Purdue versus UConn -- Sweet 16

No, I don't know what happened to Husky's face there, but it appears to be melting off.

So tonight -- in less than an hour -- the Boilermakers tip off against unbeatable UConn. First things first -- we won't be hosting a Cover it Live event here for various reasons, but we love that there's community among Boilermakers so if you're looking to babble amongst yourselves, either use our comments here or go over to Hammer and Rails, where Travis will either host a CiL forum or at least a commenting thread.

Now, about the game.

The general consensus is we have no chance. Sure, we've been playing coy all week but we're not really making much up -- it's assumed that Purdue will lose. And I guess odds are, our boys will lose.

But the games aren't played on paper! You can't measure heart! Hustle doesn't show up in the box score! A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush! (Sorry, I got carried away.)

Truth is, yes, UConn is scary good. They've also been on a mission since you know they heard the media chirping about how maybe they shouldn't have been a #1 seed. They proved their point in absolutely dominating their first two games. But then again, we're not a bottom-half seed. And a lot has happened since the last UConn game.

I'm not usually a big believer in "distractions" having a marked effect. The better team will usually still win. Will Calhoun have other things on his mind? Maybe. But I don't think the players will. If UConn loses, it will be because Purdue outplayed them. Not because they may have had recruiting violations or because of "karma" or "nonsense."

So here's the deal -- if both team's play their games, it'll be tight but I would have to favor UConn. If Purdue goes through one of those spells where they turn into ice-bucket shooters, then it's got the potential to be a double-digit loss. Scratch that, it will likely be a double-digit loss if that happens. UConn is way too good for Purdue to be able to withstand a poor shooting night.

This game for the Boilermakers needs to be like the blowout win over Michigan State. We need to overpower them from the start. The boys need to play with no fear and no hesitation. They need to shoot, shoot and shoot some more. Shooting is off? Shoot until it's back on. And get back on quick. Robbie needs to fill it up, E'twaun needs to be feeling it, CK needs to be playing his customary defense and JJ needs to be a manchild. Is all this a lot to ask? Sure. But is it unreasonable? No way.

No sitting back. If they race out to a 10-14 point lead like in each of the first two games... no mercy! Pour it on! Try to win by 30! It obviously won't happen but if you strive to pummel them, just maybe we'll be able to stay an inch ahead. This is the kind of team that, down 20, you would still fear.

We need our boys to get some bounces tonight, no doubt. But if we get a few of those bounces, and they play like we have seen them play, then tonight you may see one of the biggest wins in the history of the basketball program.

Time to Boiler Up.

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