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Thursday, March 10, 2005
 
Next Up - Purdue
#10 Purdue vs. #7 Iowa
1:30 CST
ESPN
Tournament Bracket

March Madness is underway across the country, and now the fever spreads to the Big Ten! I admit that I was much more excited when I thought Iowa was facing Penn State in the first round, with Wisconsin awaiting the winner, but starting the tournament against a Carl Landry-less Purdue won't be so bad either. That's the same Carl Landry who shot over 60% while scoring 45 points in his two games against Iowa. Those 45 points represent 37% of the points the Hawks allowed in the two games with Purdue, and a quick glance at the Boilermaker roster doesn't reveal many candidates to pick up the slack now that he's gone.

Scouting the Opponent
Let's compare a few numbers to see how Purdue played with and without their star. Landry played just 7 minutes in the Minnesota game, so I'm treating that as a "without" game, if only to increase the sample size of games he didn't play in.

Purdue's Offense
...............................Games.......Off Eff........adjFG%........TO/poss.........Oreb%..........FTA/FGA
with Landry...............13..............104............0.495.............0.232............0.362...............0.319
w/out Landry...............3................86............0.427.............0.244............0.323...............0.196

Wow. Any way you slice it, Purdue's offense has been horrible since Landry got hurt. Granted, those three games were against Minnesota, Illinois, and Wisconsin, all among the Big Ten's top six defenses, but....ugh. No one can make a basket, turnovers are up slightly, they're not getting as many offensive boards, and they've just about stopped going to the free throw line. These drops aren't surprising, since Landry ranks 4th in adjFG%, 3rd in FTA/FGA, and 3rd in Oreb/40 min in the Big Ten. There's really no way you can make up for the loss of a player like that.

Purdue's Defense
..............................Games......Def Eff.......adjFG%.........TO/poss.........Dreb%..........FTA/FGA
with Landry...............13.............108...........0.497..............0.178.............0.656.............0.409
w/out Landry..............3..............112...........0.571..............0.217.............0.693.............0.385

The hit to the Boilermaker defense hasn't been anything close to that of the offense, because most of Landry's value has been with the ball in his hands. While he is an outstanding offensive rebounder, he all but disappears on the defensive glass, ranking 33rd in defensive rebound % among Big Ten players with at least 15 mpg. Guys ahead of him on that list include Illinois's Luther Head and Indiana's Bracey Wright and Roderick Wilmont (all 6'3", 6'3", and 6'4" of them, respectively).

The 57% adjFG% against them over the three games should be alarming, although Iowa's outside shooters aren't quite the caliber of Illinois's and Wisconsin's (ranked 1 and 2 in 3pt%), who combined for 24 threes against Purdue in the last two games.

Individuals
Carl Landry was using over 28% of Purdue's offensive possessions, so his departure means a lot of shots will be going to some rather inept shooters. Here's how Purdue looked over the course of their 16 game Big Ten schedule -

Player.......................Pos......Year.......Mpg.........Floor%.......Off Rtg......%Poss
Carl Landry................F..........Jr..........30.3..........0.596............120..........28.3%
David Teague............G.........Jr...........35.8..........0.458............107..........22.0%
Brandon McKnight....G.........Sr...........37.8..........0.420..............92..........20.5%
Matt Kiefer.................F.........Jr............24.0..........0.474............100..........21.4%
Gary Ware.................F.........Jr............15.2..........0.457..............92..........15.9%
Xavier Price...............G........Fr............11.6..........0.294...............71..........20.6%
Charles Davis...........F/C......Jr............13.1..........0.452...............91..........15.0%
Chris Hartley.............G........So............17.6..........0.439............109..........12.0%
Bryant Dillon............G/F.......Jr............26.2..........0.415...............84..........12.3%
Andrew Ford.............G........Sr............14.9..........0.229...............54..........10.6%

Look at that offensive rating column - only Teague and Hartley are above the league average of 104, and Hartley has only taken more than five shots in one Big Ten game. It's easy to see how this team could only score 86 points per 100 possessions without Landry.

Teague now has the burden of scoring for these new-look Boilermakers, and it hasn't been pretty for him so far. Some pertinent numbers from his last three games -

Opponent..........FGM-FGA.......TO
Minnesota..............4-14...............3
Illinois.....................2-15...............3
Wisconsin.............6-14...............0
Total......................12-43..............6

Brandon McKnight has shot more recently, too, going a meager 13-37.

Gary Ware has seen a big boost in his minutes - he played 11.8 mpg over the first 13 games and 30 mpg in the last three. He's definitely taking advantage, shooting 16-22 the past three games. His rebounding is similar to Landry's - good on the offensive end, next to nothing on defense.

Charles Davis is playing more too. He saw action in only 7 of Purdue's first 13 games, but is averaging 19.3 mpg in the last three, hitting 50% of his 12 shots and all 6 of his free throws. His rebounding is decent - his 18.5 def reb% is best on the team and would rank 13th in the conference if he had enough minutes to qualify.

Putting It All Together
There's really no other conclusion you can draw but this - without Landry, Purdue's offense is terrible, and their defense is below average. I hate to call any game an easy win for an Iowa team, especially at this time of year, but if the victory-desperate Hawkeyes can shoot anything close to a respectable percentage, they shouldn't have much trouble making it to Friday.

Quote of the Day
"I'm taking four suits. I told my players, I'm not taking one suit for a game and three for theater nights. I'm going up there with four suits to play four games. So if you don't believe that, I don't want anybody going with me. I might have an empty bus."
- Purdue coach Gene Keady, in Jeff Shelman's look at the Big Ten Tournament
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