Not a good night for the BTN. Almost as bad a night for Purdue, as the Boilers struggled through an atrocious first half, shooting only 23%, to trail by eight at the break, 29-21. I had faith the Boilers could overcome this Western Carolina team with even a moderate improvement in the second half, and I turned out to be right, as Purdue rallied to win 65-60. Not that any of us got to see it, as the BTN lost their feed midway through the first half and never got it back. This was after those first ten minutes were intermittently littered with interruptions....
...and then returns to the action. But we'll get to all that.
|So glad he's back|
Rob Hummel led the Boilers with 19 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal, and two blocks. I don't know about you, but I think Rob is more than comfortable in his role as the number 1 option, something that more than a few people raised as a concern before the season started. He looks comfortable out there, hustling as much as he always did, being a leader by example, and always seeming to be calm and in position.
Lewis Jackson had 15 big points, including 9 of 12 from the FT line. Lew also left the game with a limp (according to reports -- I didn't see it, remember) and officially logged 24 minutes.
Kelsey Barlow had a crazy stat line (I would have loved to see this game!), with 6 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, a block, 2 turnovers....and FIVE fouls. All in 27 minutes. Weird.
DJ Byrd again played single digit minutes. Hope he's back to strength soon.
Ryne Smith had a steady 9 points, all from beyond the arc, and also added 6 rebounds and 3 steals. Jacob Lawson continues to be a guy I like, as he turned in a six point performance, along with 3 blocks in 21 minutes. Yes, he fouls a lot. Yes, he's got to work on his free throws. But the raw talent and good composure for a freshman is very fun to watch.
Purdue continues to struggle in the post, however, and this is indeed becoming a major concern. If the Boilers shoot poorly, as they did in the first half tonight and in the second half against Xavier, they are going to lose more games than any of us are comfortable with. And this nonsense at the free throw line -- Purdue missed seventeen free throws tonight -- only makes things more irritating. They have some time to work these kinks out before conference play begins, but the issues are becoming epidemic and regular. Not a good sign.
Now, since I wasn't able to see much of the action, let's get back to talking about that abomination.
What made it even more keystone cops-ish was the fact that the BTN decided that while Purdue was (kinda) worthy to put on the network, they were only really sort of worthy. So the network that generated more than $220 million in ad revenue in 2010 elected to half-ass the broadcast tonight and have Eric Collins do the play-by-play with an analyst whom I cannot remember from the studio in Chicago while watching....
...the same troublesome feed we all were being subjected to. This led to me being somewhat amused when the feed was first lost (approximately 5 seconds into the game -- no, I am not kidding), because Collins sounded a bit distressed. And why not? When you're actually at the game you're calling, you simply continue calling the action and apologize for the technical issues and do your best to describe the action.
But Collins was not there. He was, presumably, in Chicago. Which also means that we'll never see this game replayed because, well, there is no commentary. Unless the BTN elects to have the commentary track recorded and added to the footage of the game (if it exists) and then air it as a replay. But think of the level of effort involved there. They can't even bother to send their broadcast team to West Lafayette -- why would anyone expect them to do something to remedy their problems?
Isn't this one of the reasons the BTN is headquartered in Chicago? To be right in the heart of Big Ten country?
And then, Mike Hall -- after being rather cheeky and goofy during the halftime report -- takes to Twitter and derides Purdue fans as "rude" because of the notes he's seeing on there:
Hey, sorry everyone! But back off! We're working on it! You serfs should be happy with the Bo Schembechler soul-crushingly boring Icons documentary we tossed on the screen!
I gently pointed out to Michael that ripping frustrated Purdue fans is probably not the best approach right now and that being the face of the BTN has its downs to go along with its many, I am sure, perks. Oh, and also? Welcome to Twitter, Mike. Sometimes people are mean. Time to grow up and put on your big boy pants.
Let's be clear here. Purdue fans had every right to be pissed off tonight and to take out their frustrations on the multimillion dollar network that is supposed to be a professional broadcasting entity. The BTN's primary focus -- far above all else -- should be broadcasting games. Not the Icons series, not what failed coaches like Gerry DiNardo or Glen Mason think, not clever Journey commercials...but games. And they failed miserably this evening.
The Big Ten Network should be ashamed of themselves and should make it clear that they will never let this sort of joke happen on their airwaves again. But they won't, because they really don't care. You're not going anywhere.
(Incidentally, if you do wish to contact the nice people at the BTN, their address is 600 W. Chicago Ave, Suite 875, Chicago, IL 60610. Their phone number is 312 665 0700 and their fax number is 312 665 0740. I encourage you to express your displeasure.)