How They Are Doing So Far:
After back-to-back road losses to Florida State and Michigan, it looked like Purdue got back on track with their win over Maryland. But then the Boilermakers went to Austin and came home with a tough 72-68 loss to Texas. Add an earlier loss to Virginia Tech at the Charleston Classic to the mix and Purdue is a very disappointing 6-4 overall. That is rough for a team that had hopes of a Big Ten title. Those title hopes are not gone, but the lack of a decent non-conference win could hurt this team come March if Big Ten play does not go as expected.
Last Time Out:
Purdue deserves credit for playing away from home so much early in the season. Much of it wasn’t up to them, but either way this is now a very battle tested team. The latest battle against the Longhorns was another tight game where the Boilermakers had no choice but to rely on Carsen Edwards. The junior scored an amazing 40 points. Purdue as a team only scored 68. Edwards went 15-of-26 from the floor, including 7-of-14 from beyond the arc. Matt Haarms, a 7-3 sophomore, added ten points, but there was not enough help elsewhere for Purdue to get a victory.
Who To Watch:
Carsen Edwards is clearly the player to watch. Through ten games he is averaging 25.5 points per game and adds 3.8 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.1 steals. Just about bucket goes through the 6-1 junior one way or another. Edwards is good enough at attacking that the basket the opposition cannot simply defend him on the perimeter. If they take a step back, Edwards will shoot it. If they defend him too tightly, Edwards will use his speed and strength and get to the basket. However, the Texas game is proof that Edwards can only do so much on his own.
Who Else To Watch:
A Purdue victory will come much easier though if somebody else can score too. Senior Ryan Cline has been the most consistent secondary scoring option so far this year. He is averaging 13.3 points per game so far, but Cline is also a pure shooter so when his shot is not falling, he is not scoring. That was the case against Maryland when Cline was limited to four points and went 0-of-6 from beyond the arc and last game against Texas when he shot 1-of-9 from long range. Evan Boudreaux, a graduate transfer from Dartmouth, has scored just seven points in the last three games, but is averaging 8.6 points on the season. He is mostly a blue collar power forward who does the dirty work, but he can have the occasional contest when he turns into a decent scoring threat.
Notre Dame is on a little losing run of their own, but they should feel a little better about a five point loss to Oklahoma and a three point loss against UCLA…at least compared to their earlier loss to Radford. This is an absolutely huge game for both teams by mid-December standards. The Irish need a big non-conference win if they hope to make the NCAA Tournament and have a little leeway in ACC action. And Purdue is in a similar situation. The loser of this game will have a lot of work to do in conference play.