Maybe the week-long break will help.
Maybe by the time Purdue takes the court against No. 13 seed Saint Peter’s on Friday in Chicago, the No. 4 seed Boilermakers will look like the team that won seven consecutive games late in the season, not the one that stumbled into the NCAA tournament with a pair of losses against Iowa and Michigan State.
For Purdue to rectify its poor two-game stretch, each player must be better.
So I asked several players on Sunday night after the selection show – that’s pre-Kelsey Barlow suspension – what they had to do better to help the Boilermakers make a run:
Ryne Smith, junior, G: “I have to understand the offense better. I think I did a poor job of that in the Michigan State game and in the Iowa game. I think choosing when to be aggressive is huge, not just for me but for everybody. Our offense was really bad the last two games. But that offensively and defensively, just playing hard, playing harder than we have been.”
JaJuan Johnson, senior, C: “Just got to be dominant and rebound. Those are the two biggest things. I feel like I’m capable of doing both. Just have to do it at a higher level.”
Terone Johnson, freshman, G: “Like everybody, I can compete a little bit more, too. Also just be a little more aware off the ball and for us to stay (dialed) in the whole time, whether you’re watching film or doing the walkthrough. Just lessen the mistakes.”
Lewis Jackson, junior, G: “I’ve got to lead. From the defensive end to the offensive end, I have to make sure I’m hooked up and bringing it 110 percent because I didn’t really realize but they say when I guard hard, everybody does. When I’m pushing the ball, it gives other people better opportunities. So I just have to make sure I’m giving myself up to this team and everybody else gets easier opportunities.”
D.J. Byrd, sophomore, F: “I’d say just getting to the boards and rebounding. That’s key in every game, but I need to take it upon myself to do that and really play as good of defense as I possibly can.”