Last season: 30-7, 15-3 (tied for second in Big Ten)
Who’s gone: Vincent Edwards, Dakota Matthias, Isaac Haas, P.J. Thompson, Jacquil Taylor
Who’s back: Carsen Edwards, 6-1, jr.; Ryan Cline, 6-6, sr.; Matt Haarms, 7-3, so.; Nojel Eastern, 6-6, so.; Grady Eifert, 6-6, sr.
Who’s new: Sasha Stefanovic, 6-4, fr. (RS); Aaron Wheeler, 6-9, fr. (RS); Evan Boudreaux, 6-8, jr. (transfer from Dartmouth); Eric Hunter Jr., 6-3, fr.; Emmanuel Dowuona, 6-10, fr.; Kyle King, 6-6, fr.; Trevion Williams, 6-9, fr.
Overview: When a team loses four seniors who were multi-year starters, it’s reasonable to expect a big dropoff. But when the one returning starter is one of the best guards in the country, the drop may not be that significant. Edwards is the most dynamic scorer in the league and an almost unanimous preseason All-American, and he should improve on the 18.5 points he averaged a year ago. But won’t be the whole team. Cline and Haarms are star quality talents who have played reserve roles in the past and Eastern should step comfortably into the starting lineup. The Boilermakers just need to get a little bit of help from their newcomers, including Boudreaux, who averaged 17.6 points and 9.5 rebounds in two years in the Ivy League.
Coach Matt Painter says: “We have a more inexperienced team. Carsen Edwards obviously as a second-team All-American last year comes back. Any time you can start a game and you feel like you have the best player on the floor, it's a good start. We have some guys that came off the bench for us last year in Ryan Cline, who I've always considered like a starter for us, but we've been pretty deep in our backcourt. Matt Haarms and Nojel Eastern, they're going to have to have bigger roles for this team.’’
Don Doxsie's pick: Second place