The Boilers get a final tune-up before a big test over the weekend.
Coach Painter has set the schedule up pretty well in advance of the Hall of Fame Tournament this coming weekend. Game one was a blowout vs. a Division I newcomer. Game two was a step up against a regional mid-major. Now we get game three against a mid-major that has been pretty good for the last few years.
Wright State should be more of a challenge than the first two games. They have won three consecutive Horizon League titles only to falter in the conference tournament and miss the NCAAs all three years. Even before that run, they made the 2018 Tournament at 25-10 as the conference tournament champs. Coach Scott Nagy was quite successful at South Dakota State with three NCAA appearances in his final five years, and now he has won 20 games in four of his five seasons in Dayton. The only non-20 win season was last year’s weird one, where the Raiders played just one non-conference game. They were upset 94-92 in OT by Milwaukee in the first round of the Horizon Tournament.
This is a good mid major program. In 2018-19 they played a ranked Mississippi State program to a 67-63 loss. They’re the type of team that can get to March and be a pesky 13 or 14 seed in a first round game. They have been the class of the Horizon League, at least in the regular season, the last few years. Even though they are going to be low in the NET and KenPom ratings, this could be a semi-decent non-conference win over a conference champion and NCAA team. They do return four starters from last season and ESPN felt that Nagy is one of the best mid-major coaches in the country.
So far this season they have a non-DI win over Lake Erie 86-53 and a 96-88 loss at Marshall. Garrett Basile has started the season hot, scoring 25 points and grabbing nine rebounds per game. The 6’9” junior averaged a 15 and 7 last year. Tanner holden has averaged 22 per game so far. Hew as at 15.8 ppg and 7.3 rebounds a year ago. Tim Finke is their best three point shooter and is 6 of 13 on the season. He is at 12 points per game so far.
I don’t think I would necessarily put Purdue on upset watch here. Like most mid-majors, Zach Edey and Trevion Williams are going to be an absolute handful for them. They will likely be able to get what they want. when hey want it. This is still a team good enough to hang around for a bit. They have the goal of making it to March. They will only do it by winning their conference, but they see this as a test for what they could do if they get to the tournament. It is one of only two Power 5 games they have, the other being NC State.
Purdue should win, but I expect them to hang around a bit longer than Indiana State and Bellarmine.