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Offense carrying Boilermakers

Our look at the nation's PER leaders reveals Purdue's strengths -- and weaknesses

Originally Published: March 2, 2012
By Matt Giles | ESPN Insider

Ever want to compare every player in college basketball? John Hollinger has your answer. With his college player efficiency ratings, we can evaluate the productivity of Division I hoopsters from Arizona to Youngstown State to see who's really helping his team the most.

Something interesting has been going on in West Lafayette, Ind., this season. Coach Matt Painter's normally defensively stalwart team is not playing so well on D. Yet the Boilermakers still find themselves in the NCAA tournament picture.

Since Painter became coach several years ago, the Boilermakers' defense has typically been among the best in Division I. Last season, Purdue allowed opponents to score 0.99 points per possession in Big Ten play, and over the course of three seasons -- 2009-2011 -- Purdue held teams well under one point per possession.

Entering 2012 conference play, however, Purdue's defense slipped. Through 17 conference games, the Boilermakers have allowed 1.08 OPPP. Opponents are converting 47.9 percent of their 2-point field goal attempts and are connecting on 35.5 percent of their 3s -- only the second time in Painter's tenure that opponents have made that large a percentage from beyond the arc.

So why are they still in the mix for an NCAA tournament berth?

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