What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
Today’s Take: The title says it all.
For those of you who may need re-enforcement on this point, I’ll say it again. Matt Painter is the most over-rated coach in college basketball. Do you know who doesn’t need that point clarified? The legions of Purdue fans who woke up Saturday morning wondering just what the fuck happened in Philadelphia Friday night.
I’m not a Purdue fan, nor am I an alum. But I’m married to one, and I live in the heart of Boiler country. That’s how I can tell you that question is being asked en masse this morning…along with several others…the answers to which all share a common thread.
What happened? Matt Painter happened…again.
There’s plenty to unpack here, so let’s start with recent tournament history. One of the things the people who like to blow Painter’s horn point to is this consecutive streak of NCAA tournament appearances. But look at what happens when they get there:
Two things jump out at me here. The first is in the last eight years, Painter’s Purdue has lost to a double-digit seed three times. No Boilermaker basketball fan should look at that and not see at least one gigantic red flag.
To me, the more concerning observation is that Purdue can’t seem to put teams away they should be beating comfortably. Going to overtime in an #8-#9 match-up is perfectly understandable. Getting taken to overtime twice in the first round by double-digit seeds is concerning. Losing both of those games is a problem. Repeating all the things in Friday night’s loss that cost Purdue those two overtime games borders on the unforgivable.
How does that keep happening? Matt Painter keeps happening. Boilermaker basketball has a coaching problem, and either nobody wants to recognize it…or they don’t want to deal with it. That’s why there’s that old saying about how the truth hurts.
The loss to St. Peter’s revisited so many recurring themes for Purdue basketball under Painter.
1) Sloppy, undisciplined play. Pick any loss on that list you like, and compare it to Friday night. One thing you’ll notice is turnovers. The turnover ratio Friday night ran 15-8 in favor of St. Peter’s, who did a nice job of converting those freebie possessions into points. Extra scoring chances can easily create a three-point victory, especially when you look at this shot chart. That brings us to…
2) Bad game planning. The dead give-away is the scoring in “the paint” by Purdue. That area should be a solid mass of solid yellow when you have 7’4″ future NBA player stacked up against a collection of 6’5″ criminal justice majors. But it isn’t because Painter’s team spent the game running around like chickens with their heads cut off. They let St. Peter’s control the pace of the game when they should have been slowing the game down and setting up their big men for a never-ending supply of never-ending two-foot field goals. Instead, Purdue’s inside game featured far too many off-balance bad shots despite how close they were.
But what’s really telling is how many shots St.Peter’s missed inside and still won this game. The only reason they got that many close looks is Purdue simply refused to press it’s size advantage under the glass. How else did St. Peter’s double-up on Purdue in blocked shots (4-2)?
3) A lack of in-game adjustment. I’m a firm believer that in a close basketball game, the score doesn’t mean anything until the last five minutes. But having seen as much Boiler basketball as I have in the last decade-plus of living in Purdue country, I knew Painter’s team was in trouble mid-1st half when St. Peter’s substituted all five of their players, and with fresh legs picked up the pace of the game to go on a lead-taking run.
Painter did nothing…and I knew this would fit this recurring theme. I wasn’t wrong.
But it would get worse. Later, St. Peter’s figured out they could get a solid uncontested 12-to-15 footers from the wing when they needed them. Those three shots could be the difference in this ball game, and again…Fredo Painter got that signature “What just happened?” look on his face and fumbled the oranges into in the gutter while his team bled out.
Those three themes boil down to one thing; it’s time for Boiler Nation to come to terms with reality. You can sing me all the songs you want about his regular season coaching record, B1G Ten titles, or number of NCAA tournament appearances, but that’s all a lot of winning “Miss Congeniality.” The fact is Purdue calls itself a “basketball school” despite the fact it hasn’t seen a Final Four since the Carter administration. That’s not changing anytime soon because Matt Painter is the definition of mediocrity, which is exactly where Boilermaker basketball will remain as long as he is the head coach.
Change my mind.
You can see more of my not-so-popular opinions here.