Poll Dancing: Desperately Seeking 40
Week after week, I talk about the opportunity at hand…and tomorrow’s game versus Maryland is yet another game in which our Boilers can go a long way in helping themselves for their tourney seeding. The BT race is all but over as IU has sole possession of the lead thanks to the win over Purdue and Iowa’s rapid decline. But all is not lost…yet.
I had an off-site discussion with a few pals this week about how disappointed I was with the way this season has unfolded, especially in conference. Purdue is in a rhythm of losing about one out of every three games they play. And the result of playing OK is a current 8 seed in the conference tourney (if it was to be played today).
I’m not sure even the biggest Painter apologists can talk their way out of that. This much talent, this much depth…eight-best team in a conference that is down. That’s not good. Sure, aOSU will probably drop a spot and put Purdue up to 7th before the end, but not finishing in the top-3rd of the B1G seemed like silliness in late December…but now, it’s the Forces of Good’s lot.
In-game inconsistency is really the culprit for the lackluster Big Ten record. Purdue will play stretches of inspired basketball, but can’t seem to play more than 20-30 minutes of winning ball. As a result, games that should be blowouts are close and games that are winnable have turned into losses.
So what does an 8th place in the B1G earn you nationally? Surprisingly, Purdue is still pretty damned respected by the computers and human beings that conduct polls.
The BSCR for this bye week is solid at 18.4. Not bad for a team that hasn’t earned much other than victories over teams in the lower half of the conference consistently.
Tip-off versus Maryland is 4:00…I’ll be in a packed Mackey Arena along with LBD, and for some reason, I think Purdue will win by seven points. A game in which RayDay remembers that he’s allowed to score double digits and Hammons flexes enough muscle to shatter a Diamond Stone.
Hope I’m right.