Coming off of a big victory versus a highly-ranked opponent, you're typically going to see a letdown. J was worried there would be one, and there was...We saw it this afternoon in Mackey, but timing was on Purdue's side as IU was the opponent. This game sure didn't feel like a rivalry game to me...with the exception of Dumas throwing a cheap shot after the play at Kramer, and bumping into Buckets at the free throw line between shots, there wasn't too much to write home about. Granted, I didn't see Hummel's concussion (I was in the little boys' room), but my brother said it didn't look cheap to him. Other opinions vary on the message boards...if only the BTN had some fancy editing equipment, maybe I would have been able to see the replay. Maybe they'll be able to afford some next season.
Here are my thoughts on IU's players today- I was impressed with Verdell Jones ability to create scoring opportunities...and Malik Story looks like a handful because of his larger-than-average build and strength. Pritchard looked alright, and Roth is just like Rick Mount (wink, wink). Kyle Taber's play was a thing of beauty, as usual. Dude is a sexy beast.
On the good guys' side, Smooge was a monster. He nearly reached his career high and hardly shot in the second half. He had a great shooting night (71% from the floor), but still turns the ball over a bit too much, for my liking. Johnson had another big game- 14pts. 10 reb. 5 blk...but he had four turnovers like Moore. Kramer's stat line was good, and probably should have been better. He had at least one block shot stolen by the officials and ended up with 7 points on 3-3 shooting, 5 steals and 4ast., but was in foul trouble for most of the game. LewJack had a quiet game (like much of the line-up), didn't play a ton of minutes, but showed his speed and quickness on a few plays as he accelerated past the IU defense...that said, he missed a couple easy shots- missing layups is something that should happen at this point in the season. KG regressed back to the form we saw earlier this season going 0-3 from the field, at least he had three assists. With the exception of Moore's shooting it was really kind of a meh game.
The real story of the game is the fact that Purdue left 15 points on the floor. Smartly, IU fouled Purdue a lot in the last 5:00 to try to lengthen the game, and Purdue responded by missing the front end of a few 1-and-1s and missing at least half of the two-shot opportunities. If Purdue would have shot their average (70%) from the stripe, they might have had a bit more breathing room in the end. Regardless, they didn't...they let a horrible team hang around and stay within a 10-point margin for most of the game. The lethargic effort almost seemed as if Purdue would only push itself when the game got around a 7 pt. margin...then, they'd build the lead to 12 or 13, and let it fall back to 7...repeat. You can see how Purdue kept IU at an arm's length ad nauseaum:
Two things were noteworthy about this game, to me- First, Purdue allowed IU to score over 64 points...and won. Our Boilers are now 1-6 when they allow teams to score more than 64 points. I think it's actually a psychological positive to win a game like that; it's going to have to happen in the tournament. The second thing that was noteworthy was how the forehead makes me nervous- not because I think his teams will dominate, but because he's almost twitchy he's moving so often...and clapping, and sweating, and making unusual faces. Granted, Painter's lip-licking tick is unusual, but dude, Tom, just take a break for 10 or 15 seconds per game...I'm just saying.
We also learned that Burr, Valentine, Hillary and Hightower aren't the only lousy refs in the Big Ten. A new crappy official has joined their ranks- Congrats Brian O'Connell for missing a wide array of violations. You're in horrible company now, as you know.
Next up, UM in AA on 2/26 @ 9:00pm...This one is the most bothersome game remaining on the regular season schedule, for me.