It is that time of year again when the hatred starts to spew and the message boards are lighting up, must be time for the Purdue Basketball game against that school to the south. If you haven’t heard yet, that school from the south is pretty decent this year at basketball, at home anyway. One could argue that this is there first true road environment that they have played in all season, minus
IU's got horses and is as talented as any team in the nation. Period.
As poor of a game coach as Crean is, he's that good of a recruiter...and the fruits of his labor are a well-rounded team that can beat their opponent in a myriad of ways.
Last year, Purdue had no answer for Zeller. In the game at Mackey, Carroll was doing everything he could versus Zeller...but after getting whistled for a bogus foul as Zeller arm locked Carroll, Purdue was forced to try other things to stop the seven footer. Hummel and Marcius weren't any more formidable that day. In Bloomington, it was worse- Purdue had to double- team Zeller; that left Roth open for much to long and he made Purdue pay...over and over again.
This year, both teams are different.
Hammons is definitely a bit better of a match-up...But guarding the premier big man in the nation as a Freshman will be a learning experience for Purdue's rising star. Hulls is no longer running the point, now, IU has a true PG in Ferrell doing the job; his game is much more polished than RonJohn's; at least at this point. But the wings are the toughest match-ups for Purdue.
TJohn will have the nearly-impossible task of trying to slow down Olidipo...then off the bench, Sheehy will probably be guarded by AJ or Byrd. Both of these guys are tremendous athletes that can play above the rim and shoot from the outside.
Basketball is about match-ups...and I don't like this match-up at all.
aOSU kept Purdue at an arm's length with their talented youth and timely scoring. IU is a better scoring team...and a more complete one, at that. We saw Purdue fight for a half versus UM before getting manhandled in the closing ten minutes of the game; I think we'll see a similar outcome here. Purdue's inability to score will kill them first...and their struggles in transition defense will be their ultimate demise.
Hope I'm wrong...But I would be shocked if my Boilers can keep this one as a single-digit defeat. The only thing that might keep them in this is Mr. Harbaugh's ineptitude. I firmly believe he's one of the worst in-game coaches in the nation. If Matty can cheat off of his pal's (Brad Stevens) notes from earlier in the season, it could stay close...but Byrd will need to be knocking down his shot.
Forehead's Squad 77
Rivalries bring out silliness in all of us. We're lucky at Purdue to have such a truly hated rival -- not every school really has this. Oh, they may think they do, but until you've lived this one or one like UNC-Duke, you don't really get it. And that one is just a bunch of rich kids against another bunch of rich kids.... it's kind of evil vs. evil. This one is midwest, Indiana, where basketball belongs... between those who want to rub decades old titles in your face and those who are proud of their program no matter what.
As for the silliness I mentioned, I find myself thinking that I'd make the tradeoff that I'd give up any and all postseason possibilities for Purdue this year in exchange for an ass-whipping of IU tonight. I really would. And I wouldn't make that trade for any other win, in any other sport. Beat up ND but go 2-10 in football? No way. But here, I'll take it. I hate them. I want them to lose. Them and their ignorant, uneducated, mouth-breathing, parroting fans....and their poor sport, talentless jackass coach.
However, I'm also usually a realist and I don't have a good feeling about tonight. It's not that I think a win is out of the question -- it's not. But Purdue is still a young team making young team mistakes at times and going through odd slumps... like letting Iowa close a double digit lead in the final minutes. I mean, honestly, what kind of lead would Purdue need to have to make you comfortable? What if it was 52-27 in favor of the good guys at halftime? I don't know about you, but I'd still be scared to death. This team hasn't been able to consistently close, so I continue to worry.
The good thing is these guys already hate IU and I love that. They also have very little to lose and IU has everything to lose. If you're IU, you cannot lose to Purdue this year -- because you are going to lose to the Boilers in the coming years. So the pressure is on the goobers in the candy striped pants. Here's hoping AJ Hammons makes Zeller begin to doubt himself -- seeing the lemming fans pile on would be wonderful. And here's hoping Tom Crean makes an ass of himself in the handshake line again. Tom, you're so easy to dislike.
I want to see this all happen, but in my heart I think IU pulls it out. (So this post was a great, rah-rah idea!)