I guess I'm saying I was annoyed. Sure, it wasn't their fault that the Ostrich and JJ used their super-powers to completely disappear offensively in the second half...nor was it Morris and Larrivee that caused Purdue to miss 11 of 18 free throws (Hummel was 6-6...everyone else was awful). But, those two shills, like most of their counterparts in the business, simply reveled in the Madison energy as they sopped up cheese and crappy beer during timeouts, along with their heaping scoops of Bo Ryan adoration.
But, Ryan is worthy of a ton of credit.
If you tuned into the Handsome Hour a few weeks ago, you heard J and I debate this very game. Before Purdue had reached a record-tying 14 wins, I saw this as a stumbling block. Wisconsin is simply too good and too defensive-minded to be owned at the Kohl Center.
Keaton Grant called the Wisconsin series a growing rivalry earlier in the week...and I gotta agree with KG...for a lot of reasons. As IU has languished on the vine, the Wisconsin series seems to have take some of that intensity in its stead. Much like IU, Wisconsin fans wear red sweaters, over-react to every foul called at their homecourt and seem to be super-classy! Yeah, I like 'em a lot. Also like the IU of yore, Wisconsin has a coach that seems to be able to control officials like marionettes. A few exchanges, specifically come to mind- both Moore and Hummel had two fouls (on separate occasions) within a twenty-second period. It seems the Birdman had planted an idea in the head of the officials that they simply had to make a reality.
Don't get me wrong, Purdue didn't lose because of the officials. If they were able to hit free throws or turn up the intensity on the defensive end or have ANYONE other than Smooge step up offensively, Purdue have been able to get inside 9 points before the waning minutes of the game. But, much like Purdue typically does, Wisconsin took Purdue out of their offensive flow and deserves credit for that...But Moore deserves credit for being the only guy who could consistently create chances to score.
With the 73-67 loss, the record-tying Boilers move to 14-1 and are in a cluster of one-loss teams...and will probably drop 15 or 20 spots in the polls as they are deemed unworthy of any mention with the three undefeated teams and of course, the two-loss Blue Devils, who will take Purdue's spot in the top-4. At the same time, if you follow WVU's model, Purdue should skyrocket to the top of Pomeroy's computer poll...right?
There seemed to be a confluence of "inevitabilities" coming together in Madison on Saturday afternoon. But the good news, is Painter's team comes back home for the next contest in just three days and can start a new streak...even better, they get to play Wisconsin in just 21 days. Like the Paint Crew, I'm sure the players are already excited about that game.
-There was a 10:00 stretch in the first half in which Purdue had Wisconsin complete confused and frustrated. Usually, they save such a period for the early second half.
-JJ had an OK-looking line (7/10/2), but Wisconsin dared Purdue to shoot from the perimeter, and it paid off greatly. They collapsed not only on Johnson, but anyone else who posted up and gave Purdue room on the outside. Matty's boys simply didn't make them pay.
-Not only is Hummel not shooting as well as he has in previous seasons behind the arc, his shot selection made it look like he was well-aware of the stats. On numerous occasions in the second half, he seemingly passed up good looks in favor of passes...and on the occasion that he decided to shoot, he air balled.
-Moore's gumption kept this game much closer than it could have been as he seemed to be the guy that was willing and able to beat Wisconsin's defense.
-Purdue's defense that has confounded very good this teams was simply not up to snuff today...and because of that, the offensive opportunities weren't as plentiful as they had been in the last 7 or 8 games. Purdue seemed lethargic at times, especially in the second half. there is no doubt that if this becomes the norm, Purdue will struggle to compete for the BT title (I don't think it will, by the way).