With two games in the book and Purdue on the eve of its first game in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament, we still know little about the men’s basketball team in this young 2011-2012 season. The first game and second game had very different outcomes — the first a historic 62 point blowout win over Northern Illinois and the second a narrow victory over a little known school named High Point that almost played the role of spoiler. Here’s what we do know about the men’s basketball team:
- We shoot the three ball A LOT. After just two games, Purdue has fired 60 shots from behind the arc. Luckily, Purdue is making their shots at a high rate — 27/60 for a tremendous 45%.
- However, Purdue is not finding any offense in the low post. In fact, only 1.4% of Purdue’s possessions have been post-ups (thanks to ESPN’s Eammon Brennan for taking my question in this week’s mailbag and providing his analysis). While I think Brennan is right that a) this is what we expected from Purdue’s offense and b) Purdue can compete in the Big Ten with this face-up offense, I am still concerned about Purdue’s inability to get more touches down low. I don’t think Purdue should try to make Travis Carroll or Sandi Marcius offensive weapons if they’re clearly not. But I would at least like to see more touches to those guys. I hope Purdue’s offense can evolve into more than just a team that lives and dies by the three point shot.
- Speaking of Purdue’s ineffectiveness in the paint, they have also struggled in their rebounding. Purdue was outrebounded 35 to 31 by an undersized High Point. Purdue outrebounded Northern Illinois, but only by one board. If Purdue struggles against smaller teams like NIU and High Point, it’s going to have one hell of a time trying to rebound with the likes of Michigan State.
- Purdue’s defense has held their oponents to just 33% shooting so far. Against Northern Illinois, Purdue forced over 20 turnovers. Against High Point, Purdue wasn’t as successful.
- Iona has yet to play a game this year, so there are no current stats to shed light on this year’s Iona Gaels. That’s right — their first game this year is in Puerto Rico against our Boilers.
- Iona returns two key veterans from last year’s team: 1) Michael Glover, a 6-7, 212 lb senior forward that averaged 18.2 PPG and 10.2 rebounds/game last year; and 2) Scott Machado, a 6-1, 180 lb senior guard that averaged 13.6 PPG and 7.5 assists/game last year. Glover sounds like a very productive player and hopefully Robbie Hummel, Jacob Lawson, and/or Travis Carroll and Sandi Marcius can successfully defend him. Lewis Jackson, Kelsey Barlow, Terone Johnson, and Anthony Johnson all have to keep Machado in check.
- Iona’s only true center is also a true freshman. Josh Gomez is 6-10 and will debut tomorrow against Purdue. Other post players include the aforementioned Glover, junior Taaj Riley (6-7), and junior Nyandigisi Moikubo (6-7). The moderator of Ionahoops.com, Guy Falotico, told me that both 6-7 forwards (Riley and Moikubo) are battling injuries. This makes for a thin frontcourt for the Gaels.
- Falotico also told me that Iona likes to push the basketball and apply pressure defense. If Purdue wants to win tomorrow, they’re going to have to be ready to play transition defense and be smart with the basketball. Since Purdue is not a great rebounding team, they can’t afford to turn the ball over.
- It should be a hotly contested game tomorrow. The game starts at 1 p.m. and will be available on ESPNU, which can be accessed online at this link: http://espn.go.com/watchespn/index/_/channel/espnu/type/upcoming/