It is time for the ultimate entry on this collection for spring, and it is on coach Matt Painter. The coach has been candid that he’s all the time seeking to evolve and we’ve seen that evolution throughout his time at Purdue. There is no such thing as a doubt that he’s a greater supervisor now than he was in 2010 and even 2015. He has tailored his groups effectively in line with the expertise he has yearly. For a few years, his groups have had a beautiful steadiness. In 2019, it was the Carsen Edwards Present. He is modified his recruiting philosophy and it is paid off in a string of robust current outcomes with 4 Candy 16s, two Massive Ten championships, two runners-up and 5 NCAA appearances over the previous six years.
The 2021-22 was a disappointment, nevertheless.
It is very exhausting to say that a couple of 12 months Purdue was 29-8, achieved its first No. 1 total rating in program historical past, and was within the prime 10 nationally all season, nevertheless it’s t was a 12 months when a lot was left on the desk. Purdue misplaced a Massive Ten championship as a result of it misplaced 4 convention video games on the ultimate second photographs. He misplaced to a 15 seed within the NCAA Match by three factors. It was a 12 months of sky-high expectations, and with good purpose, nevertheless it finally resulted in frustration as a result of this workforce got here awfully near assembly these expectations, whereas not trying nearly as good throughout lengthy durations.
This workforce had a whole lot of similarities with the 2017-18 workforce which received 30 video games. This workforce additionally completed with out materials and a loss to Candy 16. Each groups misplaced no less than a share of the Massive Ten title over a single sport (a failed field out vs. ohio state and a miraculous rebellion at Rutgers, respectively). This workforce has all the time felt like they’re taking part in 10-15% over their cap for a lot of the 12 months. There was little doubt that they had been a terrific workforce, however they exceeded expectations for a lot of the season.
This 12 months was totally different. On paper they had been a extra gifted workforce than in 2017-18, nevertheless it seems like they performed 10-15% beneath its excessive ceiling frequently. Purdue was downright horrible within the first half at Indiana and for a lot of the second half towards St. Peter’s. In 4 of the eight losses (St. Peter’s, Rutgers, Indiana and at dwelling to Wisconsin), Purdue was both tied or forward within the remaining media break of the sport. Versus state of michigan and in Wisconsin, furthermore, he was both tied or main within the remaining minute. Towards Iowa within the Big Ten Tournament Purdue was inside some extent with three minutes left. 5 losses had been three-pointers apiece, and when Ivey’s three-pointer from Jaden towards St. Peter’s missed whereas all three from Rutgers, Indiana, Michigan State and Wisconsin fell, it appeared like a very merciless ending.
Purdue ended up taking part in 17 video games with one possession within the final 5 minutes, but when they play to their potential, they flip a couple of of these video games into extra snug wins. If he performs to his potential, half of these losses develop into wins.
It appeared like Purdue was having bother ending, and even in a couple of wins it was manner too shut. Purdue obtained it improper and practically misplaced at dwelling to a foul Rutgers workforce. It took a unprecedented comeback to beat an excellent worse one NC status workforce. The Ohio State sport was an entire late meltdown that was overshadowed by Jaden Ivey’s three winners. The house sport towards Indiana was one other survival. I acknowledge that it is vitally tough to be in a celebration, however since Ron Harper Jr. struck this miracle in December, Purdue has by no means been the identical.
This workforce was greater than adequate to be particular. He confirmed that early on by managing two groups that may finally qualify for the Remaining 4. He later confirmed that in spectacular street wins in Iowa and Illinois, in addition to second-half dismantling of the Illini at West Lafayette.
This all goes again to Coach Painter. What went improper? This workforce had a novel steadiness of expertise, depth and expertise. It despatched expectations by means of the roof, and when Purdue was actually on, I do not suppose anybody in America can beat it. Sadly, it wasn’t typically absolutely lit after that Rutgers sport.
I feel the most important blow to Painter this 12 months has been his loyalty and his inflexibility within the lineups. It is exhausting to hit him, however there have been video games the place some flat guys weren’t performing and the rotation was set in stone. As a lot as I defended him, on the finish of the season Isaiah Thompson was an actual legal responsibility on protection and struggled on offense, however he continued to be a part of the rotation. Towards St. Peter’s Purdue struggled to shoot from three and Jaden Ivey was horrible, however the offense continued to be perimeter oriented as a substitute of hitting it inside towards the smaller Peacocks. Purdue by no means obtained a solution for “We had Jaden’s uncommon terrible sport, now what?” when he had the expertise to defeat him towards this adversary.
