How Does Purdue Stack Up To Other All-Time Great Teams From Indiana?

Posted on March 16, 2023

Purdue University had a solid season, and now the team is a No. 1 seed for March Madness.

Since sports betting in Indiana is incredibly popular, plenty of Hoosiers from around the state have been betting on the Boilermakers all season long.

This year’s team is a talented one, but how does it stack up to other great college teams from Indiana? Before we can answer that question, we need to take a closer look at what this current Purdue squad has done during the season.

Strong season for Purdue basketball

Purdue finished its season 29-5 and was one of the highest-ranked teams in the country all season long.

The Boilermakers began their year with 13-straight wins. That led into an extended run where they won 22 of their 23 games.

This team will be one of the more popular options for March Madness betting this year.

When taking a look at all of the success of this group, most of it starts and ends with the production of their seven-foot-four and 285-pound behemoth of a center in Zach Edey who is in his junior year for the team.

Edey is averaging an impressive 22.3 points, 12.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 2.4 blocks per game this season while shooting a fantastic 61.2 percent. That’s extremely high for someone who is the first priority on every opposing scouting report.

That is why he is the runaway favorite to win the John R. Wooden Award, which is given to the best man and woman college basketball player in the nation.

There is only one other player on the Boilermakers roster who is averaging double digits as a scorer and that is Fletcher Loyer. He’s a six-foot-four freshman guard.

Purdue’s third-most important player is Braden Smith who is another freshman guard who helps set the table for Edey. Outside of Edey, there is no one projected to be drafted in the NBA Draft this year.

So, while Edey has been incredible this season, this Purdue team is very one dimensional, and likely not talented enough to take the crown of greatest college squad to come out of the state of Indiana.

Indiana’s all-time best college basketball teams

So, if the 2022-23 Boilermakers are not the best team to come out of the state of Indiana, which team is?

There are a few different contenders. Let us dive into it by taking a look at the best squads from two of Indiana’s biggest programs: Indiana University and Butler University.

Probably the biggest contender for the best men’s college basketball team to come out of the state of Indiana is the 1976 IU Hoosiers. That squad is the most recent team to complete a season without a single loss, while also winning the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship.

That team, led by the legendary Bob Knight began the season as the highest-ranked group in the nation. They proceeded to never lose a game and never let go of that title. They were the best team in men’s college basketball from start to finish and no other team since has gone undefeated.

When it comes to Butler, the teams that comes to mind are the Gordon Hayward teams that Brad Stevens coached back in the early 2010s.

The 2010 Butler team finished 33-5 and went all the way through the March Madness tournament before eventually losing in the National Championship game.

Butler was inches away from winning on a Hayward half-court heave, but the basketball gods were not giving enough to allow that shot to fall. Still, that team was incredible and finished the season as the runner-up.

While Purdue’s current team might not be as talented on paper as these other squads, that doesn’t mean that they can’t have a deep March Madness run. Anything can happen once the players hit the hardwood.

Photo by AP / Nam Y. Huh
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T.J. McBride

T.J. McBride is a writer and reporter based in Denver who covers the Nuggets as a beat writer. He regularly contributes to PlayIndiana on issues surrounding the online gambling market. His byline can be seen at ESPN, FiveThirtyEight, Bleacher Report and others.

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