Boilermakers Begin Season in Space Coast Challenge vs. Liberty
Credit Source: Purdue University Athletics
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue will open its 123rd season of collegiate basketball Wednesday, when it heads to Melbourne, Florida, for the Space Coast Challenge. The Boilermakers will meet Liberty while Clemson and Mississippi State will meet on the other side of the bracket.
This marks the first of two trips to the Sunshine State during the first month of the season as the Boilermakers will travel to Miami for the ACC / Big Ten Challenge on Dec. 8. It also marks the second straight year that Purdue has played its multi-team event in Florida after it played in the Emerald Coast Classic (Destin) last year, falling to Florida State in the title game.
The entire tournament will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network with Dave Ryan and Bob Wenzel on the call. On the radio waves, Wednesday’s broadcast will begin at 5 p.m. ET, with the Purdue Basketball Pregame Show. Rob Blackman and Bobby Riddell will handle the call on the Purdue Sports Network.
THE NOTES TO KNOW
1) Purdue begins the season in search of its 25th Big Ten Championship, having won two of the last four regular-season titles. The Boilermakers are the all-time leader in Big Ten regular-season championships, two ahead of rival Indiana (22).
2) The Boilermakers return three starters (Eric Hunter Jr., Sasha Stefanovic and Trevion Williams) from last year’s team that showed promising glimpses, but struggled with consistency en route to a 16-15 record.
3) A year ago, Purdue became the first team since 1997 Florida to beat three top-25 teams by at least 25 points (Virginia, Michigan St., Iowa).
4) Purdue returns 83 combined starts from last season. In 10 previous seasons that Purdue returned at least 74 starts from the previous campaign, the Boilermakers posted a combined 222-110 record with eight NCAA Tournament appearances (missed in 2006 and 2014).
5) Purdue is not ranked in the AP preseason top 25 poll for the first time since the 2014-15 season.
6) Purdue is 14-1 under head coach Matt Painter in season openers, having won seven straight openers by a combined 30.3 points per game. Purdue has won its last six openers by at least 22 points.
7) As many as seven players could see their first career action this week. Redshirt freshmen Brandon Newman and Mason Gillis and freshmen Jaden Ivey, Zach Edey, Ethan Morton, Chase Martin and Carson Barrett could all see action for the first time. Gillis will be suiting up for the first time in 985 days — since March 17, 2018 (junior season at New Castle H.S.).
8) Painter has won four tournaments at Purdue (2009 Big Ten, 2010 Paradise Jam, 2015 Hall of Fame Tipoff, 2016 Cancun Challenge).