After one other embarrassing ouster, is Purdue overdue for a philosophical shift?
School Soccer and School Basketball Author
COLUMBUS, Ohio — On the eve of what grew to become the worst night time of Matt Painter’s profession, the Purdue head coach met with the media for a pregame information convention on Thursday afternoon. The opening query got here from a reporter who primarily covers Ohio State, and he requested Painter about navigating the ups and downs, about how tough it’s to stay steadfast with core beliefs when a season — or seasons — start to spiral. It felt like the author needed some perspective with which to border Chris Holtmann’s disappointing 12 months with the Buckeyes.
The ever-gracious Painter, who endured back-to-back dropping seasons in 2012-13 and 2013-14, launched right into a soliloquy concerning the significance of figuring out “winning ways” when establishing a roster. A workforce can by no means have sufficient gamers or coaches who care about successful, Painter stated, and that is why the Boilermakers have chased productiveness over expertise on the recruiting path. He sometimes favors the prospects who appear to be they will mix with Purdue’s tradition.
“Your own personal convictions about how a game should be played or how a program should be run has nothing to do with an opponent,” Painter stated that day, “has nothing to do with style or anything of that nature.”
Although he did not understand it on the time, Painter would return to the dais the next night mired in precisely the philosophical quandary he’d been requested to explain. His Boilermakers, seeded No. 1 within the South Area, grew to become simply the second workforce within the historical past of the NCAA Event to lose to a 16-seed within the opening spherical. A 63-58 defeat to Fairleigh Dickinson — the nontraditional, non-champions of the Northeast Convention — slapped Painter with a 3rd consecutive loss to a double-digit seed that opened his program to seething criticism of its repeated failures towards lower-level opposition.
Friday’s stumble towards Fairleigh Dickinson was preceded by an embarrassing slipup to Fifteenth-seeded Saint Peter’s in 2022, which was preempted by a stunning time beyond regulation collapse towards Thirteenth-seeded North Texas in 2021. 5 of Purdue’s final 10 NCAA Event appearances have been reduce quick by groups seeded eleventh or increased. An 11-seed, 12-seed, 13-seed, 15-seed and 16-seed all bested the Boilermakers since 2011.
“It’s hard,” Painter stated after dropping to FDU. “It’s a really hard thing. We worked very hard and have done things the right way in our program. And I think six straight years we’ve been a top-five seed. And that’s all you try to do. You just try to fight to get in the best position possible. And now we get in the best position possible and this happens. And obviously it hurts. It hurts bad.”
[How Fairleigh Dickinson toppled Purdue with a perfect game plan and ‘a chip on our shoulder’]
Few coaches throughout the nation, if any, are extra broadly revered and extra universally favored than Painter, who has received 68% of his video games since taking up for the legendary Gene Keady in 2005. Painter’s colleague at Michigan State, Tom Izzo, described him because the “new breed” in school basketball throughout a information convention on Saturday, the day after Purdue was felled by Fairleigh Dickinson, and stated the 52-year-old has achieved “an incredible job” by successful 4 Huge Ten regular-season titles, two Huge Ten Event titles and receiving the league’s Coach of the 12 months award 4 instances within the span of 15 years. The 2022-23 marketing campaign marked the primary time Painter captured each the regular-season and event title in the identical season.
However Painter’s extended infatuation with constructing his groups round low-post scorers calls into query whether or not he is really placing Purdue within the “best position possible” throughout an period of school basketball when high-level guard play is certainly extra worthwhile — particularly within the postseason.