Even then, it was an odd season as a result of typically occasions Purdue was nonetheless ready to succeed, however they could not carry out. The most important legal responsibility of the entire 12 months, protection, confirmed enchancment over time, however Purdue’s offensive effectiveness within the first half of the season eroded late. Being a terrific three-point taking pictures workforce means nothing whenever you’re taking pictures 25% from there within the St. Peter loss, or 25% towards Iowa, or 11% towards Michigan State. Purdue was additionally getting open seems in these video games and so they weren’t falling.
What blame can you actually blame on Painter if the photographs do not land? Purdue was inside 30% of three of 5 of eight losses: Rutgers, Michigan State, St. Peter’s, Iowa and Michigan. You’ll be able to throw away that Michigan sport, as a result of it was by far the worst lack of the season. Within the different 4, if Purdue simply averages, it wins and possibly walks away. In the end, Painter cannot make the photographs himself, and Purdue was typically in place with good photographs and so they did not fall.
So the place does it evolve from right here? It is exhausting to say, actually. Purdue has been loaded this 12 months. He had depth and a prime 5 NBA Draft to take. He had expertise. He had dimension. There have been shootings. We could not ask for a extra excellent workforce, however they underperformed and struggled in shut video games (10-7 in video games with lower than 5 minutes remaining). At one level this 12 months, I mentioned probably the most harmful lead in sports activities was Purdue up seven or much less within the final media break. This proved prescient, as Rutgers, Indiana and St. Peter’s losses had been virtually mirror photographs of Maryland and Minnesota’s losses the earlier 12 months. For some purpose, Purdue obtained tight in these video games. You may see it. Watching, you could possibly virtually hear the internal monologue of “I’ve to be excellent and rating on this sport” each time.
I do not actually know what to say about Coach Painter. There is no such thing as a doubt that he is without doubt one of the finest within the enterprise. For the issues I’ve with this workforce, we’re in all probability about 5 video games away from having one other Massive Ten banner within the rafters and an Elite Eight look at a minimal. He is had the fellows in place for achievement time and time once more this 12 months, and if Purdue simply hits his three-average, he is possible a 33-game winner and within the Elite Eight (if not additional).
The outcomes communicate for themselves. For the second season in a row, Purdue was knocked out by an average-to-weak main that merely outclassed them prime to backside. That is the opposite factor I seen this 12 months. When issues went improper, it was as a result of the opponent was overtaking us. St. Peter’s and North Texas have rather a lot in frequent as a result of within the components of these video games the place Purdue was in play, it was dominant, however for almost all of the sport it was labored by a lesser opponent.
Matt Painter goes nowhere. He earned a large leash at Purdue and it might take, at a minimal, three consecutive shedding seasons to even think about firing him. With him, you recognize what you are going to get at this level. Purdue will likely be contending within the Massive Ten 12 months after 12 months and making the NCAA’s second weekend will not be a rarity. Even shedding what we lose for subsequent season, I nonetheless count on a end within the prime half of the Massive Ten and a proposal from the NCAA. The overwhelming majority of school basketball would settle for that.
Nonetheless, it is going to be 12 months 18. He was the handpicked successor to Gene Keady, who made it 25 years. It has been 43 years of basketball that Purdue has been in that “actually good, however not elite” territory, and the March document speaks for itself. Painter is now 1-5 in Candy 16 video games, and the lone win had an enormous meltdown and was very, very near being a loss. In some unspecified time in the future, he has to discover a technique to break by means of, and that is why he will get paid what he will get paid. He won’t ever get nearly as good a shot as this 12 months, till the group clears in entrance of us as soon as the match begins. Purdue remains to be in “nice workforce till the lights are brightest” basketball purgatory. After this season I went again to the “if” Painter takes us to a Remaining 4 as a substitute of a “when” as a result of if we’ve not finished it this 12 months I will not consider it will probably occur once more so lengthy that we cannot be there.