WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) — Having already crowned the Big Ten’s outright regular-season champion, Purdue looks to end the season on a high note Sunday against a strong Northwestern team at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Tip is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. ET, and will be televised nationally by CBS.
Purdue clinched a share of its Big Ten-best 23rd league title Tuesday night against Indiana, then Iowa gave the Boilermakers their 12th outright Big Ten title, and first since 1996, with a stunning comeback victory over Wisconsin on Thursday.
Purdue has now won two Big Ten regular-season titles in the last eight years. Only Ohio State (3; 2010, 2011, 2012) has more titles in that span.
Purdue has won at least 12 Big Ten games in three straight years for just the second time ever (1994-98; 5 seasons).
Since the start of last season, Purdue is 50-15. The 50 wins are the 13th-most nationally since the start of last year (through Thursday’s games) and the most in the Big Ten during that span (Maryland – 48).
Purdue’s 37 league wins since the start of the 2014-15 season are the second most in Big Ten play (Wisconsin – 39; Purdue – 37; Maryland – 37; Michigan State – 35). So far, Purdue is the only team to have received a double-bye in all three Big Ten Tournaments under the new format.
Purdue is 16th nationally in effective field goal percentage (.560). Purdue’s highest previous rank under Painter was 38th (2015-16). A big question mark entering the season was on the defensive end. Purdue ranks 17th in defensive efficiency by KenPom.com. Last year’s team was 11th.
Purdue is 28-1 since the start of last year when outrebounding opponents by 10 or more. The lone loss came to Minnesota this year.
Purdue’s big three of Caleb Swanigan, Isaac Haas and Vincent Edwards have shot 231 of Purdue’s 322 free throws (71.7 percent) in Big Ten play. In Big Ten play only, five of Purdue’s six players that have shot at least 20 free throws, shoot 79.3 percent or better from the charity stripe.
Swanigan needs 16 points to enter the Purdue top-25 list for single-season points (E’Twaun Moore in 2011; 575 points) while Dakota Mathias needs three trifectas to move into the Purdue top-15 list for single-season 3-pointers (three players have 66; Mathias has 63). Edwards needs nine rebounds to become the fifth player in school history with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 250 assists.
Head coach Matt Painter has passed Tom Davis for 16th place the Big Ten’s career victories list in league games only with 126 wins. Painter has won 65.2 percent of his games at Purdue. Legendary coach Gene Keady won 65.5 percent of his games at Purdue (1981-05).