by Joel Welser
Last NCAA Appearance: 2007, Second Round loss to Florida
Coach: Matt Painter (1-2 in 2 NCAA appearances)
Chris Kramer, Sophomore, Guard
Keaton Grant, Sophomore, Guard
E’Twaun Moore, Freshman, Guard
Robbie Hummel, Freshman, Forward
Nemanja Calasan, Junior, Forward
Scott Martin, Freshman, Guard
Tarrance Crump, Senior, Guard
Marcus Green, Junior, Guard
JaJuan Johnson, Freshman, Forward
Why They Can Surprise:
On paper, it would look like this group of shooters would have trouble rebounding. But the unit as a whole does a serviceable job on the glass. Eight players average at least three rebounds per game and that is enough to at least not lose because of their guard orientated play.
The perimeter scoring threats begin with E’Twaun Moore, Robbie Hummel and Keaton Grant. All three shoot over 40 percent from beyond the arc and are not afraid to take the big shot, despite being underclassmen. Hummel has emerged as the star of the team and the 6-8 freshman does not have a weak spot in this game. Having Scott Martin, Marcus Green and Tarrance Crump available off the bench makes this one of the deepest backcourts in the nation.
Why They Can Disappoint:
All the guards are fine, but none of them are true point guards. Chris Kramer has tried to take over the leadership role and leave the bulk of the scoring to the rest of the perimeter group. Kramer is a smart and tough player; however, like the rest of the backcourt, he is inexperienced and that can cause some problems in March. Purdue has done a decent job keeping the turnovers down during the regular season, but they do not have an experienced player they should really feel comfortable with fighting off pressure defense in a clutch NCAA Tournament situation.
Who To Watch:
The Boilermakers have to get production from the interior if they want to make a run. Nemanja Calasan has the potential to score 15 points in a game, but is just as likely to end up with three. The 6-9 forward from Bosnia and Herzegovina has the body to battle in the paint, but he tends to spend too much time out on the perimeter. He can hit the mid-range jumper, or even the three-pointer, but not consistently enough. JaJuan Johnson will not do too much scoring either, but he is at least a shot blocking presence on the defensive end of the floor. If those two can score a few points, grab some boards and make life difficult for the opponents in the paint, Purdue will be good for a few wins.
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