Will the Boilers be Dancing

It has been an
up and down season for the Purdue Boilermakers, look no further then
the absolute drubbing they handed to Iowa 104-68 against the #17
Hawkeyes. The Boilers were scorching from long range going 19-34 from
deep. Matt Painter’s squad scored 61 points in the first half, but
Purdue has been an entirely different team away from Mackey.

The win moves
Purdue to 13-10, 6-6 in the Big Ten and 8th in the
conference. CBS bracketology doesn’t have the Boilers in the field
and ESPN has Purdue as an 11th seed in the West in the
play-in game with Memphis. These latest projections were before the
Iowa game, but it’s likely Matt Painter’s squad needs to do some more
to solidify another March Madness appearance.

Coming in to
the Iowa game Purdue was 3-7 In Quad 1 games (top 30 at home, top 50
on a neutral court and top 75 on the road), 2-2 in Quad 2 (31-75 at
home, 51-100 neutral court and 76-135 away), 4-1 in Quad 3 (76-100,
101-200 and 136-240) and 3-0 in Quad 4. The Boilers put themselves
behind the eight ball in the non conference with the losses to Texas,
Marquette (receiving votes), Florida State (now 8) and Butler (now
19). Painter’s squad did beat VCU and crush Virginia but neither is
ranked this week.

Not fairing
better in non-conference hurt the Boilermakers with how tough the Big
Ten has been this season. It has been next to impossible to win on
the road in conference this season, but it has also meant plenty of
chances to improve the resume. However, Matt Painter’s team has been
up and down. Mackey has been kind to the black and gold, only losing
to Illinois and crushing #8 Michigan State (now 16) 71-42, but
they’ve lost to Nebraska, Rutgers, Michigan, Maryland and Illinois on
the road. Purdue’s only road Big Ten win at Northwestern. That won’t
cut it.

The
Boilermakers absolutely needed the Iowa win and did so in resounding
fashion, but have plenty of work to do if they want to see themselves
in the brackets in March. The 20 win mark has always been a de facto
check mark for the power conference teams and they have 13 wins with
8 regular season games left. Hopefully the hot shooting performance
tonight against the Hawkeyes can carry over.

What’s left on
the Purdue schedule is @IU, #22 Penn State, @OSU, @Wisky, Michigan,
IU, @Iowa and Rutgers. Indiana, Ohio State and Michigan are behind
Purdue in the current Big Ten standings but we’ve seen how tough it
has been for teams to win on the road. Painter can’t afford to lose a
home game which would be four more wins for 17, including another top
25 win, but the Boilers are going to have to steal some road games.

Indiana is a
big rivalry game this Saturday. The Hoosiers have lost their last
three, two against ranked teams, but have beaten OSU and MSU at home.
The Badgers really struggled to start the season but have bounced
back in conference play, beating Maryland, OSU and PSU. The Buckeyes
had a stretch where they lost 6 of 7 but have since won three in a
row, including the big one at Michigan.

None of the
road games will be a gimmie, and you can be sure the Hawkeyes will
want revenge after getting shot out of the gym tonight. However, IU,
OSU and Wisky have all had bad stretches. They’re as desperate as
Purdue are to try and lock up their own post season position. The fan
in me wants to say Purdue can run the table but that seems unlikely.
Going 6-2 would really go a long way to solidify their chances and
would vault them in to the top half of the Big Ten final standings.

The game
Saturday at IU will be a big tell for what will happen in the last
eight games. If Purdue wins they should be able to pull out 6 of
their last 8, but they’ve only beaten Northwestern on the road in
conference to this point. I’d pencil in at Iowa for a loss and I
think the Buckeyes defend home court, so can Painter defend Mackey,
sweep IU and beat the Badgers in Madison.

In the ESPN
brackets Wisconsin is an 8 seed, Penn State a 6 and Illinois a 7 in
the South bracket; Ohio State an 8 and Maryland a 3 in the East; Iowa
a 5, Michigan State a 3 and IU a 10 in Midwest; Michigan an 8,
Rutgers a 7 and Purdue an 11 in the West. 11 teams projected in is a
tough conference but means plenty of chances to improve the resume.

It’s a
transition year for the Boilermakers but the last few years Painter
has shown he can get his team to play their best ball late in the
season. Now’s the time for the coach to work some magic again and
hopefully the 104-68 win over the #17 team is something to build on
and not just another schizophrenic performance at home that’ll mean
nothing when the black and gold hit the road.