Another non-conference game against an unheralded opponent.
Don't expect too much excitement tonight against Alcorn State.
But here are some things I'll be watching for:
- Can JaJuan Johnson make perimeter shots? Johnson worked diligently in the offseason on his jumper, but he struggled shooting in the exhibition games and in the opener. He expects it to start falling soon. Maybe tonight will be the night. One of the reasons Johnson is such a weapon is because of his ability to extend his offensive game and become a tough matchup. But that only works if he makes shots.
- Don't know much about Alcorn State, but I would expect the Braves to play man defense, like most teams. How will they defend Purdue? Will they double-team Johnson in the post? And if they do, will they sag off point guards Lewis Jackson and Kelsey Barlow? This could be a chance for those players, especially Jackson, to showcase a jump shot. Jackson put countless hours in on his shot during the offseason -- and still since the season has started -- and he's confident in it. But he hasn't had a chance to show it during a game yet.
- I'm assuming Purdue will have this one under control already by the second half, so that's always a nice time to watch how the freshmen defend away from the ball. There's typically intensity when they're defending the guy who has it, but when it leaves his hands, are they still aware? Are they still active? In Purdue's help defense, it's always important to "see it," as coach Matt Painter always says in practice.