Purdue alumnus and life long fan here. Have followed Purdue msg boards for years but rarely posted a msg. However after this loss, just felt I had to speak my mind and get things off my chest just for catharsis so here goes…
Realistically, we all know Painter will not be fired, at least not in the near future- esp not after winning the league, the BTT, and being #1 for multiple weeks with a team picked to be a conference middling. Losing to double digit seeds in multiple years with different teams would indicate the constant and issue is with the coach. So if things have to change but we keep the same coach, that means the coach has to change some of his philosophy….so what specifically does he have to change? Well, probably no simple answers otherwise he would have done it already. However here are just some thoughts which have been mentioned by others already:
Need to stop offense philosophy centered around the big man. We know basketball today is all about guard play. Therefore, can still recruit bigs but athletic 6’9-11” big guys who can jump, rebound, and rim protect. Purdue mostly needs to recruit athletic alpha guards who have handles, can penetrate, and create their own shots. It has been hard for Purdue to recruit such since its offense has been big man centric, but if Painter is willing to change to a guard centric offense, I suspect he’ll be able attract some good options.
Opponents know exactly what Purdue is going to do. Play man on man D and get it inside to the big man on O. Period. Makes preparation for Purdue a little easier. Therefore, Painter really needs to have some flexibility and be willing to make in game adjustments. Throwing in a zone once in a while especially against a team who has weak perimeter shooters (like Purdue), press once in a while especially if you have a deep bench (like Purdue had)- learning how to play zone and press means you can practice how to play against them as well (which Purdue obviously needed).
Anyway, I don’t think Purdue needs to tear everything down and start from scratch with a new coach. We all know that’s not going happen anytime soon anyway. Hopefully Painter can do some self reflection and have some sort of epiphany like he did after 2012-14. I know he is known to be stubborn/rigid but he has shown the ability to change before (after 2014)and hopefully can do so again. I know people say he will never be able to get Purdue to the Final 4 let alone a Nat Champ. However, despite many years of continual disappointments (since Keady- that 88 loss to K state still haunts me) which goes with being a Purdue die hard….I somehow still have that glimmer of hope that Painter still can be the guy- he has proven that he can evaluate talent, develop players, overachieve with no 5 stars and win conference titles despite that….and dare I say, when it comes to March, he has made it to 6 sweet 16s and 1 fluke play away from a final 4. So, I do feel that if he is willing to change his philosophy some (and he has shown he can coach and succeed with a guard centric team- ie Edward/Cline that again was 1 play from a final 4) and show a little flexibility,
the F4 (and dare I say the NC) is not out of the realm of possibilities. However, I’ll just settle for a F4 for now.
Lastly, as much as this loss hurts us fans, I can only imagine how much worse it is for Painter, the other coaches, and the players. Hopefully this helps to motivate Painter to make such changes. Can a repeat of Virginia happen next year? As is typical of a Purdue fan, I’m pessimistic, but always can hope.
Ok, I’ve said my peace. It feels good to get that off my chest….Here’s hoping Painter can similarly get that monkey (or more like a gorilla) off his back.