Saturday, November 15, 2008

Purdue Basketball: Starting Five...Huh, What?

Purdue got the season off to a confident start with last night's 82 - 50 win over Detroit Mercy.

Three major stories arose from the action. First, E'Twaun Moore had to come off of the bench in favor for starting freshman Lewis Jackson. According to Coach Matt Painter's comments, something was lacking in Moore's recent practice effort, and he was relegated to sixth man. Not that it fazed Smooge at all; he dropped in 18 pts in 23 minutes of play.

This will be one of those early season manufactured stories though, more fodder for talk radio than debate within the team. My guess is we see Moore in the starting five for Monday's Eastern Michigan game.

Secondly, the Boilermakers were nearly flawless in protecting the ball and committed only 3 turnovers for the entire game. Painter likes to keep turnovers to 6 a half which is a large step up from Gene Keady's no more than 15 in a game. Should Purdue continue to force 20 turnovers as they did last night while taking care of the ball in kind, that advantage may alleviate any rebounding shortcomings.

Lastly, with 3-point shooters now a foot farther from pay dirt, some college basketball experts are expecting to see lower shooting percentages and scores. Albeit against Detroit Mercy (Sagarin rating 202 of 347), Purdue managed 34.8% success behind the line. Factor into that total 2 missed attempts by Ryne Smith and Mark Wohlford, who should see playing time diminish with tighter competition we could have seen a higher mark closer to last year's standard of 39.6%. All this and they still managed 82 pts with 8 scorers.

What's to be learned? The Boilers aren't scared of the new distance (Hummel, Calasan, and Green attempted five 3's), and the more traditional deep threats (Moore & Grant) will still be ready to bury the long ball. The accompanying spread half-court set will also favor Purdue's quick cutters (Kramer and LewJack).

Next up: Eastern Michigan in the pre-season NIT.

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