|"My Name's AJ. No one outside of the Purdue family seems to know who I am...but they will soon."|
It was a big sports day, and we'll talk about some of the other stories in a second, but first, here are my thoughts on what happened in God's country today.
First off, the problem from the free throw line is officially a trend. Purdue was 250th in the nation in free throw shooting coming into the game...after today's 52.2% performance from the stripe, our Boilers will most-assuredly be even worse. Good teams will make Purdue pay for these points left on the floor in the win-loss column, bad teams, like EMU won't be close enough for it to matter.
Coming into the game, I was a bit concerned with EMU's size as they have three players that are around 6'10" in their regular rotation...plus, they play a zone, which Purdue has struggled greatly against in the past few seasons.
The game started well with Hummel scoring on his first two attempts from behind the three point line...and that'll soften up a zone. But, after the first few minutes, Purdue's woes from behind the arc were pretty obvious. The good guys shot 32% from the line, and Smith was only 1-for-7. But Purdue out-rebounded the outmanned Eagles by 8 and frustrated them time and time again.
Kelsey Barlow only had 5 points, 2 rebounds an assist and a steal...but his defense made his presence impossible to ignore as he completely disrupted EMU's offense time and again. TJohn had 4 turnovers...but also had three steals. He missed five free throws...but made a couple shots when the game was a bit closer than it should have been in the first half. He finished with 9 points and is improving, but isn't ready to start; yet. AJ had another solid game and finished with 7 points and 4 rebounds...and had 0 turnovers while running the point a bit in the second half. But if you didn't get to see his put-back dunk in the second half, you missed Purdue's offensive play of the year, in my opinion. Click here for more.
Ryne Smith struggled from three, but still finished with 8 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 0 turnovers. Hummel was streaky, but lead the team with 13 points...but his 8 rebounds were my favorite part of his game. He missed a few open mid-range jumpers, which bothered me a bit to see...but I don't think he's forgotten how to shoot the 15 footer. Byrd played scrappy and seemed to be in the right place over and over again as he scratched and clawed out 6 rebounds...Jacob Lawson showed some finesse around the basket finishing with 7 points, but only 2 boards. I loved what I saw out of Carroll- only one point, but 5 rebounds...and three blocks. Plus, he was just more resolute than he had been the last three games. John Hart saw his first action of the season, playing the final three minutes of the game...but not getting many opportunities to show a whole bunch.
EMU is a pretty bad team, and Purdue treated them as such. EMU's big men didn't look very athletic and weren't, their guards struggled to find space and shots against Purdue's pressure. In other words, Purdue did what they should have done versus some of the other sub-par teams they played this year, and left no doubt. I think the hangover that was around the heads of our Boilers following the X game was flushed out in this one.
Now, Matty's boys get 6 days off before going to Indy to play Butler. I think the break might be a great springboard for this team as they head toward the B1G season.
Special Note: From what I understand, BTN sent live humans to Mackey Arena to sit courtside and talk about what they saw as cameras rolled and the images were beamed to satellites and homes across America. That's nice.
Gangstas Doing What Gangstas Do
I watched Tu Holloway and his
fellow gang members teammates versus Butler at Hinkle Fieldhouse earlier this week and couldn't get over the mouthiness, lack of discipline and unlikable nature of that team and their leader. I even had a discussion with a Xavier fan this week about how easy that team was to hate for me because of the brand of basketball they play. But they gave me more reason to loathe them earlier today.
Now, there's no doubt, it takes two gangs for there to be a gang fight...and Cincy players definitely had a significant role in the melee on the very same court that Purdue lost on last Saturday. But, Tu Holloway threw gas on the fire as he walked down the court yelling at Cincy's players, pointing to the court and getting into his adversary's face. After that, Holloway's henchmen, Lyons and Wells did his bidding for him.
After the game, Holloway said he was disrespected and and his gangsta teammates took care of the conflict for him. X's classy coach, Mack did nothing (as he seems to do each game) in the wake of the on-court riot saying he wasn't in the position to suspend players...Conversely, Cincy's Coach Mick Cronin saw the incident as embarrassing and disgusting...and continued saying some of his players might never play for Cincy again.
Like it or not, IU's Back
In the last few weeks, I've been asked if part of me wants IU to be good again. I always answer 'No'...because the reversible jacket fans come out of the woodwork in the Indy area as IU succeeds and I'd rather never see or hear from any of those people for the rest of my life. But, beating a crappy IU team over and over really doesn't help the rivalry, and isn't very gratifying- we've said that before.
Well, IU is now 9-0 and has not only beaten a good team, but one of the best in the land in Kentucky...and will probably ranked in the low teens come Monday afternoon while Purdue remains unranked. So I really don't see a scenario in the next few season in which IU will be back in the cellar of the B1G.
The Paint Crew has chanted "IU Sucks" for a few years...and I actually like it. I don't yell it myself, because I think it's something that should be reserved for students. But, it kept the rivalry burning as it got colder and colder on the court...I'm all for that. But, Clappy's team no longer sucks.
The irony about this evening's win to me is that it came off of an assist of Verdell Jones to Christian Watford. I think both of these guys are good players, and I've been saying that for a few seasons as Crean's lemmings told me that IU didn't have any talent. In fact, many IU fans told me that Jones was a bum and Watford should transfer to make room for all of the good players coming in. I'd bet that tune won't be sung again by
UND football IU basketball fans.
IU fans rushed the court today...for good reason this time. Kentucky had NO business losing to that IU team, but the Wildcats' cockiness and a coach that refuses to care about anything but sending guys onto the league bit them in the ass. That coupled with an IU team that's much-improved and was extremely-motivated to make a statement to Kentucky and the nation. Mission accomplished.
Tom Crean's stupid face after the shot fell made me want to slap the bronzer off of his shiny forehead. Congrats to the IU fans out there who aren't tool bags (I can think of four).
Sumlin to A&M
The apple of my eye in the college coaching market has been Kevin Sumlin for quite some time...and I actually wanted Sumlin to get an interview four years ago as Purdue sought a replacement for Tiller. But neither Burke nor Tiller seemed to think he was the guy for Purdue.
I thought as grublings got loud this season and Hope's support among Purdue fans eroded, he might get a look from Burke this time around. But, it's not going to happen (let's be honest, it was never going to happen) as the ex-Purdue player and coach is on his way to College Station...and the SEC.