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Big Ten men’s basketball preview: Purdue Boilermakers

It’s set up to be a special year in West Lafayette

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-North Texas at Purdue Andrew Nelles-USA TODAY Sports

Purdue Boilermakers

Head coach: Matt Painter (17th season)
2020-21 record: 18-10 (13-6)
Season finish: NCAA tournament round of 64

What comes back

Purdue is returning almost the entire roster that got them fourth place in the conference last season. The two main players the Boilermakers will lean on this season are senior forward Trevion Williams and sophomore guard Jaden Ivey. Williams averaged 15.5 points per game, 9.1 rebounds per game and 2.3 assists per game and Ivey averaged 11.1 points per game and 3.3 rebounds per game.

Williams will be one of the more versatile players in the conference and is a true triple double threat every time he steps on the floor. Jaden Ivey is a star in the making and one of the top scorers returning in the conference.

The starting lineup should be rounded out by senior guard Eric Hunter Jr, senior guard Sasha Stefanovic and sophomore forward Mason Gillis. Sophomore’s Brandon Newman and big man Zach Edey will be the top two players off the bench for Painter and company and Isaiah Thompson and Ethan Morton will help provide depth in the rotation.

Purdue is also adding forward Trey Kaufman, who is ranked as the 43rd recruit in the country and the top player from the state of Indiana and forward Caleb Furst is ranked as the 64th overall recruit in the country and the second ranked player from the state of Indiana.

What was lost

As mentioned above, Purdue did not lose much, but guard Aaron Wheeler did transfer to St. Johns and Emmanuel Douwouna transferred to Tennessee State.

Wheeler had high hopes coming into the season at Purdue, but ended up behind Newman, Hunter, Ivey and Stefanovic in the guard rotation and only averaged 3.9 points per game and 4.4 rebounds per game. With all of these guys returning and a couple of them being younger than the senior Wheeler, it is not surprising he decided to utilize the transfer portal.

Against Ohio State in the Chris Holtmann era

Since Chris Holtmann arrived in Columbus, the Buckeyes and Boilermakers have had some exciting matchups, including two great ones just last season.

The Boilermakers are one of the few teams that has a winning record over the Buckeyes over the past four seasons, going 4-3 since the 2017-18 season. Last season alone, Purdue won on a Jade Ivey jump shot with three seconds left and then when they faced off in the big ten tournament two months later, the Buckeyes won a back and forth game in overtime, but lost Kyle Young for the season due to a concussion suffered going up against Williams.

Ohio State leads the series history by 14 wins, going 70-56 over Purdue in the programs 126 matchups in their history.

Season prediction

Purdue will be one of the top teams in the conference and one of the top teams in the country. They return every valuable piece from last years team that went 13-6 in the conference and add two top notch recruits. Williams and Ivey are all conference candidates, Hunter and Stefanovic are guys who can average 12-15 points per game and Newman and Edey are both six man of the year candidates in the conference.

Matt Painter is one of the top coaches in the conference as well and with this roster, anything but contending for a big ten championship and a national championship is an underperforming season.