Team preview: Purdue

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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)

Mackey Arena must have seemed like a triage center to Purdue coach Matt Painter last season.

He lost two seniors (David Teague and Carl Landry) to torn anterior cruciate ligaments and a promising freshman (Nate Minnoy) to a torn medial cruciate ligament. That's the top three scorers for the Boilermakers for those paying attention.

Transfers weren't safe. Gordon Watt, who was sitting out last season after playing his freshman year at Boston College, had a patella tendon debridement on both knees to clean up scar tissue.

Even the walk-ons went under the scope. Geno Parker (15.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 4.0 apg) -- the son of former Purdue standout Eugene Parker (1975-78) -- received a medical red-shirt last season after having hip surgery.

"It was everybody, whether you could play or not," Painter said. "There wasn't a whole lot you could do. You can't trade during the year for some draft picks. We just tried to stay positive and have productive practices and keep a healthy mind and do the best we could."

It's not a reach to say the Boilermakers' best this year could make them a contender for their first Big Ten title since 1996. Purdue returns 10 players of its battered and beaten squad from last season. (It would have been 11, but UConn transfer Marcus White had his career end because of a bulging disc in his back.)

Painter's second season as head coach should look nothing like his first.

"Last year I wasn't thinking about a Big Ten race," Painter said. "I was just trying to get guys to improve and go into the following year competitive so we could get in a Big Ten race."