Purdue has also met the following criteria to have the best shot of winning the National Championship:

  1. Have a 10 game win streak at some point during the season
  2. Average double digit margin of victory (MoV) wins
  3. ranked in the preseason top 10

Purdue preseason rank: 8

Purdue MoV: 17.88

Purdue Record: 25-5 (14-3 Big Ten)

Purdue RPI: 6

The Boilermakers are a very intriguing team. They are arguably the hottest team as of right now and have put together quite an impressive season.  After losing Robbie Hummel there were a lot of questions as to how the Boilers would respond. Are they going to pack it up and wait til next year when Robbie’s back? Who is going to be their third scorer? Those are just a couple questions many fans and experts had.

I’ll admit that I did not expect Purdue to play as well as they have of late.  I predicted earlier that Purdue would win the Big Ten, I was close but I have to say my heart wasn’t 100% confident in that prediction.  But Matt Painter and his crew has stepped up to the plate and have answered most of the questions we all had.

However, one question still remains for me.  Who is the third go to guy?  Throughout the season different key players have risen to the occasion and helped propel Purdue to a victory.  DJ Byrd had an amazing game at Wisconsin, but the Boilers barely fell short.  Ryne Smith has continued to knock down threes shooting .448% from behind the arc.  Lewis Jackson, who I used to get nervous about when he was handling the ball, has come up big in multiple games.  Not only as a scorer but as a team leader.  Terone Johnson has done some great things as well with his solid defense and streaky 3 point shooting.  Two guys I think everyone should keep an eye out for in the tournament are John Hart and Kelsey Barlow.  Barlow has the ability to lock down any offensive great and hold them scoreless.  The kid can also jump and has a very quick first step.  If he can get close to the hoop you know he can throw it down.  But, sometimes he can play lackadaisically and doesn’t have much of a jump shot (at least he hasn’t shown it yet if he does).  John Hart is that player that comes form nowhere and hits big shots.  My dad knows a lot about basketball and really likes this kid.  He knows talent when he sees it. I think Purdue’s lack of a solid 3rd scorer is actually a good thing, as long as everyone keeps taking turns stepping up and helping out Moore and Johnson

E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson after their Senior Night Win over the Illinois Fighting Illini

Unsurprisingly the Boilermakers success lies in the Hands of the two senior superstars, E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson.  JaJuan Johnson is averaging 20.5 ppg and 8.0 rpg.  Johnson’s ability to knock down any shot from every spot on the floor makes him literally impossible to stop.  Not only is his presence felt on the offensive end of the floor.  JaJuan is also averaging 2.4 blocks/game.  Including a 7 block game against Michigan State on February 27th.  In that game he also scored 20 points and had 17 rebounds!  I think Johnson should win the Big Ten Player of the Year and should be considered for the National player of the Year.

E’Twaun Moore on more than one occasion has shown his ability to put the ball in the bucket in pressure situations.  He has also shown that he can take over a game and pretty much win it single handedly.  He did so in 38 point performance against then #3 Ohio State.  I think Moore is catching his stride and at a very good time.  We need him to stay hot and help his buddy Johnson lead the Boilers to a hopeful Final Four run.

Before the season started when Robbie Hummel was still healthy everyone had Purdue making the Final Four and a possible championship appearance.  I would like to take a second to recognize Matt Painter’s efforts this season.  He took a team that was demoralized when their star player went down for the season and led them to a 25-5 record and a possible repeat of co-conference champs (need a win against Iowa and Wisconsin to beat Ohio State this weekend) and thoughts of a possibly still making a Final Four run.  I think Matt Painter should also be recognized for consideration for Big Ten and National Coach of the Year.  During a brief conversation with my dad last night he pointed out that Purdue, with the likes of the two senior superstars/supporting cast/and Matt Painter, still have a “legitimate” shot at winning the National Title.  As I said earlier, I’m not sure I agree with my dad and Jay Williams who think they have a shot to win it all.  However, I hope they’re right and I have confidence that Purdue will make it to the Final Four!

And this is for all you Purdue fans out there that still back your team 100% and still have hope! Enjoy! (thanks dad)

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