Our pal Sara summed it up well- it was like a bad dream. Indeed. In Painter's five years, with the exception of possibly the loss to Wofford, there hasn't been a truly embarrassing game. Furthermore, The Big Three, this Senior class and this coaching staff...heck, maybe no Purdue team in the last 23 years or so has, has put in such a poor effort. And make no mistake- this one's at the feet of everyone from Matty to the trainers (sorry guys...everyone's culpable). But, one might argue that poor efforts have reared their ugly heads a few times this season, and this wasn't new. From the awful performance v. MSU (16 second half points, while allowing 27) to the loss at Purdue v. aOSU...In fact, take away the Ostrich's legendary 29-point first half, and Purdue had a mere 12 points...kinda familiar. Without Rob's sharp shooting, the team would have shot in the upper-mid-3os...no where near the collective 27% we saw yesterday.
Bad starts are something Painter's talked about quite a few times, but this one was for the ages...everyone needs to move on. But it might be hard to do.
Things gotta change. Perhaps the rotation needs to be shaken up again as Moore's shooting, with the exception of one game, has been awful since his pal went down with an ACL injury...in fact, his free throw shooting has even been affected. I'm not saying to bench Smooge, but I am saying something needs to be done. Maybe it's a player's meeting, maybe it's watching this painful game tomorrow in the film room and having the sobering realization that it wasn't just a nightmare...but something's gotta change. If not, an unthinkable one-and-done in the dance is well-within the realm of possible.
This team did something that I didn't think they could do- they made me really doubt them. Now hear this- I'm still going to cheer for them, get crushed when they lose, spend too much time thinking about match-ups and not be shocked if they lose...But this one was a shot to the collective psyche of the Purdue family. I think we all hurt this morning.
Before yesterday's game, after listening to hours of blah blah blah from the heads, I was convinced that Purdue could not, and would not help themselves with a tournament championship...Maybe Matty believed it too...and/or the team thought that was the case. So they were looking ahead to the big tourney. Heck, their bigtime effort in last year's BTT didn't do them any good...maybe they thought bowing out wouldn't hurt 'em too badly. And honestly, it probably wouldn't have...if they hadn't lost in such a completely catastrophic manner.
But they did.
Coach Painter said the guys looked gassed and Minny didn't...from my comfy chair, I'd say he was right. And in my opinion, that was mental. Remember when you were 19 or 20 (for some of you, it's pretty easy to do). I remember playing ball at the Co-Rec for three hours on Friday night and starting Saturday morning the same way...I didn't get tired. Neither do these guys who are trained and tuned to play this game, play it well and play it often. Purdue, at some point, made a decision that it wasn't of the highest priority to give it all yesterday...and nearly-every stat backs this up. From only rebounding the ball 32 times while allowing 55 rebounds, to allowing Minny to shoot 50% to settling for fade-away jumpers instead of trying to get into the lane- this one was decided before the tip-off.
So, while I might really hate it, all my Boilers did yesterday was make ill-informed jacks like Goodman, Katz, Lunardi, Lavin and others look like geniuses...at least when Purdue's the topic. And me thinks the drum that they've been beating coupled with what we all witnessed yesterday will combine to give Purdue a 3 to 5 seed. Something that we all thought was nearly-impossible just 48 hours ago.
But things are what they are...and now it's time to move on, one way or another. With Grant & Moore shooting horribly, Jackson possibly injured, Johnson (and everyone else) not being in the mood to rebound or mix it up under the basket, my favorite team is a shell of itself. While I want to compartmentalize this last game, I'm having a really hard time doing it.
Hopefully Matty and company can.