Re-ranking Recruiting Classes: Who are the 25 best players in the Class of 2011?

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July’s live recruiting period is right around the corner, meaning that the Class of 2016 will have a chance to truly prove themselves to the recruiters and the recruitniks around the country. Scholarships will be earned and rankings will be justified over the course of those three weekends in July.

But scholarship offers and rankings don’t always tell us who the best players in a given class will end up being. Ask Steph Curry. Over the course of the coming weeks, we will be re-ranking eight recruiting classes, from 2004-2011, based on what they have done throughout their post-high school career. 

Here are the 25 best players from the Class of 2011, with their final Rivals Top 150 ranking in parentheses:

source:
Anthony Davis (AP Photo)

READ MOREThe complete Re-ranking the Classes series

1. Anthony Davis (2): This is an easy choice. Davis was the Most Outstanding Player on Kentucky’s national title team in 2012 and then picked first overall by New Orleans in the 2012 NBA Draft. He hasn’t slowed down either, emerging as one of the top players in the NBA and leading the Pelicans to the playoffs this past season.

2. Bradley Beal (4): Like Davis, Beal spent one season playing in the SEC as he was part of a Florida team that reached the Elite Eight. From there it was off to Washington, where he’s combined with John Wall to form the Wizards’ backcourt of the present and future.

3. Elfrid Payton (UR): Payton arrived at Louisiana-Lafayette to little national fanfare, but after spending his freshman season in a reserve role he took a step forward as a sophomore. Payton turned that year into a spot on the United States’ U19 team, and after a standout junior campaign he was taken in the 2014 NBA Draft lottery by the Magic. Payton was a first team NBA All-Rookie Team selection this past season.

4. Andre Drummond (UR): Drummond moved back into the 2011 class from 2012, joining the UConn program for one season. From there he was a lottery pick of the Pistons in the 2012 NBA Draft, where he’s averaged 12.1 points and 11.8 rebounds per game in three seasons.

5. Trey Burke (142): Burke spent two seasons at Michigan, the second of which included a National Player of the Year award and a run to the national title game where the Wolverines fell to Louisville. Burke was selected 9th overall by the Jazz in the 2013 NBA Draft, and he’s averaged 12.8 points and 5.0 assists per game game in two seasons.

6. Michael Carter-Williams (29): Carter-Williams was a backup at the point during his freshman season at Syracuse, and as a sophomore he helped lead the Orange to the Final Four in 2013. Picked in the 2013 NBA Draft lottery by Philadelphia, Carter-Williams was an NBA Rookie of the Year in 2014. Traded to Milwaukee during the 2014-15 season, he averaged 14.6 points and 6.7 assists per game.

7. Ben McLemore (34): McLemore’s college career was delayed by a season, as he was ruled academically ineligible for the 2011-12 campaign by the NCAA. In his lone season of play at Kansas, McLemore averaged 15.9 points and 5.2 rebounds per contest. Picked seventh overall by the Kings in the 2013 NBA Draft, McLemore’s averaging 10.5 points and 2.9 rebounds per game as a pro.

source:
Bradley Beal (AP Photo)

8. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (3): Kidd-Gilchrist teamed up with Davis on a loaded Kentucky team to win a national title in 2012, then moved on to the NBA where he was the second overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. Always a good defender, Kidd-Gilchrist has worked to improve his abilities as a shooter since entering the NBA and wound up averaging 10.9 points per game last season.

9. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (12): Caldwell-Pope took a major leap forward in his second season as a pro, averaging 12.7 points per game for the Pistons in 2014-15 (5.9 ppg as a rookie). Prior to that KCP played two seasons at Georgia, where he was SEC Player of the Year in 2013 after averaging 18.5 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.

10. Austin Rivers (1): Rivers averaged 15.5 points per game in his lone season at Duke, which included a memorable game-winning three at North Carolina. As a pro the road hasn’t been as smooth, with his best run of play coming as a reserve with the Clippers (where his dad’s the head coach and president) following a trade from New Orleans this season.

