After a brutal loss on the road in Champaign to Illinois, Purdue had plenty of questions surrounding its team. The Boilermakers were off to a disappointing 2-2 start with two excruciating losses. This team answered with two wins in a row to get themselves back on track.
Many people are going to say that we learned very little about this Purdue team in its two most recent wins. Penn State and Rutgers are two of the worst teams in the Big Ten. Fans of the Boilers expected this team to win those two games handily and they did just that. Although, there are a couple of things we can take from these victories.
Purdue got their defense back
Neither Penn State or Rutgers is a juggernaut offensively. In fact, Rutgers is one of the worst Big Ten teams I’ve ever seen but the Boilers did look solid on the defensive end of the floor against both of these teams. The Boilermakers held both of these teams to 57 points. Purdue held Rutgers to under 40% shooting from the field and they out rebounded both teams by a combined 57 rebounds. Both of these games were over by the end of the first half and the reason for this is…
The Boilers played with energy
Purdue came out completely flat against Illinois. Maybe it was the awkward Sunday evening game or that the team just overlooked a down Illinois team but Purdue did not come out ready to play. The intensity never reached the level it needs to be on the road in the Big Ten and Illinois took advantage. The Boilermakers looked sluggish on the road in Champaign but they came out with much more intensity against Penn State and Rutgers. They led the Nittany Lions by 13 at the half and they led the Scarlet Knights by 33 at the half of their game. Both of these games were over by halftime. Purdue won both of these games easily and they should have but in order to win in the fashion they did they had to play with intensity.
Purdue took care of business
These two games turned out to be business as usual. Purdue was heavily favored in both games. Purdue has more talent than both Penn State and Rutgers. The Boilers have more depth than these two teams. They have more size than these two teams. Everything pointed to the Boilermakers winning these games with ease and the Boilers did just that. Teams can gain confidence from winning games they know they are supposed to win in the fashion Purdue won these games. In order to compete for a Big Ten championship, teams have to take care of lesser opponents and the Boilers did just that over the last week.
The schedule gets much tougher with a real test coming Sunday afternoon when Purdue heads to Iowa City to take on the Hawkeyes for the second time this season. Hopefully the Boilers can build on these two wins and avenge an earlier loss to Iowa. The last two victories might not have proved much about these Boilermakers but it has put them in a good position at this point in the season.