Purdue is No. 8 in the first USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll.
Many "experts" have said Purdue's hopes of a special season is done with Robbie Hummel's injury and, thus, the drop in the polls. The Boilermakers were projected to a top 3 pick with Hummel.
But several Purdue players at the team's media day on Thursday said they don't care where they're ranked.
Patrick Bade called polls "poison."
Lewis Jackson doesn't even read that stuff on the internet.
Ryne Smith said he doesn't see the projected slight as a sense of motivation.
"Word on campus is, 'I'm selling my season tickets' and all that. We try to stay away from that," Smith said. "I think the biggest motivation is seeing a guy who worked so hard to get to where he needed to be. He lived in the training room. Nobody wanted Rob back more than Rob. We saw that. We knew what was going on. To see him have to sit out now is probably the biggest motivation for us. Practice is real physical, you get a bruise here and think, 'I've got to sit out.' You look over at him, and he doesn't have a choice. It's going to make practice that much more intense.
"It's heartbreaking to see him have to sit there. We know he's going to be our biggest fan, though."
The storyline was the same this time around as when Hummel got hurt last year: Role players must step up and rise to the new opportunities.
Check out the story in Friday's paper for more on the post options. But one guy I didn't talk too much about was guard Kelsey Barlow.
Coach Matt Painter mentioned point guard Barlow as a guy who potentially could slide into the "power forward" spot at points.
But Painter also said he really likes Barlow as a point and isn't so sure it'd work to have a lineup with Barlow and Lewis Jackson on the court at the same time. That'd mean two players without much scoring mentality, though Jackson has improved his jump shot.
Barlow said the coaching staff told him before Hummel's injury that he'd have to plan to guard multiple positions, including the power forward spot.
Barlow hasn't had a chance to play any forward in practice because he's usually the point guard opposite Jackson on either the gold or black team.
"I obviously like playing guard a lot better because it's what I'm used to. But in high school, I played a little down low sometimes," Barlow said. "In high school I really didn't like it, but in college I could see myself liking it because we have a better system going. So I'll be down (with it) for sure."