11. Otto Porter (37): Like McLemore, Porter was a lottery pick in the 2013 NBA Draft as he was taken third overall by the Wizards. Unlike McLemore, Porter played two seasons of college ball (and Georgetown) and was named Big East Player of the Year and a first team All-American in 2013. With Paul Pierce moving on to L.A., 2015-16 could be a breakthrough campaign for Porter.

12. Cody Zeller (15): Zeller played two seasons at Indiana, where as a sophomore he was a first team All-Big Ten and second team All-America selection. Picked in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft by Charlotte, Zeller’s averaged 6.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in two seasons as a pro.

RELATED: Re-ranking the classes 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010

13. Shane Larkin (72): Larkin, originally a DePaul commit, wound up at Miami where he helped lead the program to heights it had never visited as a member of the ACC. Larkin ran the point for a team that won the program’s first ACC title and reached the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2000, sharing ACC Player of the Year honors in 2013. Larkin didn’t play much in Dallas as a rookie, but he saw more time in 2014-15 with the Knicks (6.2 ppg, 3.0 apg).

14. Jabari Brown (19): Brown didn’t last all that long at Oregon, transferring to Missouri after playing just two games in Eugene. Once at Mizzou the shooting guard became of the SEC’s top perimeter players as a junior in 2014 (first team All-SEC; 19.9 ppg). After spending time in the NBA D-League Brown’s now with the Lakers, where he averaged 11.9 points per game this season.

15. Tony Wroten (14): Wroten played just one season at Washington, averaging 16.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game in 2011-12. A first round pick of the Grizzlies in the 2012 NBA Draft, Wroten’s averaged 11.2 points per game in three season for two franchises (Philadelphia being the other). Wroten suffered a torn ACL in January.

16. Maurice Harkless (41): Harkless played one season at St. John’s before being drafted by Philadelphia in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft. The Sixers traded Harkless to Orlando, where he’s averaged 6.8 points and 3.5 rebounds in three seasons as a professional.

17. Nick Johnson (18): Johnson played three seasons at Arizona, where he was a mainstay for Sean Miller’s program. Not only was he Pac-12 Player of the Year in 2014, but Johnson was also a first team All-American. Drafted in the second round by the Rockets in 2014, Johnson’s bounced between the NBA and NBA D-League the last two seasons.

18. P.J. Hairston (13): To say that the sharpshooter’s college career was a tumultuous one would be an understatement, as NCAA issues ended his time in Chapel Hill before the 2013-14 season began. Hairston lit up the NBA D-League for a season before being taken in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft by Miami, which traded him to Charlotte on draft night.

19. Rodney Hood (16): Hood was an SEC All-Rookie Team selection at Mississippi State before transferring to Duke, where he played one season under Mike Krzyzewski. A first round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft by Utah, Hood averaged 8.7 points per game as a rookie.

20. Frank Kaminsky (UR): Kaminsky went from being a three-star prospect to the National Player of the Year in his four season at Wisconsin, which included two Final Four appearances and Big Ten regular season and tournament titles. He was picked in the lottery by Charlotte last month. (Mistakenly left off this list.)

source: Getty Images
Trey Burke helped lead Michigan to the ’13 title game (Getty Images)

21. Kyle Wiltjer (22): Wiltjer still has another season left to play in college, but he’s put together a solid resume at that level. As a freshman he was part of a national champion squad at Kentucky, following that up with SEC Sixth Man of the Year honors as a sophomore. He transferred following the 2012-13 season, and after sitting out a year Wiltjer was both WCC Newcomer of the Year and a second team All-American at Gonzaga in 2014-15.

22. Spencer Dinwiddie (146): Dinwiddie put together a very good run at Colorado before suffering a torn ACL in a road game at Washington during his junior campaign. That would be the last time he’d play in a CU uniform, as he moved on to the NBA where he was taken in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft by the Pistons. Dinwiddie saw time as the team’s backup point guard once Brandon Jennings went down with a ruptured Achilles.

23. Quincy Miller (7): Miller played just one season at Baylor, averaging 10.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per contest in 2011-12. Picked in the second round of the 2012 NBA Draft by Denver, Miller played two seasons with the Nuggets before splitting time with the Kings and Pistons in 2014-15.

