Boilers, As Always, Make It Interesting

As you know if you read this site, your Boilermakers held off a brick-throwing rally by the Northern Iowa Panthers yesterday to win their 11th straight first round NCAA game, 61-56 in Portland.

I spent the game doing a "liveblog" for Deadspin which, I have to tell you, is a little nerve-wracking, even for a handsome, James Bond lookalike such as myself.

At first, I couldn't get the stuff to publish as I was allowed access in the morning to test it out. And then, as gametime approached, my MMOD feed kept buffering, like, every 15 seconds. Not good. And then when I finally got the Purdue-UNI game up in front of me, the audio was from.... the Tampa Bay Rays preseason baseball game. Seriously, CBS? How does that happen? It was back when you'd sometimes get crossed phone lines (the readers under 30 are saying, "wait, crossed what now?")

The rest of the feed came in decently until, predictably, I lost the feed with 46 seconds to go in the game and when it came back all jumbled, the score had changed. Awesome when you're literally providing the game action for people who can't watch. The good news is there were 3500 view of the post and so if you're here because you linked over from Deadspin, welcome. We're a little nicer here. But not much.

As for the Boilermakers, when they came out of the gate playing well, with JJ and E'Twaun looking sharp, I -- like all of you, I'm sure -- felt good. And taking a 32-20 halftime lead when Robbie was doing almost nothing was also a nice feeling. But for as much as Dan Bonner and Kevin Harlan of CBS were talking about how badly UNI was getting outplayed, they'd had it a single-digit game until just before the half. And so yeah, they weren't playing well, but it wasn't a blowout. And that worried me.

I spoke to Boilerdowd at the half and he said I had nothing to be worried about. UNI looked slow and unable to run with the Boilers. They were also having every shot contested and were being pressured starting 25 feet from the basket -- something they did not look accustomed to. I was openly wondering why they weren't just tossing it down low to their 7'1" 290 lb tree, Jordan Eglseder. 'Dowd pointed out, astutely, that JJ's arms are too long to allow that. But JJ was outweighed by 75 lbs. Still, I will admit, I did feel that even though we weren't blowing them out, there was no way a defense-minded team like the Boilermakers should lose a game when leading by 12 with 20 minutes to go.

And then our streakiness came back. The cold shooting in the second half was jarring. Purdue could hit nothing, and it was made more jarring by the fact that the Boilermakers continued to outrebound UNI and caused quite a few turnovers. Converting those into no points is a bad, bad trend. It gives the opponent hope and allows them to relax a little.

In the end, UNI really wasn't a very good team but Purdue did what they've done too often this season and played to their level, seeming to lack that killer instinct to crush a team that is wobbling on the ropes. This will not do against a team like Washington.

More to come...

BS Tourney Challenge After Day 1

Live blogging, yo.