There is no team playing basketball at a higher level than Purdue.
I haven’t seen every team play, but I have seen Purdue play every time the Boilermakers have taken the court, and I cannot fathom anyone else playing with the same collective energy, focus, and precision.
Purdue is ranked second nationally behind Villanova by Ken Pomeroy and #1 by Jeff Sagarin, so proclaiming their excellence isn’t some outrageous click bait hot take out of left field. it’s not bold, but it is true.
Read through this list of milestones and stats from Purdue’s media relations folks, and tell me this isn’t a rare group in West Lafayette:
- Purdue won its 15th game in a row, the fourth-longest win streak in school history (16 three different times; last in 1987-88 season).
- Purdue has now won three straight Big Ten games by 23 or more points for the first time since in school history … Purdue’s last three victories (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa) have come by 85 points … Purdue has led by 61 combined points at halftime over the last three games.
- Purdue is 22-4 in Big Ten play since the start of last year … Purdue has won 10 straight Big Ten regular-season games dating to last year … Purdue has won six straight “true” road games dating to last year … entering the game, Purdue’s six-game road winning streak was the sixth-longest streak in America.
- Purdue set a new school record against Iowa with 20 made 3-pointers, surpassing the 19 set earlier in the year against Fairfield … Purdue set a new Big Ten record with 20 3-pointers (league games only), matching the most ever made by a Big Ten team in league history (Northwestern twice in non-conference play) … Purdue set a new Carver-Hawkeye Arena record.
- In the last four games, Purdue is 60-of-111 (.541) from 3-point range.
- Purdue has shot at least 44.3 percent from the field in each of the last 13 games … Purdue has held 20-of-21 opponents under 48.0 percent shooting.
- Over the last three games, Purdue has 67 assists against 31 turnovers.
- Purdue has held 12 straight opponents under 70 points.
And guess how many Purdue players are projected to be drafted in either round of the 2018 NBA Draft by the smart people at NBADraft.net. None.
Purdue has built the country’s best team though recruiting players not viewed as potential pros, but those who fit a culture of toughness and possess an ability to shoot the rock.
Of course, Purdue’s excellence runs deeper than being able to hit shots and cause opponents to miss. Earning makable shots is the biggest part of making them, and rebounding opponents’ misses is just as important as defending well enough to earn a miss.
Great fundamental basketball is the key to winning consistently, and Purdue executes fundamentals with consistent energy.
It helps that they have a behemoth center in Isaac Haas and Vincent Edwards – the most versatile player in college hoops – but this team is a perfect reflection of the culture that has allowed Purdue to excel despite a regular infusion of five-star talent.
The biggest question Purdue needs to answer is whether playing at this level is possible for another 10 weeks.
And that, in addition to the joy of watching predictable greatness, is why we watch.
Kent Sterling hosts the fastest growing sportstalk show in Indianapolis on CBS Sports 1430 every weekday from 3p-7p, and writes about Indiana sports at kentsterling.com.