24. Johnny O’Bryant III (46): O’Bryant played three seasons at LSU, where he was a first team All-SEC choice in both 2013 and 2014. A second-round pick of the Bucks in the 2014 NBA Draft, O’Bryant played 10.8 minutes per game (34 games played) as a rookie on a team that reached the playoffs.

25. Ryan Boatright (42): Boatright wasn’t selected in last month’s NBA Draft (playing with the Nets in Summer League), but his four-year career at UConn was a highly productive one. Boatright, who won a national title in 2014, left Storrs as one of just two players in the history of the program to be ranked in the Top 10 of the school’s scoring and assists lists (Shabazz Napier being the other).

Notables:

Marquis Teague (5)
James Michael McAdoo (8)
Khem Birch (9)
DeAndre Daniels (10)
Josiah Turner (11)
Tony Wroten (14)
Branden Dawson (20)
Chane Behanan (21)
Jahii Carson (33)
Quinn Cook (38)
Sir’Dominic Pointer (44)
Amir Garrett (68)
Norman Powell (69)
Dez Wells (76)
Chasson Randle (78)
Wesley Saunders (88)
Malcolm Brogdon (104)
Josh Richardson (124)
Pat Connaughton (128)
DaVonte Lacy (138)
Marcus Thornton (UR)
Darrun Hilliard (UR)
Ron Baker (UR)
Alex Len (UR)

South Carolina tops women’s AP Top 25; Ohio State tumbles

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
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It was a rough week for Ohio State, which lost all three of its games and tumbled down the AP Top 25 as a result.

The previously unbeaten Buckeyes fell from second to 10th in The Associated Press women’s basketball poll released Monday after losing to Iowa and Indiana, two top 10 teams, as well as Purdue. Ohio State fell two games back in the Big Ten Conference standings.

South Carolina remained No. 1 for the 32nd consecutive week. The Gamecocks, who were again a unanimous choice from the 28-member national media panel, have the fourth-longest streak ever atop the poll. Only UConn (51 and 34 weeks) and Louisiana Tech (36) have had longer runs at No. 1.

Stanford moved back up to No. 2 in the poll and the Cardinal were followed by LSU, Indiana and UConn in the top five. LSU is the only other undefeated team in women’s basketball besides South Carolina, which visits UConn for a top-five showdown on Sunday.

Iowa jumped out four spots to sixth with Utah, Maryland and Notre Dame coming in ahead of Ohio State. The Hawkeyes started the season No. 4 in the poll.

The Fighting Irish split a pair of games last week against ranked opponents, routing Florida State before falling to N.C. State.

“There’s a lot of parity right now, which is great, great for the game,” Notre Dame coach Niele Ivey said. “The game is growing, which is what you want. But yeah, I mean, every night, especially the ACC, the ACC is the strongest league and, you know, we have just a tough stretch every night.”

One week after falling out of the rankings, Texas re-entered the poll at No. 24. The Longhorns routed then-No. 14 Oklahoma and Oklahoma State last week. South Florida also came in at No. 25. Colorado and Illinois fell out of the poll.

RISING BULLS

No. 25 South Florida continued its streak of being ranked for at least one week every season since the Bulls entered the poll for the first time in 2015.

“For us not being in a so-called football five conference, that’s a huge accomplishment,” South Florida coach Jose Fernandez said. His team has won 10 consecutive games and has 20 victories this season. The team’s four losses have all come against ranked opponents (Michigan, Villanova, Ohio State and N.C. State).

“This group has been fun to coach. We always play a great non(equals)conference schedule,” Fernandez said. “We won on the road at Texas, beat Alabama, beat Arkansas. We challenged ourselves in November and December.”

RECORD PERFORMANCES

Cameron Brink carried Stanford to a win over Oregon with a triple-double that included 10 blocks. It was the first triple-double in NCAA Division I women’s basketball featuring double-digit blocks since Tamari Key did it for Tennessee in an overtime win against Texas on Nov. 21, 2021.

No. 20 Oklahoma’s Taylor Robertson set the all-time NCAA women’s career record for 3-pointers when she hit her 498th in a loss to Iowa State on Saturday. Robertson has 503 entering this week. The all-time NCAA record, men or women, is held by Antoine Davis of Detroit Mercy, who has 534 and counting.

