Filling It Up

Alright, now our Boilers are 2-0 with wins over two teams they should beat easily...and they beat both teams in exactly that fashion while scoring over 80 points in successive games (a feat they didn't achieve in all of '07/'08). Lew Jack is paying dividends in fact that his pace hasn't been matched by either opponent yet, Kramer's defense is Kramer's defense and both the Ostrich and Smooge are scoring when they want to. Purdue looks like a team that should be ranked...but we won't know more until some of the beasts of the schedule (Duke, Davidson, etc.) collide with our Boilers. What we can do is take a small stroll down memory lane...

This time last year, Purdue was also 2-0...But none of us really knew this team. They had beaten Bethune-Cookman handily, and then squeaked out a victory versus Lipscomb. In the Lipscomb game, Purdue was down 40-35 at the end of the first half. Defense tightened down in the second half allowing only scoring 22 in those final 20 minutes. The next game, the fans at Mackey showed how unimpressed they were with the previous victory...and only 8,000 fans showed up for the thrashing of Loyola Chicago.

History repeats itself as LC comes back to Mackey...but this time the game is worth a little something. If Purdue wins, they'll head to the NIT winner's bracket in NY...that could be a very good learning experience for Jackson and the rest of a team that, let's remember, is still dominated by Sophomores and Juniors.

Here's what we know about Loyola Chicago. They are 1-1...they beat Georgia, whose injuries seem to be hampering them at this early stage in the season. But, they lost to Rockhurst by allowing the same team to score 86 points. I honestly didn't know where Rockhurst was before writing this...and if given the choice between choosing if it was a real school or a fictitious one from a Stephen King novel, I'd guess the latter. I guess I'm not ready to heap praise upon the heads of Loyola's never good to lose an exhibition...especially by allowing the opponent to score points in bunches.

But, the Ramblers of Loyola Chicago are led by a bunch of Seniors and a of those players, Blount, nearly scored half of LC's points versus Rockhurst (42) and has been a scorer his entire career. In fact, he's the one of only six players in the program's history to average double figures as a Freshman and has gotten better each season...last year, he was all-Horizon League...and versus the Boilers, he had 17 points. Our pal, Chris Kramer will try to make sure he doesn't score 42 points again this evening.

I always think it's good for a young team to gain experience by playing a bunch of upper-classmen for a lot of reasons. That said, there's no reason for us to think Purdue's opponent tonight should beat the Boilers. If things go ideally, we should see JJ have a big night as Loyola has no one taller than 6'8" on the roster...and history doesn't serve as a good omen for the Ramblers as they've only won .307 of their games v. Big Ten opponents. They're picked to be eighth in the Horizon...but Purdue was picked to be 8th in the Big Ten last year; you never know.

My prediction for tonight- Purdue gets off to a fast start as Painter will focus on drumming that into the heads of his Boilers after their lackluster start v. EMU. I'm looking to see a lot of Purdue's bench as the back-to-back games may yield some rubbery legs...this is when Purdue's conditioning should show itself as effective or ineffective.

Purdue 76
Loyola Chicago 61

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