Friday, November 16, 2012

Rebuilding Boilers Not Ready For Primetime

I'll admit when I was wrong...it happens often.  And based on what I've seen so far this season, I was wrong about my Boilers- they're very much in the midst of a rebuilding phase...and tonight's 66-58 loss shows how much work they have left to do.

A few seasons of less-than-stellar recruiting classes have Matty's program struggling for an identity. But the good news, at least for the long view, is that the future looks quite bright.  That said, the next few months might be tough to watch.

It was mid-December before Purdue had three losses last season...Mid January during Smooge and JJ's Senior season...same for '09/'10...so this doesn't feel normal for Purdue fans.  But things are as they are right now, and this winter might feel especially chilly in God's country.

There's an adage I made up: You can't win basketball games if you can't score.  Our Boilers embody that idea.  The second part of the fake adage is- if you can't stop anyone you need to score a lot.
Too easy.

This is where Purdue is right now. Painter's signature defense is nowhere to be found. The young guys don't understand rotations and switches within a defense based on fluid, seamless, constant help.  I'm not saying this is a death sentence...not even for this season, but right now, Matty's Boilers have a long way to go.

Painter is clearly still struggling to find the right combinations...and the lack of consistency among the pups makes finding the formula even harder.

For instance, Hammons struggled mightily last night versus an OK front court..but tonight, versus a much bigger group, Hammons simply took the game over. He ended the contest with 20 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks and a steal.  As J said via text from MSG, "Hammons has me giddy."  His effort helped Purdue shrink a double-digit lead down to nothing before the wheels came off...again.

The same old problems as in the other two losses this season reared their ugly heads- Purdue shot less than 60% from the stripe, shot 34% from the floor and just 26% from behind the arc. Ugh. Not only could Purdue not shoot, but Davis and the young Johnsons weren't able to penetrate the beavers' defense with any regularity...and if these Boilers can't bust the opponent's defenses by sliding through the lane, they're in trouble.

Yesterday v. Nova, Purdue couldn't score, but they were gritty on the glass as they won the rebounding battle handily.  Tonight, they looked pretty soft in the lane and allowed Oregon State's bigs to do pretty much whatever they wanted...in fact, on a few possessions it looked like those clad in white, orange and black were just padding their rebounding stats as they toyed with Lawson, Marcius and Hale.

We all knew that this Purdue team would be a work in progress...I just didn't foresee them having three losses in the first four games. After a five day break, our Boilers will host UNC Wilmington and try to get back on track a bit...thankfully, UNCW is struggling mightily at this point.

10 comments:

strawmy57 said...

Hammons really showed he can be the center we need when in high gear. As for the backup I'd put Carol ahead of Marcius right now. Sandi has the body, but he doesnt know how to use it effectively, where Travis can set good screens and box out. Shooting is this teams main weakness, be it 2 or 22 feet.
The differences between last year and this year are pretty clear. No clear go to scorer, more defensive breakdowns, and way better rebounding. Hummel was 16 points a game, but when we needed him he gave us several 20 point games. Last years D gave up 66 points a game, so far this year is 70. But just look at rebounds: last year 33 a game, this year 45. +12 on the boards between years.

And looking back, we shouldve started 2-3 at best. barely beating High Point on Smith's threes, a classic hummel jumper to beat Iona,an 8 point loss to Temple, and a loss to a good Alabama team on tired legs. Clemson, Notre Dame, and W Va are the three big ones we need. There is a lot of time between now and then, so have faith.

strawmy57 said...

*8 point win against Temple.
Too many thoughts going on at once

BoilerRick said...

tough to watch right now but I still think this can be a good team.Glad we went to Italy because I wonder where we would otherwise. Have had a chance to win all the games and just have to keep improving

zlionsfan said...

Shot selection continues to be an issue. Purdue was hitting 53.1% from two prior to the Oregon State game, but just 24.6% from three. They struggled in both categories tonight ... and again failed to get to the line much. Not that shooting close to 50% would help, but at least the Beavers would have been picking up more fouls. Purdue was averaging only about 1 FTA for every 4 FGA. Go inside more, draw more fouls, take more free throws, even if you miss some.

Turnovers had been a problem - Purdue's been in the top 20 in fewest percentage of possessions ending in turnovers for four years prior to 2012-13 - but at least that was under control, and they did start forcing some again. Still, 33.8% from the field ... only 22 makes, even though they had 17 offensive boards. Too many miss-rebound-miss sequences.

At least Hammons had a solid game. 20 and 8, 4-4 from the line, 8-10 from the field (I think he hit his first seven).

But that sequence at the end. Hammons ties it at 2:17. Seven points later, the game is over.

Man, I hope these guys can get a couple of solid wins in non-conference play.

BoilerBloodline said...

Painter seemed very out of sorts both games at MSG. Consistently rotating what seemed like 40 guys never allows your players to get into a groove offensively, and it showed. I never once saw Painter stick up for his players after many VERY QUESTIONABLE calls during the Nova game. I hope Painter isn't having divorce hangover.
Anthony Johnson should have never been allowed the #1 jersey and nor should any other player in a Purdue uniform. There is no I in team. He and his 2 for 12 shooting certainly thought so as he dribbled down the court with just over a minute to go and down 2 and throws up an airball without even looking to make a pass. Very frustrating to see from a guy who is technically in his 3rd year with the program.
AJ Hammons looked great in the 2nd half and I think if Byrd and Terone will trust their teammates on the defensive end and stop trying to play 2 positions, this team will be fine. I like the hustle that I am seeing in the 2nd half, we just need it for the full 40 minutes.
Is Hope fired yet? Any leaked information on replacements???

L2F said...

A big issue with this team is the lack of leadership. I think this team has more talent on it than last year's. But it doesn't have a leader, like Hummel, to focus and motivate the team.

That being said, I think this season can go two ways. If a leader emerges, I think this team can get back on track. It may have to be one of the freshman.

If nobody steps up this could be a 15 loss team.

I thought some of the comments on the GBI wrap up were interesting (link below). It seems like the young guys are not exactly ready to play college ball from a mental standpoint.
http://purdue.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1437531

PU03 said...

Get the ball in Hammons and Hale and let them either take the high percentage shots or kick it back out, it will result in more turnovers than we're used to but the way we're shooting that's the best way to find offense in my opinion.

As for Painter constantly rotating players, he does that every year at this time. A rotation will emerge in time. I think part of the reason the offense looked so out of sync (at least Thursday night) was all the game stoppages and inconsistent whistles, but with so much youth trying to learn Purdue defense that is somewhat inevitable.

Plang said...

I think everyone needs to just quit worrying about the non-conference games this year, because Painter is going to use them all to figure out the identity of this team. Expect multiple rotations to continue through December. We've seen this in the past. This is painful growth. But the long view is getting things set for conference, grind it out, get into extended play in March. With this group, I think that is the best way to handle it. Yes, they are young, and in some instances raw. Yes, leadership is lacking, at this point. We saw big growth 5 years ago during conference play. Painter is now throwing in the towel.

My only suggestion to Matty at this point would be to make them do push-ups for every free throw they miss in practice and games. If they don't get better, they certainly will get stronger.

Mark said...

I think TJ's injury really hurt the team moxie because he is clearly the on-court captain. He's not 100%, and his offense is greatly needed.

The Brilliant Moron said...

"the young Johnsons weren't able to penetrate the beavers' defense"

Pun intended?