Purdue a unanimous No. 1 in AP Top 25; Vols up to No. 2

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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Purdue became this season’s first unanimous No. 1 team in the AP Top 25 men’s college basketball poll Monday after wins over Michigan and Michigan State last week as chaos ensued behind the Boilermakers among other ranked teams.

More than half of Top 25 teams lost, including second-ranked Alabama, which was routed by Oklahoma in the Big 12-SEC Challenge. That allowed Purdue to grab the remaining No. 1 votes and tighten its grip atop the poll, while Tennessee jumped two spots to second and Houston held onto third in voting by 62 national media members.

The Boilermakers (21-1) have won eight straight since a one-point loss to Rutgers on Jan. 2.

“We’re the No. 1 team in the country because of how unselfish we are as a team,” Purdue guard David Jenkins Jr. said. “We had a lot of people doubting us in the beginning because, you know, we may not be the most talented team or whatever, but we’re close on the court and off the court and it’s really translating to how we’re winning.”

The Volunteers climbed to their highest perch since reaching No. 1 for four weeks during the 2018-19 season. They routed Georgia before becoming one of three SEC teams to beat Big 12 opponents on Saturday, knocking off No. 10 Texas 82-71 for their fifth consecutive win over a top-10 team.

Perhaps this is the year Rick Barnes finally gets the Vols through the Sweet 16 for the first time as their coach.

“We have a chance to be as good as we want to be,” he said. “It’s up to one thing: Are we tough enough to embrace the daily grind? And not worry about going to the Final Four or worry about going to the NCAA Tournament, but can we build a team that can be successful that time of year? It starts with truly embracing the grind.”

The Crimson Tide dropped to fourth after the blowout loss to the Sooners, when Alabama fell behind by 17 at halftime in an eventual 93-69 defeat. The Tide edged fifth-ranked Arizona by just two points in this week’s poll.

“It doesn’t have any effect on SEC standings, which is the only good thing to come out of this,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said of the lopsided loss. “Hopefully we’ll recover from a loss out of conference, but you know, it’s not good.”

Virginia was sixth and Kansas State, which rebounded from a narrow loss at No. 13 Iowa State by pummeling Florida on Saturday, fell two spots to seventh; the Wildcats face eighth-ranked Kansas in a top-10 showdown Tuesday night.

UCLA dropped to ninth after losing to Southern California and Texas rounded out the top 10.

Baylor continued its climb from unranked to No. 11 following wins over the Jayhawks and Arkansas. The Bears were followed by Gonzaga, Iowa State, Marquette and league rival TCU – the sixth Big 12 team in the top 15.

Xavier, Providence, Saint Mary’s, Florida Atlantic and Clemson completed the top 20, while poll returners Indiana and San Diego State joined Miami, UConn and Auburn in rounding out the Top 25.

RISING AND FALLING

The No. 11 Bears and No. 17 Providence made the biggest leaps, each climbing six spots from last week.

“I think our defense is better. Our turnovers are better. When you don’t give people easy transition baskets, now its five-on-five in the half court,” said Baylor coach Scott Drew, whose team had a date with the Longhorns on Monday night.

“We execute at a pretty high rate,” Drew said. “It really comes down to taking care of the ball, making sure we get shots up and when you don’t make them, you’ve got to get rebounds. And our guys are buying into that.”

Auburn took the biggest hit of those still in the poll, dropping 10 places after losses to unranked Texas A&M and West Virginia.

IN AND OUT

The Hoosiers returned to the poll at No. 21 and the Aztecs rejoined it right behind them. They took the place of Charleston, which fell out from No. 18 after losing to Hofstra, and New Mexico, which lost to Nevada in double overtime last week.

CONFERENCE CALL

The Big 12’s dominance of the SEC in the final year of their head-to-head challenge was rewarded in the poll, where the league led the way with six ranked teams and all of them in the top 15. The Big East has four teams in the poll but none higher than No. 14 Marquette, while the SEC and ACC have three teams apiece.

