|Not even singing the plays got
through to the Boilers tonight.
You would have to go back to the '08-'09 season to find the last time the Boilermakers lost to the Illini. Starting in the 2009 Big Ten tourney, the Boilers began winning against Illinois and hadn't stopped until tonight. DJ Byrd falls to 7-1 in his Purdue career against the Illini. Yes, I'm grasping for something fun to write about. This is all I've got.
The Boilers were manhandled tonight by a good team, but not a great team... and not even a team that was playing great. Sure, the night started out looking awesome: a reeling Purdue team that has lost every Big Ten loss by double digits playing a 9 PM midweek start in a ho-hum environment on the road with Tim Doyle at the mic for the Big Ten Network. Who doesn't look forward to that sort of tease?
You know all those times we've made fun of the Big Ten Network by thanking them for sending real humans to cover the game in retaliation for the time they didn't send broadcasters to Mackey and their relay truck apparently incinerated itself? Well, Tim Doyle might be their antidote to that. Okay, BTN, we relent. An empty broadcast booth is better than Tim Doyle on his best night. And as the expression goes, the less said about him, the better.
Which brings us to Purdue basketball. Mercy.
There are many points during a bad season where you ask whether the team has hit rock bottom. With football, we're often able to pinpoint it -- and under Danny Hope, it was usually pretty easy to identify. But with Matt Painter's basketball program, it's rarely easy. Usually just when you think the rug has been pulled out, the Boilers regain their footing and make us all believers again. That hasn't really happened this season. There was that span early in the Big Ten season where it looked like the Boilers had improved and were learning and coming along. And then there has been the past couple of weeks.
The Boilermakers are still actually beating the bad teams on their schedule (@ PSU, @ Nebraska, etc.) but they're getting absolutely worked by the good teams and mercilessly pummeled by the very good teams. This is not a good trend.
There are many rumors out there about some transfers happening after the season. We have nothing concrete so we won't be spouting them here, but there is also a lot being said about Matt Painter's frustration level with this team and his inability to get through to them and coach them. These guys are indeed talented, but they're not as cerebral as Rob Hummel or as coachable as Chris Kramer or as smooth and emotionally-even-keeled as E'Twaun or JaJuan Johnson. Is that an indictment of Matt Painter? Obviously, you're free to judge for yourself on that one. We're of the opinion that he's allowed a bad season after the many good ones and, frankly, it's been no secret that he's been out-recruited in recent years and that this season is the rotten fruit of that situation. So if this was sort of predictable, maybe we need to just move past it.
Speaking of Coach Painter, he showed his fire tonight -- perhaps it was the frustration of the season bubbling to the surface, but ol' Matty lost it on the officials and got himself two technicals and what we believe is his first ejection as Purdue's head coach. In fact, b-dowd's unofficial count of Painter techs was only at about five going into tonight, so Matt added 40% in a few seconds. Word was he shouted at the official, "What's he got to do?" perhaps in reference to what has to happen for a foul to be called (Sandi was kind of mugged, which is what prompted Painter to leap off the bench and look as though he wanted to strangle the official -- all while keeping his suit buttoned perfectly, gentleman that he is). Seems a bit weak to call a tech on to begin with, but with the Boilers down big and clearly circling the drain, Matt got his money's worth. Sandi attempted to divert Coach away and Anthony Johnson even put his hands on his coach -- for a second -- but both young men seemed to see a look in Painter's eye that told them to just let him go. He is the boss, after all.
There were some on twitter who loved this ejection for the fire it showed and there were also some who said it meant nothing. We're not huge into "meaning" in those sorts of situations, but we've been wanting Painter to show at least a little fire for a while now. In fact, if he chewed on officials a bit more regularly -- like some Big Ten coaches -- maybe he wouldn't be tossed when he did get worked up. Just a thought.
Maybe Painter couldn't bear to watch this brickfight play out any longer. Illinois, as I said, didn't play particularly well (43% from the field, 28% from three, 11 turnovers), but the Boilers managed to be worse (38% FGs, 38% from three, 17 TOs). This is a beatable Illinois team, as Purdue proved earlier this season and as other teams have as well. In fact, to put it in perspective, these two squads have identical Big Ten records. But Purdue never seemed to have a chance tonight. That's an ominous sign, particularly with a road game in Bloomington looming on Saturday. And if you think Crean, Shehe, and the rest of those classless punks wanted to rub Purdue's nose in it a couple of weeks ago in Mackey, just wait until you see Ass Hall. The staff of the Indy Star will need smelling salts to stop feeling woozy they'll be so orgasmic.
Back to tonight, the Boilers got 18 from Terone, who had a decent game, hitting 5-11 from the field, including three treys and four boards. He also had three TOs, though, so he gets some demerits there. Byrd and Hammons were the others in double digits with ten each. The starting five combined for 14 turnovers, which is kind of awful. Eight of the ten players who saw time had turnovers, with the only two who didn't playing only three minutes each. Sandi Marcius made everyone watching smile a bit as he continued to hustle and appeared to be playing the hardest the entire game, finishing with six points, four boards, a steal and a block. And perhaps that's why Painter was so irritated when he couldn't get a break and have a foul called in his favor.
Whatever the case, Matt Painter saw enough tonight and lost his marbles briefly. Interestingly, it wasn't an overall fed-up-with-the-refs situation, as the Boilers only had 12 fouls called against them all night. So the theory that he'd just gotten sick of this season holds more water. We'll see how the team and he appear in Bloomington....closer-knit? More focused? Same as before? Let's hope it's something we're not expecting, otherwise it will be ugly.