On a macro degree, the Huge Ten’s obsession with deploying conventional facilities is among the many causes the convention has didn’t win a nationwide title since Michigan State reduce down the nets in 2000, and it is price noting the 6-foot-7 small ahead Morris Peterson (16.8 factors per recreation) led Izzo’s workforce in scoring. Counting that assortment of Spartans, there have been 16 Huge Ten groups to achieve the Remaining 4 over the past 23 years. The one ones anchored by facilities had been Indiana with Jared Jeffries in 2002 (6-feet-11; 15 level per recreation), Ohio State with Greg Oden in 2007 (7-feet; 15.7 factors per recreation), Ohio State with Jared Sullinger in 2012 (6-feet-9; 17.5 factors per recreation), and back-to-back Wisconsin squads that includes Frank Kaminsky in 2014-15 (7-feet; 18.8 factors per recreation). The common peak for each main scorer who guided a Huge Ten faculty to the Remaining 4 was 6-feet-6 throughout that span.
And on a broader scale, simply two of the final 13 nationwide champions have leaned on a middle as their main scorer:
— The primary was a 2011-12 Kentucky squad that surrounded freshman Anthony Davis (14.2 factors, 10.4 rebounds per recreation) with six further gamers who went on to spend time within the NBA: Doron Lamb (13.7 factors), Terrence Jones (12.3 factors), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (11.9 factors), Marquis Teague (10 factors), Darius Miller (9.9 factors) and Kyle Wiltjer (5 factors).
— The second was a 2014-15 Duke workforce that flanked freshman Jahlil Okafor (17.3 factors, 8.5 rebounds per recreation) with a supporting forged that contained seven future NBA gamers: Quinn Cook dinner (15.3 factors), Justise Winslow (12.6 factors), Tyus Jones (11.8 factors), Amile Jefferson (6.1 factors), Grayson Allen (4.4 factors), Semi Ojeleye (3 factors) and Marshall Plumlee (2.2 factors).
On a micro degree, Purdue’s manufacturing line of high-level facilities underneath Painter coincides with this system’s crippling run of upset losses. 4 of Painter’s 5 defeats towards double-digit seeds had been suffered by rosters whose major scorers had been old-school large males:
— His 2011 workforce that misplaced to No. 11 VCU was led by the 6-foot-10 JaJuan Johnson with 20.5 factors and eight.6 rebounds per recreation.
— His 2016 workforce that misplaced to No. 12 Little Rock was led by the 7-foot A.J. Hammons with 15 factors and eight.2 rebounds per recreation.
— His 2021 workforce that misplaced to No. 13 North Texas was led by the 6-foot-10 Trevion Williams with 15.5 factors and 9.1 rebounds per recreation.
— His 2022 workforce that misplaced to No. 15 Saint Peter’s was led by the 6-foot-4 level guard Jaden Ivey with 17.3 factors and 4.9 rebounds per recreation. Zach Edey was second in scoring at 14.4 factors per recreation.
— His 2023 workforce that misplaced to No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson was led by the 7-foot-4 Edey with 22.3 factors and 12.9 rebounds per recreation.
[Purdue’s locker room whiteboard takes punishment after loss to Fairleigh Dickinson]
The newest stunner towards FDU was by far essentially the most puzzling, essentially the most weird, essentially the most inexplicable for a workforce that received 29 video games and was the category of a league that obtained eight NCAA Event bids. Edey had scored 21 factors and grabbed 15 rebounds towards an undersized opponent whose beginning heart — if Ansley Almonor may be referred to as that — was a mere 6-feet-6. And with the sport teetering within the waning moments, swarms of Fairleigh Dickinson defenders collapsed towards the purpose to disrupt or deflect practically each entry cross the Boilermakers lobbed in Edey’s course.
Falling to a 16-seed supplied the harshest reminder that common season wins do not equate to postseason outcomes. Touchdown on the incorrect facet of historical past might be impetus sufficient for Painter to reassess.
“We haven’t been in this position as a 1-seed in a long time,” Painter stated, “and we get here and we don’t take advantage of that opportunity. But they’re good guys. They work hard. It stings. You can get a lot of different people looking at it a lot of different ways, but when you’re the one playing and coaching and you invested the time, it’s really hard to take.
“However like I stated, we are the ones which have to sit down in it. We are the ones that hopefully must be higher due to it.”
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