Purdue #3 vs Arkansas #14- Exhibition Game Preview

Matt Painter’s Boilermakers have a history of participating in high-profile scrimmages to kick off the season. These scrimmages, whether public or private, have allowed Painter to gauge his team’s abilities against strong opponents like Providence, West Virginia, and Cincinnati in previous years. However, this year’s scrimmage against Arkansas will be different. Rather than a private affair, the game will be played in front of a sold-out crowd in an intimidating environment. Not only will Purdue be focused on the game itself, but they will also be raising money for the United Way.

Despite the exhibition nature of the contest, Painter still wants his team to take it seriously. When asked if this would be a real game, Painter responded with humor, “This is a real game. Like this is on television.” Unlike some secret scrimmages where coaches can pause the game to teach their players, this game will be played straight through. Eric Musselman’s Razorbacks will be looking to take down the #3 Boilermakers, led by Zach Edey.

Purdue’s players are eager for the opportunity and their goal is simple: to win. Braden Smith, the team’s starting point guard and a sophomore, expressed their competitive mindset. Ethan Morton, a senior, sees this early road test as a chance to see where the team stands and wants to see Purdue come out with high energy and effort.

For Painter, the game against Arkansas will provide valuable insights into his deep roster. While the outcome is important, Painter ultimately wants to see his team emerge victorious. Purdue’s rotation will become clearer after the exhibition, with Painter already settling on a starting lineup that includes Smith, Fletcher Loyer, Lance Jones, Trey Kaufman-Renn, and Edey. Edey’s return to Purdue has generated significant buzz and is a key reason why the team is ranked #3 nationally and has aspirations of winning the national championship.

Arkansas, ranked #14 nationally, also has high hopes for the season and boasts a more experienced squad under Musselman. However, they lack the continuity of Purdue’s returning players. Musselman acknowledges that his team may be behind Purdue at this point in the season due to the Boilermakers’ preparation and the dominance of Edey. Arkansas plans to counter Edey’s presence with aggression and a fast-paced, pick-and-roll heavy offense.

Purdue’s familiarity with each other gives them an advantage, but the relative newness of Arkansas’s roster could work in their favor in terms of the element of surprise. Arkansas’s offense, which struggled last season, will rely heavily on transferred players El Ellis, Tramon Mark, and Khalif Battle. On the wing, Purdue also has a competitive situation with multiple players vying for playing time.

While the game is an exhibition, both teams will approach it with a competitive mindset. The charity aspect of the game, which aims to raise funds for tornado victims and families in Arkansas, adds an extra layer of importance and meaning. Painter hopes that Purdue can continue to participate in these high-profile exhibition games in the future and potentially host one at Mackey Arena.

Overall, both Purdue and Arkansas are treating this scrimmage as a significant test and an opportunity to learn and improve before the season officially begins.


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