CHICAGO -- Even without standout guard Carsen Edwards, several major preseason basketball publications project Purdue to finish in the top third of the Big Ten in 2019-20.
The same can’t be said for Indiana.
Athlon Magazine picked Purdue to finish fourth in the conference and Indiana to finish ninth in its college basketball preview, while Lindy’s Sports College Basketball Preview has Purdue finishing fourth and Indiana finishing 10th.
The Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook picked Purdue to finish third in the Big Ten and Indiana 10th.
Here’s what all three magazines had to stay about both programs:
On Purdue: Purdue will have a dramatically different feel this season. Instead of a star-dependent offense juggernaut, the Boilers should be a more well-rounded team that leans on defense. Matt Haarms and Nojel Eastern will anchor the defense and should be in contention for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors at the end of the season. If they are, Purdue will be in line for some team awards as well.
On Indiana: Although Indiana will miss Juwan Morgan and Romeo Langford, the Hoosiers won’t miss their perimeter shooting. They were two of the worst 3-point shooters in the Big Ten (28.2 percent combined), yet combined to take 213 attempts. For this team to end its NCAA Tournament drought, Davonte Green must mature into the consistent force of his last three weeks, with Rob Phinisee building on the potential he showed in November and December. But without improved shooting, this is a bubble team.
On Purdue: It’s a good feeling when you’re a coach and can envision every scholarship player providing something positive to the cause. “I really like our pieces,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “I think we can be a very good defensive team. And I think we will have a lot of skill.”
On Indiana: The Hoosiers certainly have the pieces to not only create more of a balanced attack than they did last season but to put the disappointments of a year ago behind them. Head coach Archie Miller, who is looking to post a winning record in the Big Ten for the first time since he arrived, puts as much emphasis on the proper mindset for himself as he does his players.
On Purdue: Between the departures of Carsen Edwards, Ryan Cline and Grady Eifert, Purdue lost 281 of the 365 3-pointers it made last season. There’s no way the Boilers will be able to make up that much perimeter firepower, but they’ll have a more balanced attack as Trevion Williams and others accept bigger roles. Michigan State stacks up as the Big Ten’s best, but Purdue is Purdue and will be in the race until the end.
On Indiana: There’s enough depth, talent and physicality in the frontcourt for the Hoosiers to bang with Big Ten teams most nights. Guard play remains a question. Can point guard Rob Phinisee build off his freshman year and can senior guard Devonte Green fill a scoring role while playing more disciplined, the way head coach Archie Miller wants him to play? Staying healthy will be important. So will the mental toughness of not allowing an eventual Big Ten loss to turn into a five- or six-game losing streak. If Indiana can stay the course during the Big Ten grind, it has the pieces in place to return to the NCAA tournament.