Good wins: vs. West Virginia, vs. Wake Forest, vs. Wisconsin, vs. Tennessee (neutral), at Purdue, at Illinois, at Michigan State.
Bad losses: None
Experience: The core of Purdue’s team (Robbie Hummel, E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson) has been together for three years. When the three were freshmen, Purdue came out of nowhere and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament as a six seed. Last year, the Boilermakers were seeded fifth, advancing to the Sweet 16. This year, Moore and Johnson are hungry to advance even further in the tournament, but will have to do so without Hummel (torn ACL).
Quality wins: Purdue’s resume includes five wins against the RPI Top 25, including a win on a neutral court against Tennessee and a road win at Michigan State. The Boilermakers also won at a rapidly-improving Illinois team. These quality wins, especially away from home, bode well for their NCAA Tournament chances.
Offensive efficiency: The Boilermakers are a well-balanced team. They rank second in the Big Ten in scoring–averaging 75 points per game–and shoot 74.2 percent at the free-throw line, which leads the Big Ten.
Lack of a true point guard: As balanced as the Boilermakers are, they lack a true point guard who can penetrate and break down a defense. Chris Kraemer is the team’s unofficial point guard, but he averages just 2.7 assists per game. Purdue also only averages 14.7 assists per game, which ranks them in the middle of the Big Ten.
The Boilermakers are still in a position to contend for the Big Ten Tournament title and get a No. 2 or 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. With their strong resume, they will be in prime position to get a top seed.
Elite 8: Without a true point guard and without Hummel, anything past the Elite 8 would be a stretch. This team has experience, a go-to player and scorer in Moore, and discipline on both sides of the ball. Anything less than an Elite 8 appearance would be a disappointment. Factors determining how far the Boilermakers go include whether Johnson can stay out of foul trouble and Moore’s shooting.