Standard Success

The regular
season has come to an end in the college basketball season and Purdue
will be the two seed in the Big Ten Tournament after sharing another
regular season crown with Michigan State. Now there’s plenty of
basketball left to be played, so what’s the perspective for a
successful season for the Boilermakers?

It has been
well documented where every thought the Boilermakers were after the
6-5 start to the season and losses to good programs in
non-conference, finishing 23-8 and 16-4 in the Big Ten. No one saw a
Big Ten championship coming and a finish above the Michigan
Wolverines. Right now Purdue is slated to get a 3 seed in March
Madness and that should of course come with at least a Sweet 16
berth, but is that a successful season?

Carsen Edwards
was named a third team All-American and was of course named a
preseason Player of the Year Candidate and finished with almost 23.5
points per game, but he has struggled to be efficient to end the
regular season. Can he lead the Boilermakers in to a region finals
and beyond?

At the
beginning of the season if Edwards wasn’t scoring you’d expect Purdue
to be losing, but the kids have grown up in the black and gold. But
for success in March your star has to play like a star. Purdue will
play the winner of Minnesota and Penn State on Friday and has what
looks like an impending meeting with Michigan on Saturday. That is of
course where the minimum success should be and will be a good
measuring stick for what the Boilers want to do in the brackets. The
Wolverines smacked Purdue early in conference play but this is
entirely different team, so it’s a rematch everyone is looking
forward to. The Wolverines and Spartans are Final 4 contenders, so
where does Purdue stack up?

Regular berths
as one of the 16 best teams each year isn’t a terrible thing, but for
Matt Painter’s squad those top 16 finishes have been disappointing to
say the least. Let’s be honest for the potential Coach of the Year,
injuries have played a big part, but it is tough to watch teams like
Loyola, Nevada and even Tennessee make those runs. Look at where the
Volunteers have gotten to using their run from last March, and that’s
without any big recruiting classes.

Now there are
rumors that UCLA is sniffing around Painter, a really unfamiliar
territory for Boiler faithful, and of course the ‘Fire Painter’
bandwagon is indifferent about it. Hell there were people saying that
Jeff Brohm hasn’t been worth the money and there has never been a
more joke statement made about Purdue Athletics. The truth is this
year is definitely one of Painter’s best coaching performances, if
not his best. He has evolved and really built a good team that lost
four senior starters and still won the Big Ten championship, but when
does the breakthrough come?

Purdue doesn’t
recruit as well as Indiana and Painter doesn’t coach as well as Izzo
and Beilein but the black and gold has been consistent over the last
five year. When is Painter’s one breakthrough that can alter the
program? Getting Biggie Swanigan was huge, but if you’re being honest
two Sweet 16 berths with the 5* recruit was falling short. That
leaves that little bit of a gap still between Michigan and Michigan
State but Matt Painter still won a share of the regular season title,
so close the gap in March.

At the
beginning of the season a share of the regular season title and a
Sweet 16 berth would have been a huge success for a season that was a
rebuilding one. The kids are and will get more great experience, but
when you’ve got stars you have to win. In all reality this will be
Edwards last season in West Lafayette but, unlike Biggie, can he
leave something more behind? Can Purdue surprise and Coach of the
Year candidate Matt Painter take Purdue another step forward? Can it
be an outstanding success instead of a standard successful one?