College basketball broadcaster Billy Packer dies at 82

billy packer
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Billy Packer, an Emmy award-winning college basketball broadcaster who covered 34 Final Fours for NBC and CBS, died Thursday. He was 82.

Packer’s son, Mark, told The Associated Press that his father had been hospitalized in Charlotte for the past three weeks and had several medical issues, and ultimately succumbed to kidney failure.

Packer’s broadcasting career coincided with the growth of college basketball. He worked as analyst or color commentator on every Final Four from 1975 to 2008. He received a Sports Emmy for Outstanding Sports Personality, Studio and Sports Analyst in 1993.

“He really enjoyed doing the Final Fours,” Mark Packer said. “He timed it right. Everything in life is about timing. The ability to get involved in something that, frankly, he was going to watch anyway, was a joy to him. And then college basketball just sort of took off with Magic Johnson and Larry Bird and that became, I think, the catalyst for college basketball fans to just go crazy with March Madness.”

Packer played three seasons at Wake Forest, and helped lead the Demon Deacons to the Final Four in 1962, but it was his work as an analyst that brought him the most acclaim.

He joined NBC in 1974 and called his first Final Four in 1975. UCLA beat Kentucky in the title game that year in what was John Wooden’s final game as coach.

Packer was also part of the broadcast in 1979 with Dick Enberg and Al McGuire when Magic Johnson’s Michigan State team beat Larry Bird’s Indiana State squad in the title game. That remains highest-rated game in basketball history with a 24.1 Nielsen rating, which is an estimated 35.1 million viewers.

Packer went to CBS in the fall of 1981, when the network acquired the rights to the NCAA Tournament. He remained the network’s main analyst until the 2008 Final Four.

In 1996 at CBS, Packer was involved in controversy when he used the term “tough monkey? to describe then-Georgetown star Allen Iverson during a game. Packer later said he “was not apologizing for what I said, because what I said has no implications in my mind whatsoever to do with Allen Iverson’s race.?

Sean McManus, the chairman of CBS Sports, said Packer was “synonymous with college basketball for more than three decades and set the standard of excellence as the voice of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.”

“He had a tremendous impact on the growth and popularity of the sport.” McManus said. “In true Billy fashion, he analyzed the game with his own unique style, perspective and opinions, yet always kept the focus on the game. As passionate as he was about basketball, at his heart Billy was a family man. He leaves part of his legacy at CBS Sports, across college basketball and, most importantly, as a beloved husband, father and grandfather. He will be deeply missed by all.”

Packer was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.

ESPN broadcaster Dick Vitale took to Twitter as word of Packer’s death spread. “So sad to learn of the passing of Billy Packer who had such a passion for college basketball,” Vitale tweeted. “My (prayers) go out to Billy’s son Mark & the entire Packer family. Always had great RESPECT for Billy & his partners Dick Enberg & Al McGuire-they were super. May Billy RIP.”

College basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla tweeted: “We fell in love (with) college basketball because of you. Your voice will remain in my head forever.”

Packer was viewed as a controversial figure during his broadcasting days, often drawing the ire of college basketball fans, particularly on North Carolina’s “Tobacco Road.”

“As a kid, I was a big NC State fan growing up, and I would watch a game and the next day I’d be like, `Boy you sure have it out for NC State, don’t you?’ And he would just laugh,” Mark Packer said.

The younger Packer, who is the host of ACC PM on the ACC Network, said it didn’t matter what school – most fans felt the same way about his father.

“He would cover North Carolina game and Tar Heels fans would be like, `you hate North Carolina,”‘ Mark Packer said. “Wake (Forest) fans would be like, `you hate us.’ And Billy just sort of got a kick out of that.”

Mark Packer said that while most fans will remember his father as a broadcaster, he’ll remember him even more for his business acumen. He said his father was a big real estate investor, and also owned a vape company, among other ventures.

“Billy was always a bit of a hustler – he was always looking for that next business deal,” Packer said.

Clemson starter Galloway will miss time after surgery

brevin galloway
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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson starter Brevin Galloway is expected to miss games for the 24th-ranked Tigers after having surgery on his groin area Thursday.

