Last NCAA Appearance: 2008, Second Round loss to Xavier
Coach: Matt Painter (2-3 in 3 NCAA appearances)
Why They Can Surprise:
The bulk of Purdue’s recent success can be attributed to the defense. The team ranks first in the nation in field-goal percentage defense, allowing the opposition to shoot just 36.0 percent from the floor. This is not a team that necessarily steals a bunch of passes or blocks a lot of shots; they just play straight up solid defense. However, Purdue will still make the big play on the defensive side of the floor. Big man JaJuan Johnson blocks over two shots per game and Chris Kramer is good for a steal or two every outing.
The young Boilermakers also take care of the ball. The overall turnover numbers are not that great, but considering Purdue is not afraid to run, committing 12.7 turnovers per contest is not too bad. The fact that the team shares the ball so well makes the turnover number even more acceptable. E’Twaun Moore, Robbie Hummel, Keaton Grant, Lewis Jackson and Kramer all averaged over two assists per game.
Why They Can Disappoint:
As is so often the case, when a team takes good care of the basketball, they lack in rebounding. Hummel and Johnson, the starting frontcourt duo are solid rebounders, but they need some more help from the bench. Nemanja Calasan is the only other forward on the roster who sees significant playing time and that forces Coach Matt Painter to employ a four guard line-up at times. When that happens, the Purdue rebounding problem escalates.
Who To Watch:
Three stars have emerged on this Boilermaker squad. At 6-8, Hummel is a match-up nightmare. He has the size to be effective in the paint and the shooting range to force defenders well beyond the three-point arc. In fact, Hummel is the team’s most prolific outside shooter and hit nearly two long balls per game at a 40.9 percent clip. Moore, Purdue’s leading scorer, is the outside presence. He is a shifty player and will make some amazing moves on his way to the basket. It takes a special defender to stop Moore. In the paint it is all about Johnson. The Boilermakers will occasionally forget about their big man under the basket and settle for jump shots, but Purdue is very tough to stop when Johnson is involved in the game.
Chris Kramer, Junior, Guard
Lewis Jackson, Freshman, Guard
E’Twaun Moore, Sophomore, Guard
Robbie Hummel, Sophomore, Forward
JaJuan Johnson, Sophomore, Forward
Nemanja Calasan, Senior, Forward
Keaton Grant, Junior, Guard
Marcus Green, Senior, Guard
+ Following final Bracket announcement, more team info will be added, including final RPI, final team statistical rankings, Joel's prediction, and more!