And People Wonder Why We Have a Complex
Boilerdowd once said to me “and people wonder why we have a complex” when we were talking about yet another media slight, and it’s sort of become a recurring theme. It’s almost always applied to basketball because, honestly, when has football been underrated in recent years? And yes, we probably expend too much energy bashing Seth Davis, Jeff Goodman and a litany of other clueless basketball “experts” each year. But we just can’t get past their short-sighted, not-clever-at-all “analysis.” It’s like B-dowd once said about Mark May: “The guy just watches highlights and then talks about teams like he knows something about them.”
So under the theme of “and people wonder why we have a complex,” it’s time to start looking at what’s been written about your Boilermakers for the soon-to-begin college basketball season. If bulletin boards were still a thing, there are several bulletin board-worthy treasures already out there, such as noted IU homer Eamonn Brennan saying this:
“Purdue has a potential lottery-pick center in A.J. Hammons, but what else?”
Yes, Eamonn. What else, indeed. Only six four-star recruits have joined the Boilermaker ranks between 2012 and 2013, but hey, I wouldn’t expect you to notice that since it didn’t happen in Bloomington. Or perhaps you were distracted by Tom Crean’s really genuine religious tweets. Or maybe ol’ Eamonn is just convinced that the Boilermakers can’t possibly survive the loss of DJ Byrd. I’m just a simple man, so I don’t know. (Also, Eamonn, there’s no reason to hyphenate “lottery-pick” there.) [UPDATE: zlionsfan points out in the comments that in this instance, the hyphen is indeed appropriate, as "lottery-pick" is a compound adjective describing the center, whereas I was looking at it narrowly and saying that "lottery" describes the pick. Point taken, sir. I will now await your next post with my red pen handy. - J]
The greatest utter nonsense from the ESPN ranks this week, though, came from this guy named – and I’m not making this us – Bradford Doolittle. Seriously. If you were going to make up a name for the stereotypical, typing-in-mom’s-basement internet writer, could you do better than Bradford Doolittle? Anyway, I digress.
Bradford regales us with his season preview of the 2013-2014 Boilermakers, in which he has them finishing – get this – tenth. That’s….kind of incredible. Especially since last season the Boilers – in an awful season for what is expected of this program – finished only six games out of first place and tied for seventh in the league standings. Who will be passing them, one wonders? Northwestern? Nebraska? Penn State? Maybe all of them. (It’s worth noting that a couple people on twitter have said it appears to be a typo of sorts and that Purdue is actually projected at sixth in the conference, as noted at the top of the article. While that’s possible, a lot of Dolittle’s remarks suggest Purdue is in a tailspin. Regardless, it says tenth and so the choice is to mock ESPN for their poor research or their poor copy editing – take your pick.)
Doolittle's subhead on his article is:
“Shallow recruiting classes have left Matt Painter's squad thin and outclassed.”
If other teams nabbed that many highly-touted recruits in the state of Indiana in a short time, they’d be lauded and talked about as a #1-in-the-nation contender. Oh wait, it did happen recently, right down in Bloomington. And wow, the Hoosiers went to the Sweet 16. Nice work, boys.
“Outclassed” is also a hell of a word to choose to describe a program and a coach. It’s a heavy word that implies a lot these days. As I said, I’d remind the players of this every chance I got. And for that matter, I’d remind Matt Painter of it, too.
Here’s another beauty, pulled from the thumbnail of Doolittle’s article:
Haunting. Matt Painter’s recruiting of six four-star athletes and several more three-stars with big upside and some intriguing senior transfers is so bad it’s “haunting.” We’ll see, I guess, but I can say with certainty that it’s not been Matt Painter’s recruiting that we’ve ever questioned around here – it’s been what he’s been able to do with that talent recently. If the criticism is placed there, we think it’s quite fair and appropriate and that this next few years will make or break Matt Painter’s legacy as Purdue’s head coach. But to suggest he’s been a bad recruiter just smacks of being ill-informed (which is evidently a prerequisite to work at ESPN covering college basketball).
We’re past the point of caring if Purdue is “respected” nationally by MSM writers who let SportsCenter and a screaming Dick Vitale tell them who is good. We really only care as the season winds down if Purdue is in tournament position – at that point, the rankings do matter in terms of a good seed, placement, etc. However, we’re going to point these articles out when we see them just to illustrate (though many of you know) just what level of analysis Purdue has been given.
Purdue’s season tips off in two weeks. I know I’m ready.