The 6-foot-3 Galloway has started 20 of 21 games after transferring from Boston College this past offseason.

Galloway posted on social media that he’d had the surgery. Clemson coach Brad Brownell confirmed in a text to The Associated Press that Galloway had the operation.

Galloway said in his post he will be in uniform soon. He is not expected to play at Florida State on Saturday.

A fifth-year player, Galloway has averaged 10.6 points a game this season. He’s second on the Tigers with 55 assists and 18 steals.

The Tigers (17-4) lead the Atlantic Coast Conference at 9-1 in league play.

Clemson is already down two experienced players due to injury.

Point guard Chase Hunter, who started the team’s first 18 games, has missed the past three with a foot injury.

Guard Alex Hemenway, in his fourth season, has missed the past nine games with a foot injury. Hemenway was the team’s leading 3-point shooter (27 of 54) before getting hurt.

Zach Edey has 19 points, No. 1 Purdue beats Michigan 75-70

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Junfu Han/USA TODAY NETWORK
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Zach Edey had 15 of his 19 points in the first half and Fletcher Loyer finished with 17 points to help No. 1 Purdue hold off Michigan 75-70 on Thursday night.

The Boilermakers (20-1, 9-1 Big Ten) had a 15-0 run to go ahead 41-28 lead in the first half after there were 10 lead changes and four ties, but they couldn’t pull away.

The Wolverines (11-9, 5-4) were without standout freshman Jett Howard, who missed the game with an ankle injury, and still hung around until the final seconds.

Joey Baker made a 3-pointer – off the glass – with 5.9 seconds left to pull Michigan within three points, but Purdue’s Brandon Newman sealed the victory with two free throws.

Purdue coach Matt Painter said Michigan slowed down Edey in the second half by pushing him away from the basket.

“They got him out a little more, and got him bottled up,” Painter said.

The 7-foot-4 Edey, though, was too tough to stop early in the game.

“He’s one of the best in the country for a reason,” Michigan coach Juwan Howard said. “He’s very effective, especially if he’s 8 feet and in.”

With size and skills such as a hook shot, the junior center from Toronto scored Purdue’s first seven points and finished the first half 7 of 12 from the field and 1 of 2 at the line.

“He did a great job in the first half, going to his right shoulder and using his left hand,” Painter said. “He made four baskets with his left hand which is huge.”

Freshman Braden Smith had 10 points for the Boilermakers.

Purdue’s defense ultimately denied Michigan’s comeback hopes, holding a 22nd straight opponent to 70 or fewer points.

Hunter Dickinson scored 21, Kobe Bufkin had 16 points and Baker added 11 points for the Wolverines, who have lost four of their last six games.

Dickinson, a 7-1 center, matched up with Edey defensively and pulled him out of the lane offensively by making 3 of 7 3-pointers.

“Half his shots were from the 3, and that’s a little different,” Painter said. “His meat and potatoes are on that block. He’s the real deal.”

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Boilermakers got the top spot in the AP Top 25 this week after winning six games, a stretch that followed a loss to Rutgers on Jan. 3 that dropped them from No. 1 in the poll. Purdue improved to 7-2 as the top-ranked team.

BIG PICTURE

Purdue: Edey can’t beat teams by himself and he’s surrounded by a lot of role players and a potential standout in Loyer. The 6-4 guard was the Big Ten player of the week earlier this month, become the first Boilermaker freshman to win the award since Robbie Hummel in 2008.

“Fletcher is somebody who has played better in the second half, and on the road,” Painter said.

Michigan: Jett Howard’s health is a critical factor for the Wolverines, who will have some work to do over the second half of the Big Ten season to avoid missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015. Howard averages 14.6 points and is the most dynamic player on his father’s team.

ROAD WARRIORS

The Boilermakers were away from home for 12 of 23 days, winning all five of their road games. They won at Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan for the first time since the 1997-98 season and beat the Spartans and Wolverines on their home court in the same season for the first time in 12 years.

UP NEXT

Purdue: Hosts Michigan State on Sunday, nearly two weeks after the Boilermakers beat the Spartans by a point on Edey’s shot with 2.2 seconds left.

Michigan: Plays at Penn State on Sunday.