2016 NCAA Tournament Preview: Purdue Boilermakers

Purdue fell to Cincinnati in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last year, but this group has been ranked all season is looking to make the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2010. Here's everything you need to know about the Boilermakers:

Record – 26-7 (12-6 in Big Ten)
RPI – 14
Strength of Schedule – 45

Starting Lineup:
G P.J. Thompson (So.) – 5.8 ppg, 2.7 apg
G Raphael Davis (Sr.) – 8.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg
F Vince Edwards (So.) – 10.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg
F Caleb Swanigan (Fr.) – 10.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg
C A.J. Hammons (Sr.) – 15.1 ppg, 7.9 rpg

Key Player:
A.J. Hammons

Hammons is perhaps the most polished post players in the country, sporting a plethora of post moves that is rare to see in the NBA, let alone at the college level. However, he has struggled with consistency and aggressiveness this season - which is a problem considering how vital he is to Purdue’s success. The Boilermakers are 16-1 when he scores over 15 points, compared to just 8-6 when he doesn’t.

Biggest Strength:

As basketball continues to move towards small-ball, the Boilermakers are one of the few teams that have decided they want to stay big. They have three seven-footers on their team (Hammons, Swanigan, and Isaac Hayes), all of whom average at least 10 points per game. With all that size and skill on the inside, it’s no surprise that head coach Matt Painter wants his offense to work from the inside out instead of outside in.

Biggest Weakness:
Guard play

For as good as Purdue is on the inside, they are equally as shaky and inconsistent on the perimeter. Davis is the only guard that averages over 22 minutes per game and more than 6.1 points, showing how unreliable Purdue’s backcourt is.

Purdue’s size will give teams a lot of problems, but guard play is usually crucial to a team’s success in the NCAA Tournament. The Boilermakers may win their first round due to the advantage they'll have on the inside, but poor guard play will keep them from making the Sweet 16.

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Related Topics: College Basketball, NCAA Basketball, NCAA Tournament, Purdue Boilermakers Basketball, Big Ten Basketball, A.J. Hammons