Purdue’s Balance Makes Them Dangerous

4 Jan

Balance, it is what every coach strives for.  Whether it’s balanced scoring or balance on the offensive and defensive ends, balance is the ultimate goal.  The most balanced team and one of the most balanced teams in the country is Matt Painter’s Purdue Boilermakers.

Purdue currently sits at 20th in the country and is 12-3.  Their losses have been tight, a 3-point loss to Villanova, a 7-point loss at Louisville and an overtime loss to Minnesota on New Year’s Day.  When looking for balance one stat to look at would be scoring margin; that is the points a team scores vs. the points they give up.  The Boilermakers rank 9th in scoring margin at a +19.1. They score an average of 84.5 points and give up just 65.4.  But it’s not just scoring margin, they are balanced in a number of stats like field goal percentage where they shoot it at a clip of 49% and hold teams to just 40% that puts them at 21st and 62nd in those categories.  For a team that is so stingy defensively Purdue is also a very good rebounding team at 40.33 per game and 21st in the country in defensive rebounding at 29.2.

It is not just the team stats that are balanced.  The scoring is balanced as well with four and nearly five players averaging double figures led by sophomore big man Caleb Swanigan and his 18.5 points but there are a total of seven players averaging at least seven points, that’s balance.  When it comes to rebounding Swanigan is clearly the man with his 13, but it is the other guys that bang the glass that makes Purdue tough.  All eight of the other players that average double figure minutes also average at least two rebounds per game.  Painter’s squad is also balanced when it comes to sharing the ball, the 20.3 assists per game are 2nd best in the nation with five guys averaging at least two per game, led by Dakota Mathias’ 4.2.

The last thing that makes Purdue so balanced is its roster.  With only two seniors on the roster and only transfer Spike Albrecht seeing any measurable time the Boilermakers are getting contributions from every class.  As mentioned Swanigan is a sophomore and Mathias is a junior as are key contributors Isaac Haas (13.9 points, 5.2 rebounds) and Vince Edwards (12.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists).  The freshmen class is led by Carsen Edwards who has averaged 10.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists.

Coach Painter seems as though he has achieved, or in the process of achieving the elusive balanced team.  How far that balance will take them remains to be seen but it also makes them the Big Ten’s most dangerous team.

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