Purdue coach Matt Painter has lamented that last season’s Boilermakers squad, led by eventual NBA lottery pick Jaden Ivey, failed to reach lofty expectations, plateauing early after being No. 1 in the country for a week during the non-conference season.

Those Boilermakers flamed out in a Sweet 16 loss to NCAA tourney Cinderella Saint Peter’s.

He’s hoping these Boilermakers, featuring deep and talented bigs but inexperienced guards, can maximize their potential. And if so, then perhaps another trip to the Sweet 16 is attainable, or beyond if Purdue catches advantageous matchups or breaks.

Purdue is loaded up front, with returning starters Zach Edey and Mason Gillis, plus Caleb Furst and Trey Kaufman-Renn, who will debut after redshirting last season. But the questions for the Boilermakers are in the backcourt: Who will replace the scoring punch of Ivey? Can Braden Smith run the point from Day 1? Is Brandon Newman, banished to the bench late last year, ready to capitalize on being a centerpiece once again?

Let’s take a look at 10 things about the Boilermakers and a prediction:

All-frosh backcourt

That Smith started in the Boilermakers’ “secret” scrimmage vs. Cincinnati late last month wasn’t a surprise.

That fellow freshman Fletcher Loyer did as well was a bit more eye-opening, as the Fort Wayne native got the nod over Newman, who is hoping he can reclaim a big role again this season. But Purdue’s coaches love Loyer, not only because he gives the Boilermakers needed scoring punch from the perimeter but because he has a better all-around game than many realize.

Painter hasn’t stopped praising Smith, Purdue’s only true point, saying during B1G media day that the Indiana Mr. Basketball should have been a top-75 recruit, or better. And pointing out that outsiders would soon see what he had. Smith has a maturity beyond his years and might be the Boilermakers’ most prototypical point since Lewis Jackson more than a decade ago.

Pull for Newman

Few scholarship players in the history of Purdue basketball are as beloved as Newman.

Boilermaker fans have embraced the former 4-star prospect, because they’ve seen him enjoy early success — he had a 29-point game 2 seasons ago vs. Minnesota — before slumping and falling out of the rotation late last year. But rather than transfer to seek another environment, Newman decided to stick it out at Purdue, thinking he could rediscover his game. And fans, who have invested in his journey, love him for it.

Now, Newman has to show that his offseason work, trying to become a more well-rounded player, rather than one who relies only on shot-making, has paid off.

Defense lives here … again

Purdue didn’t play very Purdue-like last season. The Boilermakers ranked 7th, right in the middle of the pack, in the Big Ten in points allowed (68.4), opponent field goal percentage (42.4) and 3-point percentage (33.2).

Not terrible, but not what the Boilermakers have grown to expect over the last 40-plus years, first under Gene Keady and now Painter. Without the same scoring punch of a year ago, when Purdue was the 2nd-best scoring team in the league at 79.4, the Boilermakers will want to embrace fundamental man defense (and rebounding) more than a year ago.

It helps that Ethan Morton, a lengthy 6-foot-7 junior, moves out to the wing, where he’ll be able to more frequently lock up with the opponent’s best perimeter scorer.

Edey’s minutes

Edey is likely to dominate again this season, as the 7-4 giant is almost unstoppable when he gets the ball deep in the paint.

The only real question is the number of minutes he can play, now that he’s not sharing the position with fellow All-Big Ten selection Trevion Williams. Last season, Edey played only 19 minutes per game, yet averaged 14.4 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 1.2 assists.

Purdue doesn’t need the big man to suddenly play 35 a night — it’d probably be impossible for a person of that stature to do so — because the Boilermakers have sophomore big Furst to backup at the 5, but if Edey could turn in 5-8 more quality minutes, then he becomes even more difficult for opponents.

TKR’s impact

The start of Trey Kaufman-Renn’s collegiate career was set back a year, when the former top-40 recruited suffered a knee injury in November that forced him to redshirt.

