Here we are. We have finally reached the top five.
In last March’s NCAA Tournament Matt Painter’s Purdue Boilermakers got a tough matchup against North Texas that they ended up losing. But they won 11 of their last 14 games last season and they get almost everyone back. This year’s Boilermakers squad has a lot of competition this season being in a loaded Big Ten, but they look like the best of that conference and could be poised to finally break through and make it to the Final Four for the first time since 1980.
You can read about the #6 Villanova Wildcats right here.
The Purdue Boilermakers
Matt Painter has a pair of dominant big men. The two of them together are one of the best frontcourt duos in the country. Trevion Williams has gotten better each year he has been in West Lafayette. It has gotten to where the senior is one of the best and most consistent players in the Big Ten. Williams was fourth in the conference in field goal percentage and ninth in scoring average last season. He was close to averaging a double-double in points and rebounds. Expect the 7-foot-4 Zach Edey to have a breakout season. At the FIBA U19 World Cup in Latvia, the Ontario native averaged 15.1 points and 14.1 rebounds per game across seven games.
One of the best returning players in the country in terms of NBA Draft prospects is Jaden Ivey. He averaged 14.8 points per game in the twelve starts he made, averaging 11.1 PPG overall. Like Edey, Ivey was very good at the World Cup in Latvia too. All the other starters are also back. Sasha Stefanovic shot 40% from three-point range last season. Eric Hunter Jr. and Brandon Newman are also back. Mason Gillis is back too. But he is suspended for the first four games of this season. Roleplayer Isaiah Thompson returns as well.
What is interesting to me in the recruiting class. It is a solid one. 38th overall, 8th in the Big Ten. Contains two top 70 recruits. The interesting thing to me though is that these two guys are the fourth and sixth highest-rated recruits Purdue has ever brought in. Take a second to think about how successful they have been in recent years. It is interesting to think about. But now to the players themselves. They are both four-star power forwards. They are also both the best two players coming out of Indiana in this year’s class. But they are both different players. Trey Kaufman-Renn is the better of the two and has drawn comparisons to Kyle Kuzma. He is a good three-point shooter and passer. Caleb Furst is the other one. He is an instinctive rebounder and is a big double-double threat.
You can see how good the Purdue Boilermakers are looking coming into this season. They can definitely win the Big Ten. But they can also compete for and even win the national championship if they play well enough.
C – #15 Zach Edey (8.7 PPG/ 4.4 RPG/ 1.1 BPG)
PF – #50 Trevion Williams (15.5 PPG/ 9.1 RPG/ 2.3 APG)
SG – #55 Sasha Stefanovic (9.3 PPG/ 2.6 RPG/ 2.6 APG)
SG – #23 Jaden Ivey (11.1 PPG/ 3.3 RPG/ 1.9 APG)
PG – #2 Eric Hunter Jr. (8.5 PPG/ 2.2 RPG/ 2.8 APG/ 1.1 SPG)
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