'The Marcius Game' and cutting down the nets...Basketball gumbo.

I said it on Twitter a few days ago, and I'll expound here today- Dan Dakich is pretty good at his job when he's not talking about IU.

I started liking the guy while listening to the radio in Indy a few years ago and IU was down.  Every time IU would come close to beating someone, a sycophantic IU fan would call him and say they were back.  He'd quickly shut them down and remind them why that wasn't the case with facts- record, last time they had a big win, etc.

BUT, he changed his tune last year and lost all objectivity when talking about IU as they started winning.  So I've learned to enjoy him, but only when IU isn't in the picture.  Purdue's game v. Wisconsin was one of those occasions. If you're a Purdue fan that can't stand the guy because of his antics while talking about the Purdue/IU rivalry, I understand...but he does know basketball when he can remove his heart from the equation.

Let's not forget that he's a former Bobby Knight recruit and interim IU coach...it's probably impossible to separate from that.  BUT, his knowledge of basketball and his sense of humor are entertaining, at least to me, at times.

As Purdue finished off Wisconsin, he had a couple great points:

First, Purdue was much better with Hammons on the bench on Sunday. Marcius' hustle and attitude made the offense and defense work better...and that's all on Hammons, in my opinion.  Hammons is a superior basketball player, but his attitude sometimes comes off as lackadaisical. It might just be his demeanor or it might be a conscious decision...regardless, Painter doesn't seem to like it when it's in full bloom...and Purdue is not as good when #20 is doing his Joe Barry Carroll impersonation.

But when he's good, there's no one on Purdue that's better.  I guess these are the growing pains of a Freshman who is growing into a role; hope so anyway.

Second, Dakich referenced the Wisconsin game as "The Marcius Game".  He said next season, when Purdue is back to where they belong, we Purdue fans will refer to this game as the game in which Sandi took over and made a difference. He's probably right...unless, Marcius can find a way to become consistent.  He's strong, big, works hard and runs end to end...lots of good tools in the shed for 55.  There have been rumors that he might seek to go elsewhere after this season...I haven't heard one credible source to back that up, so I expect Marcius to be back for his fifth year in 2014.  If he wants to avoid Purdue fans referring to that one game as his, he'll have to make some new memories...It'd be great if he joined the line of Rowinski, Sheffler and Riley (big bruising white centers that were forces to be reckoned with) and departed from that of Ten Dam's line (gigantic European players that never panned out).  Time and a few games might tell.

Big Balls?
I didn't see it...I tried to go back and see it, but still couldn't find video evidence.  BUT, Sandi supposedly referenced his lower intestinal fortitude after hitting a few free throws in the closing minutes of that Wisconsin game.  We all know what happened in his action's wake- he went over and shook Matty's hand and apologized for getting out of hand. While Painter didn't love it, Sandi's teammates did...and it showed.

There's no doubt that Purdue wouldn't have been in the position to win that game without DJ Byrd going nutty from deep.  BUT, to beat Wisky's bigs, it sometimes takes a hammer to do it...Sandi's force and clutch free throws cemented the deal.

I don't think we've seen anything close to Barlow's choke sign from a Purdue player in the last few years...but Marcius' alleged Big Ball Dance has some similarities.  But the differences are great too- he didn't direct it at the other team and it wasn't as obvious on TV...nor was it versus IU.  That said, it endears Marcius to me a bit more; he was having a good time playing a kids game...and doing his job while doing it. We haven't seen a ton of that this season.

Victory! (not really)
Cut 'em Down!!
The phrase in entertainment, "The show must go on" was applicable early this morning in Bloomington  as IU kept with their original plan in spite of one pesky detail- they lost the game.

IU was in the driver's seat for an outright B1G title; their first in 20 years.  But, they couldn't seal the deal on Senior night...couldn't beat a team, on their homecourt, that they had shellacked earlier in the season on the road.  Last night's IU loss was like a wet blanket on IU's festivities...well it should have been anyway.

After EsPN cut away from their coverage, IU's Seniors did what Seniors do on Senior night- talk about what they had been through and how far they had come...nothing wrong with that.

BUT, as the crowd thinned, Crean decided they still wanted to cut down the nets. In a sad display of what modern sports have become...and a stark contrast to the Bobby Knight way (in his house, no less), a few hundred people clapped in a half-assed manner as Crean added another trophy to his small-time trophy case.

These nets should fit nicely go along side the Sweet 16 rings from last year.

Last night's post-game stupidity in Ass. Hall is why the "IU Sucks" chant by the Paint Crew makes so much sense, even when IU is good at basketball.  

B1G Race
So here are the standings right now:

As well all know too well, Purdue is an also-ran at this point...But, the interesting part of the puzzle, from a Purdue-centric view, is that Matty's boys will have at least some effect on the race.  An improbable win by Purdue over UM would knock the Wolverines out of a chance to part of the title...they already knocked Wisconsin down a rung this week.  But, this UM team is a much more difficult match-up for Purdue...and who knows how these Boilers will handle a small taste of success.

But we do know that every game effects every other, at this point...And the hard thing about this time of year is I'm forced to root for teams like aOSU, UM, MSU and Wisconsin.

In the grand scheme, my wishes are pretty simple: I want to see IU lose in the tournament before the Final Four...I want to see Oladipo, Zeller, Thomas and Burke all leave for the NBA this year...and I want to see Purdue win a few more games as to have a bit of momentum heading into next season.

Rooting Guide for Season's End

By the Numbers: The Worst of Times, The Best of Times