What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
Purdue fans everywhere are arising this morning and wondering just what the fuck happened yesterday. The answer isn’t terribly complicated. Under athletic director Morgan Burke, Purdue sports is little more than an exercise in the elevation of mediocrity. I could go on for days on that subject when it comes to Boilermaker football. But this is March, and Purdue loves to call itself a basketball school. With the sole exception of Indiana, nobody has as many B1G Ten conference titles than the Boilermakers, but they also have precious little NCAA tournament success to show for it.
Yesterday’s debacle at the hands of Arkansas-Little Rock is just the icing on the cake of disappointment that is Matt Painter’s career as the Boilers basketball coach.
Come to terms with it, Purdue fans. Matt Painter is a shitty “big-game” coach. I understand that Matt Painter is the hand-picked successor to the guy who name is on your goddamned court. But how long does that pass last? How many more “early exit” jobs does Painter get to pull in the Tournament?
While you are contemplating that, here’s five more questions I’d like somebody to ask Painter about how the heavily favored Boilermakers gagged it up against Arkansas-Little Rock. I won’t get to ask them, but I sure as hell have the answers.
Question #1: Coach Painter, is it fair to say Purdue’s overall sloppy performance is a reflection of your sloppy coaching approach?
Answer: Abso-fucking-lutely it is. It’s not only fair, it’s a fact. Sloppy coaches produce sloppy teams, and nothing defines “sloppy” better than a team which committed 18 turnovers. Those turnovers led to 25 Arkansas-Little Rock points. Not giving away the ball and not giving away cheap scoring opportunities are fundamental precepts of winning basketball. Painter doesn’t even understand that the Washington Generals can win if you give them 18 fucking turnovers.
Question #2: Why did you think “going conservative” was a good idea?
Answer: Because with three minutes to go and a 13-point lead, Painter thought there was no way he could lose that game. At that point mentally, he was already in the locker room giving his “Fuck yeah, we just won” speech and hoping CBS might see fit to pop a camera in to give little Matty his 15 seconds of national spotlight.
The problem was while he was so ensconced in that fantasy, he failed to notice the run Arkansas-Little Rock went on to end regulation time in a tie had already started. The UALR Trojans outscored the Boilermakers 21-7 in the games final minutes while Painter stood on the sidelines with his thumb up his ass. Remember those 18 turnovers I mentioned. 10 of them happened in the last five minutes of regulation. What did Painter do about it? Not a goddamn thing…he didn’t make one single adjustment to stop the bleeding.
In other words, it wasn’t a “decision” to “go conservative;” he really thought that game was over. By the time he checked back into reality, he’d already completed his “Nero” impression; he fiddled that game away while West Lafayette burned.
Question #3: Do you have an explanation for this shot chart?
Answer: This chart tells so many stories, I almost don’t know where to begin. Almost. It’s so telling that I want to pin it on the wall in front of Painter and scream “JUST WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS!” while I’m slamming my fist through it.
First, look at how much scoring Arkansas-Little Rock did in the paint. Other than a handful of deep three-pointers, the Trojans worked the ball inside. How could a team of 6’5″ swingmen with one gangly “big” pull that off against a team lauded for its braun?
Second, look at Purdue’s shot distribution. This team of “braun” shot a shitload of three-pointers and missed far too many of them. Many of them were bad shots taken after spending 20 seconds dribbling with out setting up a good shot. There were long stretches of this game in which Purdue looked as though they had no philosophy as how to win this game; as if they believed they could win simply by being bigger.
Here’s how this chart ties those two things together. For all the Little Rock scoring in the paint, notice the near complete absence of Purdue scoring in the fie-to-ten foot range outside the paint. All the coring in the paint on both sides is a function of Purdue center A.J. Hammons. His 16 points and 15 total rebounds were key to the Boiler effort. Vince Edwards and Dakota Mathias provided the bulk of the remainder of Purdue’s offense, with 24 and 12 points respectively.
But take a hard look at that chart. Did you notice the Boilermakers didn’t score a single point from the left side of the floor inside the free-throw line? That where uber-frosh Caleb Swanigan was supposed to do his damage, but offensively, he might as well have been on a milk carton. He collected 10 rebounds, but only six points in 23 minutes.
There’s one guy who could have solved both those problems, and Matt Painter saw fit to barely let him see the floor. I would love Matt Painter to tell me why sophomore center Isaac Haas only got 12 minutes of floor time in that game.
A.J Hammons is a seven-footer and a hell of a player, but Arkansas-Little Rock just beat him up with smaller players and double…at times even triple-teaming him. When Little Rock tried to triple-team Haas, he simply elevated and hit what is becoming his signature offensive move; that practically unstoppable five-foot baby hook.
But defensively, aside from about one “highlight reel” quality rejection per game, A.J. Hammons isn’t terribly gifted as a low-post defender. There isn’t a better rim-protector in the B1G Ten than Haas. It isn’t an accident that very little of Little Rock’s scoring in the paint occurred with Haas in the game. Had Painter give Haas more like 30 minutes, I’ll bet you Little Rock’s shot chart would have far more skewed to the perimeter, and Haas likely would have notched about 15 points off that baby hook move of his from the dead-zone Purdue created on the left side of the floor. But it is rather difficult to do those things when you are on the bench sipping an Aquafina.
That’s 100% on Matt Painter.
Question #4: Did you not notice Little Rock’s Josh Hagins?
Answer: I don’t know how Painter missed him because in Purdue’s tournament history, only three guys have scored more than 30 points against the Boilermakers, and I’m pretty fucking sure you’ve heard of two of them; Lew Alcindor (a.k.a Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and Isaiah Thomas. Hagin’s 31-point performance puts him on a fairly exclusive list. I understand the 3-ball he hit at the end of regulation to tie the game was a “Steph Curry” style shot. But I still can’t understand why the Boilers kept letting that guy dribble right down “Main Street” all day long.
This is another reason why I can’t understand why Isaac Haas wasn’t in the game. Let some of those guards drive the lane, and after they bounce off the floor a few times after running into that Easter Island statue in a number 44 jersey, they’ll get the message that “Main Street” is now closed. But for some unknown reason, Matt Painter left Haas to rot on the bench after he picked up a flagrant foul, which not only was a horseshit call, it was Haas’ only foul of the game. Let that sink in for a moment. Little Rock was killing Purdue by driving the lane, especially in that last four minutes and in overtime, and Painter’s best rim-defender is on the bench with FOUR FUCKING FOULS TO GIVE.
Again, that’s 100% on Matt Painter.
Obviously, that leads to my last question.
Question#5: Should you be fired?
Answer: Again; abso-fucking-lutely. But not just for this catastrophe. Like I’ve already said, this is just the icing on the Painter disappointment cake. His record speaks for itself; 11 seasons, one conference tournament title and one regular season title. That’s it. Indiana, the Boilers main rival, has won the B1G Ten twice in the last four years. Sure, you can point to his .64o winning percentage all you want, but nobody gives a shit about regular-season wins in December over Southern Illinois. He’s barely a .500 coach in the B1G Ten, and those plus tournament games are what matter. Purdue is (or should be) a “big-time” program and Painter is not now, nor will he ever be a “big game” coach. “Big game” coaches don’t get prison-fucked by the Little Rocks of the world.