Purdue Boilermakers Preview
Date: January 29th - 3:30pm - Pinnacle Bank Arena - Lincoln, NE
2016-17 Record: 26-9 (12-6 Big Ten)
2017-18 Record: 17-4 (6-2 Big Ten)
Head Coach: Matt Painter (12th year)
Coming into this season the Boilermakers were looked upon as one of the better teams in the Big Ten. So far, they have yet to prove anyone wrong. It is true the conference is having a down year so far but Purdue has been the one constant in the top 25 this season.
Purdue has done well with only four losses on their resume. As of now, they will easily be invited to the dance in March and could very well see themselves as a top 5 seed in one of the brackets. Those four losses were to #3 Villanova, #16 Louisville, Minnesota, and Iowa.
Losing to 2016 national champion Villanova and perennial threat Louisville is nothing to sniff at. Purdue played well in both games and could have ended up with at least one of those as a win. Minnesota is also having a much improved season with only two losses on the year and went toe to toe with the Boilermakers until the end when they pulled away. Iowa on the other had should probably not have happened. But it is really the only blemish on their record this year.
As a team, they are still big as they were last year and probably better as a whole. They are lead by Caleb Swanigan who is averaging 18.8 ppg, 12.7 rpg, and 2.8 rpg. The 6’9” sophomore forward has been dominating inside and outside of the paint all year long and should be a concern for the Huskers. He’s not only a threat in the paint but also from beyond the arch shooting 50% on the year. If he has his way on Sunday then it will most likely be a long day for the Big Red.
Behind Swanigan is under the basket at center. This 7’2” behemoth is averaging 13.5 ppg and 5.2 rpg. He created problems for Nebraska last year and will most likely this year too. Though I like our chances better with Isiah Roby and Jordy Tishimanga in there to help alleviate some of the pressure. Something we didn’t have last year.
Carson Edwards is their freshman guard who has come on strong his first year at the helm. He is averaging 10.7 ppg and 2.7rpg and got a share of the Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors after this paste weekend. Look for him to match up well against the Huskers.
Purdue is currently tied for third with Northwestern in the conference. Behind Maryland and Wisconsin. They have yet to play all three teams and those games will most likely help determine who wins the Big Ten regular season title. They’re tall, athletic, and experienced. This will be the first big team Nebraska has encountered in a few weeks so it will be interesting to see how they match up on Sunday.