Big Ten- E'Twaun Moore, Mr. Moore, meet the Big Ten

I had a friend who's an IU fan make fun of my defense of E'Twaun Moore at about game ten of Purdue's basketball season. At that time IU's Eric Jordan was lighting every opponent up for 30 points and the Hoosiers were shredding their opponents each and every game. At the same time, Purdue was struggling, and the jewel of the Purdue Frosh class looked confused and a half-step too slow. My friend asked me to "let him know how that goes for me..." as the season progresses.

Well, it's going quite well. 'Twaun is starting to hit his stride. Each game, it looks like he's understanding the speed of the college game a bit more. The Fighting Illini allowed an average of barely over 60 points per game. Painter's club scored 83 points on the road v. his mentor, thanks in large part to a seven-minute stretch of offense by Moore and a defensive effort that was flat-out great.

Purdue had yet another lousy start...then got in a heap of foul trouble. Hummel & Calasan both were forced to the bench...Without a signification present in the interior, Big Biz Markie (aka Pruitt) was going crazy once again on the Boilers. Marcus Green provided a spark as the Boilers took the lead with about 11 minutes left in the first half...they hung on to the lead despite good runs by the Illini and in the second half it started getting close with Hummel & Nemanja on the bench yet again. E'Twaun decided to leave no doubt scoring 16 points in a 7 minute span including 10 of 12 Purdue points in one period. He shot from the perimeter, finished underneath and later hit a few free throws.

I'm extemely impressed with this win...maybe more than the Wisconsin win. Why? It's on the road. Nothing was going Purdue's way for much of the game (Grant wasn't shooting well and Robbie "the glue" Hummel was forced out with foul trouble...and Illinois was hitting nearly all of its free throws). But instead of folding on the road, the don't-know-better-Boilers simply just played hard defense and out-hustled a team that doesn't take minutes off. Oh, and by the way, my formula (someone must score 20) continues to work with only one exception this BT season.

Now, at least for a few hours, Purdue sits alone atop the Big Ten at 8-1 (thanks to our pals in Happy Valley). The Boilers have broken the RPI top-50 for the first time all season (they were 100+ as recently as a bit over two weeks ago)...I don't think they'll be ranked come Monday; and I like it that way. Regardless of national respect or publicity, this Purdue team is damned good.

Next up, the newly-confident Nittany Lions for a night cap in West Lafayette on Tuesday.

Wisconsin in the driver's seat

Either Way, The Ride Ends On Sunday