Boilers Save The Worst For Last
Foolish. Plain foolish.
It took me two seasons to really buy in and have childlike faith in my Boilers again...and it didn't pay off. There is only one that thing warrants that type of faith, and it isn't Matt Painter. I knew better, but ignored logic. I hoped for good timing; I got the worst-possible timing. I talked myself into believing a fairy tale; but Purdue isn't Cinderella.
I wanted, hoped and tried to will Purdue to the next level...but it's not happening; and it doesn't feel like my Boilers are even close to belonging in the conversation. While other programs expect great things, we merely hope for them.
Kansas was the best team in America all year...and I really knew it. When my son and I would talk about who was impressive to me, I'd always answer Kansas...then UNC was someplace behind them because of the sheer length of that squad. Even still, those stringbeans down in Chapel Hill, look like underdeveloped athletes...Kansas, while undersized, looks like a bunch of men.
Our Boilers are men too; but it's not the same. The Junior class has developed into a group of guys that are no longer overshadowed easily...but this group of gritty, likable guys, who helped re-establish the culture that Matt Painter wanted, ranged from 2-4 stars out of high school. The thoroughbreds from Kansas...those five-star, McDonald All-American players, beat up on our Boilers, stole Matt Painter's lunch money, politely asked for his girlfriend's hand (she obliged)...then threw the ill-gotten lunch money down the sewer because they didn't really need it.
Kansas left no doubt what happens when the elite meets the good. If you want to blame tonight's 30-point loss on poor timing by the basketball gods, or excellent execution by Kansas, that's up to you. Instead, I will say this: It's unacceptable for a team like this year's Purdue team to lose by 30 points when facing elimination...check that; EVER.
The margin of victory is an indictment of the coaches and the players alike. Kansas played a great 10-15 minutes...and in doing so, made Purdue look like they weren't worthy of playing on the same court. While a loss is a loss, this is one that Purdue fans, and the college basketball world will remember. The score seems to indicate Kansas was playing a 16 seed, not a Power 5 conference champ...That's a shame.
THIS Purdue team didn't get blown out all season, really, prior to tonight. They had crappy first halves...but would storm back at least to make the final score somewhat respectable. Tonight was unprecedented for this unit -- They got overwhelmed in the second half...really an 11 minute period decimated this team...and it's flat-out lousy that we don't get to see one more game with THIS Purdue team; just to rinse the nasty taste out of our mouths, and theirs.
Part of me finds it hard to believe the nature of this loss, and the way this season ended, sit well with Purdue's All-American...That is a tough way for a competitor like Biggie to end his college career.
I don't think any Purdue fan will forget about the regular season success that this team achieved and everything that came along with it. Sadly though, this loss will make it harder still for me to believe in something bigger for my Boilers come next March.