Purdue Preview Capsule
Last season: 27-8; lost to Kansas in NCAA Tournament regional semifinals
Coach: Matt Painter.
Conference: Big Ten.
Who’s gone: F Caleb Swanigan, F Basil Smotherman, G Spike Albrecht.
Who’s back: F Vincent Edwards. The senior preseason all-conference selection might be the Boilermakers’ best overall player. He can shoot (48.6 percent), score (12.6), rebound (4.9) and defend. G Carsen Edwards. As a freshman, the other Edwards — no relation to Vincent — led Purdue in assists (133) and was tied for the team-high in steals (36). This year, he’ll be asked to increase his scoring average from 10.6 points. C Isaac Haas. The 7-foot-2 senior averaged 12.6 points and 5.0 rebounds in just 19.5 minutes last season. With Swanigan off to the NBA, Haas is likely to log more minutes if he stays out of foul trouble.
Who’s new: F Matt Haarms. The redshirt freshman used last season to try and add strength. Now the 7-foot-3 Dutch native could fill the role Haas had over the last couple of seasons off the bench. If the Boilermakers play Haas and Haarms together, they could have the biggest front line in the nation.
The Skinny: Yes, the defending Big Ten champs lost the conference player of the year (Swanigan). But they are hardly bereft of talent. Painter has four starters and six of his top seven scorers back. With size, versatility, tournament experience and a team that knows how to defend, look for the four seniors to keep the Boilermakers at or near the top of the conference standings.