always effective in the minutes he plays. Terone Johnson needs to get out of whatever funk he is in. If just two of those players are able to join Robbie on a consistent scoring basis, Purdue should be in good shape. They just can’t rely on the three all the time. You miss with that a lot, and you get yesterday’s result.
4) 1 Win for Bowl Game- I wanted to put this “In the Middle” since we came out flat on Saturday, but then again there were very few people who expected us to go to our first bowl since 2007. With a win against Indiana, Purdue will be 6-6 and pretty much assured of a bowl game even if the Big Ten has more eligible teams than bowl tie ins. Last year bowls were struggling to fill their games with teams. Purdue will get chosen for one just for the fact that they’re a Big Ten team.
In the Middle
5) Basketball Defense- Even though Iona and Temple are good teams, the season as a whole has been a struggle on defense. The fact that we played pretty good defense today against a really good team keeps this out of the negatives. It’s always weird to say a team played good defense in a loss, but I digress. Purdue was supposed to be able to bank on its defense to win games for them this year, but so far its had to be their offense that bails them out. Defense has to improve through out the year.
6) Travis Carroll- I wouldn’t say Carroll has been bad so far this year, he’s been alright. He just hasn’t been able to match up well with any of the teams so far. The fact that outside of Alabama, they’re all mid-majors doesn’t help his case. Purdue is thin at the post(don’t redshirt Hale!) and Carroll is going to be needed this year. He needs to be more assertive on offense and not let himself get pushed around on both sides of the court. If he doesn’t do this, his minutes will and should keep diminishing throughout the season.
7) Defensive Line Pass Rush- If there was one positive for the Purdue game, and it was a struggle to find one, I’d say the pressure the defensive line got on passing plays was it. Yes, Iowa had a lot of passing yards, but that was more the wide receivers being wide open to get the ball too. The line as a whole was able to get into the backfield on the pass, but Iowa’s quarterback is just quick and elusive enough to buy himself some time. Brandon Taylor had a huge fumble recovery for a touchdown on a quarter back fumble.
8) Big Ten Officiating- As I’ve always said I’m going to keep this here until obvious calls aren’t missed non-stop. Once again multiple pass interference and our defense getting held didn’t get called. The Robert Marve fumble may have been the right call when explained, but seems as though there are tons of camera angles that show different things. More obvious things weren’t overturned in Purdue’s favor through the season. It was also interesting that the call was out of bounds so they were reviewing if it was a TD then they decided it was a fumble touch back, but oh well. Coulda, woulda, shoulda. Big Ten officiating is just terrible and inconsistent across the league in all sports. It wasn’t consistent in Puerto Rico either, but since those aren’t Big Ten refs maybe it’s a national thing and refs aren’t being trained correctly or effectively.
9) Basketball Rebounding and Free Throws- The biggest things Purdue needs to work on right now are their free throws and rebounding. As far as rebounding goes, they just need to find their man and box out more effectively. They can’t let themselves be pushed around. One thing I like about Lawson is he isn’t going to take crap from anyone and isn’t going to let himself be pushed around without a fight. It also doesn’t help that our starting center’s majority of rebounds are one that fall into his hands(credit where credit is due, he did have a couple good boards at end of Alabama game). For free throws, not much else you can do besides practice them. It’s always hard for coaches to decide how much time to put into them. They are only allowed a certain amount of practice time and there’s so much other stuff to go over. Free throws are usually just something thrown in at the end of a practice in the form of a contest. I’d say its something to put more emphasis on right now.
10) Football Attendance- Purdue might have the most apathetic and fair weather fan base in the country. The attendance at the football game Saturday with a bowl game on the line was absolutely pathetic across the board. There weren’t many students when tickets were crazy cheap, general admission had no one, and season ticket holders weren’t there or had Iowa fans in their seats. It’s pathetic. I swear the majority of fans would rather just see the team fail and have Hope fired than show up and support the team(even if he does have a better record than Kirk Ferentz and Barry Alvarez through 3 years and they turned out pretty well, though not saying he’ll be as good). All the contributors on this site aren’t the biggest fans of Hope to varying degrees, but we all still go to the games because we want the TEAM to win. What’s sad is getting a new coach won’t even fix the problem since Purdue won’t hire a name coach or a coach that has the ability to turn things around in a year. Maybe I’m just naive to think tickets should be bought to support a team that can make a bowl game since even during the Drew Brees successful years Ross-Ade couldn’t even sell out. During Gene Keady’s last years and Matt Painter’s first couple years Mackey Arena was empty, but guess what?! As soon as we started winning here are all the fans again. Now, JJ and E’Twaun are gone in an expected down year, and a ton of the premium seats remain empty for games. I always hear Purdue fans ask why can’t Purdue have an atmosphere like some of the top teams in the country. The answer is because they support their team through thick and thin and show up no matter what. We can’t even get close to a sell out unless it’s Notre Dame or a bunch of fans from the other school show up.
I purposely left football off the list, minus the D-Line, since I don’t know what to say that hasn’t been said already depending on the games. Just wasn’t a good effort this past Saturday.
As always, leave any positives, negatives, or anything really that you have on the previous week in Purdue sports.