Milwaukee Wisc @ Purdue
Milwaukee Wisc +25½ +101 over Purdue

Posted at 2:00 PM EST odds are subject to change.

Pinnacle +25 -109 BET365 +25½ -110 SportsInteraction +25½ +101  888Sport +25 -110

Milwaukee Wisc +25½ over Purdue

Mackey Arena - West Lafayette, IN

Streaming: Big-10 Network (BTN)

6:30 PM EST. Propped up by the Pat Baldwin Jr. preseason hype circus last season, the Milwaukee Panthers had nowhere to go but down. Landing a five-star recruit in the Horizon League got everyone’s attention, immediately dialing up the pressure meter to 11. Then, the walls came crashing down. Everything that could go wrong, did — starting with Baldwin Jr’.s season-long injury issues. The lauded blue-chip prospect never took flight, and the air slowly came out of the Panthers’ sails over the course of the year. Thus, we start this year with the Panthers stock being extremely low. That’s precisely what we’re looking for.

In the wake of last year’s deflating season, 2023 marks an opportune time for a reset. That included moving on from Patrick Baldwin Sr. as the program’s head coach after a fruitless five-year tenure. The athletic department went outside the box in appointing Baldwin Sr.’s successor, tagging Division II stalwart Bart Lundy from Queens University in North Carolina. Lundy built a D2 powerhouse at Queens, paving the way for the impending D1 debut of his former employer.

This step up in competition should be a breeze for Lundy since he’s flush with Division I coaching experience. After a dominant first stint at Queens from 1998 to 2003, Lundy opted to test his talents against Division I competition when he accepted the opening at High Point, right at home with his Carolina roots. Lundy led the Panthers to a 12-win turnaround from the year before, earning him recognition as the National Rookie of the Year Head Coach in his first crack at the big boys. Lundy will lean on that success in this transition, as he aims to lift Milwaukee out of the Horizon gutter. He’s a long way from the low country, but Lundy’s no stranger to Milwaukee - he spent three seasons under Buzz Williams at Marquette, just a few blocks away from his new home venue.

Lundy is a card-carrying member of the analytics fan club, exemplified in his style on both sides of the ball. On defense, Lundy wants to dictate the action by picking up man-to-man full-court, forcing opposing ball-handlers to work to initiate the offense. Turnovers are an added bonus, but he will throw any wrench he can into an opposing offense’s rhythm.

On offense, Lundy describes his tempo as a “controlled fast,” characterized by timely transition attacks but never at the expense of an ill-advised shot. In the half-court, the shot selection tendencies are where the analytic influence shines through. The Panthers will be hoisting plenty of triples this year, as Lundy specifically cited 400 made 3-pointers as a key performance indicator.

The Panthers played yesterday against a Division III school in what was essentially a glorified practice against the Milwaukee School of Engineering. Milwaukee-Wisc won 102-46. The win means nothing but at least the Panthers and their new coach were able to test out a few things and get some shots in. In the end, the leap from Division II to Division I is enormous for most, but Lundy’s been there and done that. On top of that, the recent precedents of topflight D2 programs having immediate success at the D1 level is notable — see Merrimack and Bellarmine, both of whom brought unique schemes to their new surroundings. The element of surprise is a real phenomenon, and in the same vein, Lundy’s offense will be a tough scout for unfamiliar foes. At minimum, this group will be exciting as Lundy’s final product begins to take hold in its fetal stages. Lundy added, “After all, part of what we do is entertainment. We’re going to be a fun brand of basketball to watch.

Purdue is priced here like they’re playing a Division II team. They’re also priced high because of last year’s great season that included a trip to the Sweet-16. Essentially, the Boilermakers had a great year while the Panthers had a horrible one so we have a great opportunity here to take back a slew of inflated points because of it.

Thing is, Purdue was already expected to take something of a step back this season following the departures of Jaden Ivey and Trevion Williams to the NBA, but losing two of its key guards in Eric Hunter, a three-year starter, and Isaiah Thompson exacerbates those concerns. The return of Zach Edey will be enough to keep the Boilermakers competitive, but the backcourt is a bright neon question mark. David Jenkins Jr. (Utah) was Matt Painter’s only addition and while Jenkins has shown star potential at times, his play has been quite inconsistent over the past few years. Man, are the Boilermakers overpriced here.



Our Pick

Milwaukee Wisc +25½ +101 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.02)

 

 

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