Purdue: Know Your Glendale Travel Companion

Yesterday we looked at UConn.  Today, the #5 seeded Purdue Boilermakers.

Purdue: 26-9

Boilers Opp
Points Per Minute
1.71 1.47
Points Per Possession (PPP)
1.06 0.91
Points Per Shot (PPS)
1.24 1.09
2-PT FG% 49.2% 41.7%
3-PT FG% 34.9% 32.8%
FT% 70.6% 67.2%
True Shooting % 54.2% 47.8%
Boilers Opp
Assists/Gm 15.0 12.3
Steals/Gm 7.2 5.3
Turnovers/Gm 11.6 14.9
Ball Control Index
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.92 1.18
Boilers Opp
Expected Offensive Rebounds/Gm 11.8 12.8
Offensive Rebounds/Gm 9.8 11.4
Difference -2.0 -1.4
  • Where PU's good: Forcing turnovers, forcing bad shots, defensive rebounds, passing, ball-handling
  • Where PU's not as good: Offensive rebounds, overall points per possession and free throw shooting are only decent but not great
Player AdjGS* GmSc/Min Line
JaJuan Johnson (6'10, 215, So.) 14.42 0.54 13.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.1 BPG, 1.3 TOPG
Robbie Hummel (6'8, 208, So.) 13.75 0.47 12.4 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.0 TOPG
E'Twaun Moore (6'3, 180, So.) 11.56 0.35 14.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.1 SPG, 2.6 TOPG
Chris Kramer (6'3, 205, Jr.) 7.71 0.28 5.2 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 2.5 APG, 2.1 SPG, 1.4 TOPG
Keaton Grant (6'4, 207, Jr.) 6.21 0.23 8.0 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.4 TOPG
Lewis Jackson (5'9, 165, Fr.) 5.34 0.23 5.8 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 3.3 APG, 2.0 TOPG
Marcus Green (6'4, 229, Sr.) 4.63 0.29 4.0 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 1.0 APG
Nemanja Calasan (6'9, 250, Sr.) 4.58 0.29 6.4 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 1.0 TOPG
Bobby Riddell (5'9, 163, Sr.) 2.23 0.32 2.3 PPG
Ryne Smith (6'3, 175, Fr.) 0.86 0.16 1.1 PPG
Mark Wohlford (6'0, 185, Jr.) 0.19 0.07 36 minutes
Chris Reid (6'9, 251, Sr.) -0.23 -0.11 30 minutes

* AdjGS = a take-off of the Game Score metric (definition here) accepted by a lot of basketball stat nerds.  It does the same thing my previous measure of choice did (it takes points, assists, rebounds (offensive & defensive), steals, blocks, turnovers and fouls into account to determine an individual's "score" for a given game), only the formula is more used and accepted.  The "adjustment" in Adjusted Game Score is simply matching the total game scores to the total points scored in the game, thereby redistributing the game's points scored to those who had the biggest impact on the game itself, instead of just how many balls a player put through a basket.

  • JaJuan Johnson is a much more physically dominant player than his weight would suggest.  He's a great shot-blocker and shooter, though I guess really his rebounding leaves a bit to be desired considering he's PU's #1 post man.
  • Robbie Hummel, on the other hand, rebounds particularly well considering how much time he spends on the offensive perimeter.  He's one of the team's best 3-point shooters and its best rebounder.  Interesting combination.  Purdue's three major seniors are their #7, #8 and #9 contributors.  They'll only be better next year.
  • One thing quickly jumps out, though, when comparing this roster to that of UConn: size.  Not a lot of it here...some height, but not a lot of weight.

What does Ken Pomeroy have to say?

You look at KenPom's stats, and you start to think the Purdue-UConn game is going to be about 63-58 one way or the other.  Like UConn, Purdue is a defense-first team.  They are a reasonable offensively efficient team--#57 in efficiency, #19 in turnover %, high assist-to-FG ratio--but they are in the Sweet Sixteen because of defense (and anybody who watched the last minute of Purdue-Washington can attest to that).  They are #5 in the country in defensive efficiency, #9 in Effective FG% allowed, #10 in 2pt% allowed, and #25 in block%.

What are Purdue's weaknesses?  They're only an average FT shooting team (#109), and they don't get to the line very much at all (#243).  A good passing team can pick them apart (#279 in Assist-to-FG ratio), and as you would guess from all the sophomores contributing for them, they are not high in the experience ratings (#189).  And as mentioned earlier, they just do not grab many offensive boards (#265).  It's rare for a team to be so great defensively and so finesse- and jumper-oriented offensively, but that's Purdue.

Keys to the Huskies-Boilers Game

  1. Purdue's offensive rebounds.  Purdue's offensive rebounding ability vs UConn's defensive rebounding ability is the single biggest statistical contrast in this game.  UConn has an extreme advantage here, and the Boilers will either have to get very hot shooting the ball, or they're going to have to find some way to grab some second-chance opportunities.

  2. The hot hand.  Points will be at a premium in this game, and neither team has a true go-to scorer--Purdue and UConn both have three guys averaging double digits, and the leading scorer seems to change from game to game.  If somebody gets hot, especially from 3-point land (away from the blocked shots in the paint), one nice spurt of scoring could create the necessary distance between the two teams.  Will that hot hand be AJ Price?  E'Twaun Moore?

  3. Size vs Speed.  UConn's a really big team, Purdue not so much.  They both play very well defensively, but can Purdue compensate for such a disparity in, um, girth?  Hasheem Thabeet (7'3, 265) and Jeff Adrien (6'7, 243) will win any battle of size and muscle over JaJuan Johnson (6'10, 215) and Robbie Hummel (6'8, 208).

    However, Johnson and Hummel will have a significant advantage in terms of speed and range.  Johnson has decent shooting range, and Hummel actually seems to prefer the perimeter by far, having made the second-most 3-pointers on Purdue's roster.  The winner of this mini 2-on-2 battle will probably win the game.  If Purdue's skinny bigs can draw UConn's away from the paint, Purdue's options double or triple.  If not, then Purdue's going to have to sink a ton of 3-pointers to win this game.

Prediction

Nevermind how well UConn played the first weekend of the tournament.  It's ancient history.  What clearly resides in the present tense, however, is that Purdue has much less margin for error in this game.  UConn will likely dominate the glass on Purdue's side of the court, so Purdue either finds a hot shooter or loses.  Hummel or Moore or maybe Keaton Grant can take a lot of pressure off of JaJuan Johnson if they can make some 3-pointers and open up the court a bit, but in the end I just don't think Purdue matches up well.  Purdue's strengths are UConn's strengths, only the Huskies seem just a bit better in every category.  This will be a halfcourt dogfight, but I expect UConn to end up advancing.   UConn 69, Purdue 62.

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