But the 6-9 forward is healthy now, and ready to be a big-time contributor to the Boilermakers by adding depth in the front court. Likely the backup to Mason Gillis at the 4 spot, Kaufman-Renn brings a different look to the position, mainly because of his ability to create for himself. He might be a matchup nightmare for opponents because of his versatility of scoring; he can beat bigger defenders off the dribble or take smaller ones in the paint.

Against Cincinnati in the closed scrimmage, Kaufman-Renn was the Boilermakers’ leading scorer, per reports, pouring in 15 points off the bench.

Jenkins’ fit?

Painter had a giant priority in the offseason: Find help in his backcourt, where Purdue not only needed another point guard option but a scorer as well.

He found at least half of those characteristics in Utah transfer David Jenkins Jr., a shooting guard who averaged 8.5 points for the Utes last season while hitting 53 3-pointers (at a nearly 40 percent clip). The year before, Jenkins was 3rd-team All-Mountain West after scoring 14.8 points per game at UNLV.

The shooting touch, one would hope, will translate to the Big Ten. But what about the point? After Smith, the rookie point guard, Painter will have to find a backup to take minutes directing Purdue at the offensive end. Maybe Jenkins is an option, although not a natural one. Perhaps Loyer could fill the role, although he’s more of a scorer as well. Maybe Purdue moves Morton, who is likely to play on the wing this season, back into the 1 spot, a position he played in high school and had been recruited to play at Purdue.

Painter’s on-court answer will be closely watched to start the season.

Next 7-footer

Purdue will wait a year to debut its next 7-foot center, as Swedish big man Will Berg is set to redshirt this season, giving him a year of development before he puts on a uniform.

Berg, a 7-foot-2 center from Stockholm, brings a European style of game than Purdue’s previous 7-footers, like Isaac Haas and Edey, who both do a bulk of their scoring inside the paint. Berg has more mobility, can face up and even has range to the 3-point line, but adjusting to the physicality of the Big Ten — and NCAA basketball — might take some time.

Assuming all goes according to plan, Berg will start to see minutes next season.

Single-play break?

Of the 6 Big Ten opponents that Purdue will play only once this season, 5 are likely to finish in the top half of the league standings.

So perhaps the Boilermakers got a bit of a break in the B1G schedule release. The Boilermakers will play Illinois, Iowa and Rutgers only once, and get them in Mackey Arena. They’ll travel to Michigan, Northwestern and Wisconsin. Among those, only the Wildcats are projected to finish in the bottom half of the conference standings.

3-point bombs

The Boilermakers hope they can repeat their 3-point accuracy of a season ago, when Purdue led the Big Ten in long-distance shooting at 38.4 percent. Purdue also hit the 2nd-most 3-pointers in the league, with 315 makes, behind only Iowa (331) in the 14-team conference.

But shooters Sasha Stefanovic and Eric Hunter Jr., as well as Ivey, are departed, leaving the Boilermakers with a bunch of unproven, at least at the collegiate level, shooters. But guys like Smith and Loyer, who shot well in high school, might only need opportunity to show they can do so now. And they’re certain to get that chance.

Embrace the underdog

For decades now, the Boilermakers have excelled at times when less is expected.

It happened during the Gene Keady Era and now during the Painter, as well. Most prognosticators are penciling in the Boilermakers as the Big Ten’s 5th- or 6th-best team, not a contender for a Big Ten title. It’s likely where Painter and company are most comfortable.

As a frontrunner last season, the Boilermakers looked uncomfortable, and within a day of ascending to No. 1 in the country, they had lost. And as the season wore on, Purdue never quite rediscovered its early-season groove. This Purdue team, one would hope, has a chance to build as the season goes on and peak at the right time, in March rather than November.

And a prediction

The Boilermakers have advanced to at least the Sweet 16 in 5 of the last 6 NCAA Tournaments, going to the Elite Eight — and within an eyelash of the Final Four — in 2019.

Purdue has enough to get to the Sweet 16 again this season, although it might take a 2nd-round upset to get into the Tournament’s 2nd weekend. But that’s an attainable goal, if the Boilermakers’ front court is as good as advertised and the backcourt can provide enough scoring punch.