Purdue basketball is my most favorite thing in the world.  When I was a young basketball player defense was my game.I could stop anybody I was put on and had fun doing it. I personally relate to Purdue’s style. I could also shoot pretty well, something Purdue seems to be struggling with lately but defense is Purdue’s identity.  That’s what Purdue basketball is known for, solid pressure D.

This year was supposed to be the Boilermakers year. I thought they were under ranked with their preseason ranking before Hummel re-tore his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and I was for sure Purdue was going to win the National Championship.  But, that’s the great thing about Purdue basketball.  Once Hummel went down everybody dropped Purdue from their list of teams that could make a final four run in March 2011.  However, Purdue fans still knew they had a chance.  Matt Painter coaches team basketball and it shows. Purdue is currently ranked 17th in assists averaging 17.7 assists/game.

We also still have JaJuan Johnson and E’twaun Moore.  It’s no lie to Boiler nation that the Boilermakers are better with Hummel but not down and out! Both Johnson and Moore are averaging over 19 points/game.  Two scorers averaging almost 20 points a game? that’s not too bad at all.  All they need is a little bit of a supporting cast right? So far, that’s been Purdue’s biggest problem.  We haven’t had somebody step up consistently and show that they’re the go to guy when Moore and Johnson are being held in check.  Sure, Hart and Barlow have shown signs of being that guy but neither have stepped up every game thus far.  And then you have Terone Johnson, our own little diaper dandy.  With more experience he’ll be a great player but he’s no Josh Selby from Kansas.  He’s not going to be able to win us a ball game single handedly. I don’t think he quite has the composure just yet to do something like that.

Now, I’m not saying that Purdue is going to crash and burn because they don’t have that 3rd role scorer.  There’s still time. Like I’ve said, Hart and Barlow have shown glimmers of hope and Terone is going to be great and is a very good option as a scorer now.  The two guys that we really need to step up and make buckets this season are our outside shooters; D.J. Byrd and Ryne Smith.  They need to pick it up and start shooting consistently to take some pressure off Johnson inside and by shooting well from the outside the defense will have to step out and guard and won’t be able to pack the lane.  In turn this will open up more space for Moore to beat his man off the dribble and open up cutting lanes.

Purdue’s success solely relies on their ability to play solid defense (which I know they will) and on Byrd’s and Smith’s consistency from the outside.  Smith showed great potential and guts in the conference opener against Michigan scoring 17 to go along with Johnson’s 22 and Moore’s 20.  If Smith can continue to produce like this I look forward to Purdue putting up big numbers and becoming a favorite to win the Big 10 and to make a run to the final four in March!

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