Purdue looked like a doomed team at the beginning of the year.
The Boilermakers lost three of their first four games and the critics figured this team was destined for a doomed season. But if you paid close enough attention to the Boilermakers, it was clear they were being competitive enough to win games. They simply weren’t making plays when it mattered. That has changed drastically as of late. Purdue knocked off a good Iowa team 65-62 in overtime on Sunday, its fourth win in its last five games.
I’m not saying the Boilermakers are suddenly destined for greatness, that they have enough in the tank to win a Big Ten championship. It would be almost impossible to pull that off. But what I will say is that Purdue can’t be ruled out as a team that will hit its stride at the right time and perhaps play well enough to earn a trip to the NCAA tournament.
In the win over Iowa, Terone Johnson did what he does best, lead the way for the Boilermakers. He poured in 17 points and pulled down 12 rebounds, and when he is on top of his game, Purdue is always going to have a chance to win. Johnson has led the Boilermakers in scoring 10 times. He is averaging 13.5 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. He will need to continue to play at a high level for the Boilermakers to have a shot at an NCAA berth.
Purdue has a brutal schedule ahead. It still has to play Indiana twice, Wisconsin twice and has games against Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota left as well.
Purdue won’t win them all, but if the Boilermakers can build on the momentum they have gained lately, they will have a shot at coming out of that stretch with a winning record.
Brian Lester is a college basketball writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @BLester1993.