Our pal John Wadas was kind enough to put his thoughts on today's throttling of WVU and represent the BS quite well. And while the using copious amounts of the word "we", when referring to our Boilers, definitely isn't something J and I like to do regularly, I can say we really appreciate our guest entry this evening.
J and I will be back to our old tricks in the near future as both of our future-Boiler offspring have now arrived.
Thanks very much, John!
Beautiful Beginning to a new decade
It is a beautiful day/year/decade to be a Boilermaker. Today’s thumping of West Virginia by our old gold and black was a great start for what promises to be a special 2010 for Purdue basketball. Going in I felt that we would have an advantage simply because of the fact that West Virginia had played so many trying games in the past few days. With what the Mountaineers have been through lately, I figured they’d have to be gassed (Ebanks, in particular, had chalked up 85 minutes over the last two games). However, I was concerned about their size against ours. While they don’t have any giants, I was fearful of matching up with a team full of guys Hummel’s size. Their wealth of pure talent was concerning to me, too. I’m all for our brand of team-oriented basketball, but you have to at least sweat a little bit knowing that a few lottery picks are coming to Mackey. But, by the end of the day we showed the world that size and NBA ability aren’t everything, and that a great basketball TEAM can make a group of future basketball professionals look like they couldn’t even hold their own at the co-rec.
The key today was that we made West Virginia play our game, taking them out of their comfort zone. We systematically wore them down with defensive pressure until they broke, causing 17 turnovers along the way. We ran our offense smartly and efficiently. We used our discipline and experience to maintain focused intensity for 40 minutes. We rotated our bench into the game very effectively, avoiding too much trouble after Hummel and Kramer picked up some early fouls. All in all, I feel that the Boilers came away with a complete, dominant, and well-balanced victory.
As for a few of my thoughts throughout the game...
-West Virginia had no answer for Jajuan Johnson. They seemed content to stick a short guy on him after switching on screens, giving him easy access to the hoop. Whoops. Today showed me that the key to us playing like the number 4 team in the nation is having Johnson on the floor and out of foul trouble. We’re a completely different team without him.
Robbie, while not the Boilermaker of the day in my opinion, had an excellent outing, going 7-8 and dropping 18. It was great to see him nailing outside shots. That’s the Robbie we need to have the rest of the season.
-Smooge was solid today, having a good game on both sides of the ball. I love that he’s finally finding some the consistency that he lacked as a younger player.
-Kramer, as usual, didn’t dominate the box score, but shut down whomever he was guarding. This didn’t go unnoticed by the announcers, but they didn’t quite have a Jimmy Dykes level of adoration for ol’ Mr. Shutdown. I’m convinced nails eat Chris Kramer for breakfast.
-Barlow continues his maturation process and is making strides every game. He’s shown he’s strong and not afraid to cut to the hoop. He just needs to finish better. The minutes Kelsey’s getting now will be invaluable to our team in the future. He will become a fine player for this team at this rate.
-I thought Ryne Smith had a pretty solid outing, knocking down shots, getting rebounds, and playing good D. He’s making the most of the minutes he’s given, despite the inordinate amount of shot fakes. I think, at this point, the other team would be more faked out by him actually shooting. But, humor aside, he’s a very important contributor to this team and is coming along well.
-The Paint Crew, while not at full strength, was a game-changer today. With their help, Mackey was the loudest today that I have ever heard it. When Hummel forced the 5 second violation, which was my favorite play of the day, by the way, it was so deafening in there that I didn’t even hear the whistle blow. Amazing job by all in attendance today.
-Bob Huggins loves windbreakers. The rest of his staff was in suits and ties while ol’ Huggy Bear looks like he just came in from a jog (erm, I mean trip to Old Country Buffet). Good coach? Sure. Good recruiter? Sure. Good dresser? Definitely not. He was also outside his box jawing with the refs an awful lot today. With all the attention that’s supposedly being paid to keeping coaches in line, he sure seems content to test the rules. We were clamoring for a T all day.
If today was truly an Elite 8 caliber-game, as Jay Bilas put it, we should feel good about planning a trip down I-65 in late March/early April. Here’s hoping we can recreate this every night.