Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Looking ahead to Xavier

Going into Saturday afternoon Boilermaker fans don't know exactly what to expect. They expect the starting five to be the usual and the team as a whole to play hard, but how will the game unfold? This is the first road game (I don't consider playing in Puerto Rico to be a road game; I don't think you do either) for the Boilers this year, and it happens to arise when Xavier is an undefeated 6-0 and recently survived a tough road test at Vanderbilt earlier in the week.

Purdue is in a tough position.

Xavier is not only playing well, they have one of the best guards in the country in Tu Holloway, who's averaging 17.3 points per game.  It is reasonable to assume that our best defender, Kelsey Barlow, will defend the versatile guard.

What's surprising about the Musketeers, however, is that Tu isn't even the leading scorer on the team. That honor goes to Mark Lyons, who's averaging an impressive 18 points a contest, also a guard.

Purdue will have a tough time with these guards - as they have notoriously struggled with defending great guards, specifically last year against Virginia Commonwealth University - and in turn will have to play great basketball to win in Cincinnati.

7 footer Kevin Frease - weighing in at a mere 280 pounds - is also talented and experienced ( something, that something being experience in the front court, we lack).  Will Painter stick with a steady three man rotation for the 5, or will he give minutes to the most productive player? I think some of the times Painter gets so infatuated with depth and having players fresh, that he substitutes players in and out sometimes without noticing their productivity on the floor. I understand that with our pressure defense, players get tired fast, but put in the player that's playing the best. It seems obvious to me.  I could be wrong, but that's my opinion. I, for most of the year, have liked Lawson at the 5, as he gives us production, alongside unmatched athleticism. I think Purdue should be keeping him in there longer than the minutes he's been given. I give the first off the bench to Maricus and sit Carroll. I just don't think he is Big Ten material. I just don't.

I think what Purdue needs to do is simple: Let Lewis Jackson run the show and give him the freedom to make plays; have our aggressive guards in Terone and A.J. drive the basket; allow Smith to shoot the open threes, as that is a quality shot ( he will begin to get hot again; I can feel it); give way to Hummel and let him do his thing; and finally, make our bigs  play with energy and confidence - with no fear.

We do that, and play defense, we should be fine. Again, this will be Purdue's toughest match-up of the year, facing the 11th ranked Musketeers, but I have a feeling Purdue will show up and impress some people.

Purdue, Miami recap

Last night's game was interesting. Obviously with Miami missing some of its key pieces, it was easier for Purdue than it would have been in December. That being said, it was still a tough game for Purdue as Miami seemed to never go away. Since this is my first blog post - and I have school work to attend to, being that the semester is nearing an end - I will keep my thoughts concise.

Positives:
-The Johnson's were good last night. AJ and TJ had a small stretch in the second half where they fed off each other and made some great plays that sparked the team and the crowd.
-Lawson again showed signs that he will be a stud in a few years, if not less than that. A good put back, and a composed finish around the rim, along with a couple blocks and hustle plays is exactly what Mr. Painter wants from his freshman.
-Leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew-Jack was great. Driving the lane with ease and having the confidence to knock down open jumpers is what we need from Lew and we got it. Keep improving on your free throws sir.
-JJ...got a picture with him!

Negatives:
-The Crowd was pretty bad last night. What's with the seats behind the really expensive ones with the ipad thingy's? They're always less than half full. Did they not sell all of those seats? It makes the arena look terrible when the seats closest to the court are vacant.
-D.J. Byrd. I don't know if he is still nursing his injury, but he was a no show last night and has been invisible for the last couple games. It didn't matter because other people stepped up, however we can't count on the Johnson's totaling 21 points off the bench every game. It's possible but wasn't Byrd a prolific scorer in high school? Where has that gone? Is it due to the position change and mostly playing the four?

Again. Real short today. I'm looking forward to facing Xavier and how we will handle a tough road match-up.