Purdue prepares for full slate amid uncertainties pandemic could bring

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INDIANAPOLIS – Purdue Basketball is trying to prepare for its season amid uncertainty whether Division I teams will start competing as scheduled November 25.

As programs nationwide kicked off official practices Wednesday, Purdue announced Tuesday its decision to push back the team’s first official practice to October 21 due to contract tracing protocols from the COVID-19 pandemic.

While Big Ten member schools do not have their schedules yet, Purdue head coach Matt Painter is hoping to play a full slate, noting the impact non-conference wins have on a team’s overall success.

“That’s such an uncertainty because everyone’s trying to put their schedules together with contracts, dates, and availability. So, this has been really, really challenging for all of us,” Painter said. “Hopefully, we can all have a full non-conference schedule so we can play well and win games. That can really set the tone for our league.”

Due to setbacks influenced by the pandemic, Painter admits his players are not performing up to his standards yet.

“I don’t think anyone is where they would be if there wasn’t a pandemic,” he said. “I think everybody would be in a better position. But with that being said, it’s the same for everybody in college basketball. There’s no competitive advantage there.”

Painter said he expects Purdue to compete in the Crossroads Classic in December.

It is unclear whether fans will be allowed to attend games at Mackey Arena this season.

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