Rants, ravings, and somewhat sensical opinions following the wild, wacky, and wide-wide world of Purdue sports.
I grew up just south of Lake Michigan, in Northwest Indiana. The Region.
One of many things that The Region is famous for, is copious amounts of snow that will wreck someone’s week in a few hour timeframe. You see, for the readers who aren’t familiar, Lake Michigan creates its own weather phenomenon called “Lake Effect Snow”. Lake Effect snow is very difficult to predict, and impossible to know the severity.
No snow predicted? Lake Michigan gives you 10″ and a driving 30 mph wind from the north. Weather man says look out for heavy lake effect? You get a dusting. The neighborhood next to yours, buried. Your house? Inch or two.
When I was a kid, and the conditions were right for a lake effect disaster, I had to get up at buttcrack-dawn, and watch the WGN morning news ticker to see if the foot and a half of snow on the ground was worthy of a snow day. It was like watching the NFL draft. Chesterton Schools, cancelled. Portage, cancelled. Valparaiso Community schools, open. Michigan City, LaPorte, Merrillville, Hammond, Gary, all closed. Kids now a days get an automated telephone call or text. They didn’t know the struggle to find out if you got a snow day back then.
Purdue kind of got a snow day this week. While it wasn’t snow, the Michigan vs Purdue game was cancelled, due to COVID concerns within the Michigan program. Luckily everyone appears to be alright.
For the Boilermakers, it was an unexpected day off. When I was a kid and had a snow day, I would get an extra hour or two of sleep, then watch the Price is Right. I imagine there weren’t many showcase showdowns for our beloved Boilermakers.
The unexpected day off for Purdue appeared to be filled with defensive drills, and by god they appeared to have worked.
Purdue 92 Nebraska 65
Boilermakers got out to a hot start, only to keep their foot on the gas. Led by Zach Edey’s 22 points, three other Boilermakers scored in double digits. Purdue also forced 17 turnovers including 7 steals, while only committing 10 themselves.
Break it Down:
Purdue’s unexpected day off gave them an opportunity to refocus. By solidifying the defense and getting back to the basics, Purdue returned to the level which we expect them to play.
Now, in fairness, this is against the Fred Hoiberg era of Nebraska Cornhusker Basketball. This is not the same Fred Hoiberg who got fired from the Chicago Bulls. No, this Fred Hoiberg is much less successful.
Any victory is good in the Big Ten. Purdue dropped two early, as they seem to frequently do. The margin for error is razor thin if they want to win the conference, so a victory over the Corn Huskers was imperative this week.
Zach Edey’s 22 pts and 9 rebounds in 20 minutes of play is quite impressive. Made even more impressive that his opponent, Derrick Walker Jr. was talking such tremendous trash, while getting schooled. Even the announcers got a chuckle out of that.
Ivey continues to do Ivey stuff. He had a solid game with 17 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists, with only 1 turnover. Furst, Williams, Sefanovic, and Gillis each supported the cause with 10, 10, 9, and 8 respectively.
What was particularly impressive to me was the welcome sight of Brandon Newman and Eric Hunter impacting the game. Hunter had 8 points, and showed intensity on defense. Newman had 6, and added 2 steals to the stat line. These gentlemen are a key cog for the Boilermakers, and we need everything we can get from them.
Big M[e]n On Campus:
Eric Hunter Jr. Brandon Newman.
Brandon Newman. Eric Hunter Jr.
We seem to forget that a year ago both of these guys were starters, and darn good ones. While the lineup has changed, both of these players have had ups and downs this season settling into their new role.
If these two players continue to show up like they did against Nebraska, Purdue is bound for good things.
One Final Note:
On a personal note, my father in law, Jim peacefully passed away this weekend. The patriarch of his family, Jim will be tremendously missed by his wife of 44 years, his son, his daughter (my wife), and 5 grandchildren. We’re heartbroken. We will miss the love he showed his family, his sharp, cutting sense of humor, and his immensely entertaining stories.
Jim was never much of a sports fan. He didn’t dislike sports, but he didn’t pay much attention beyond the final score. What Jim did do, however, is support me in my media endeavors. He would always watch my television spots, despite them being on way past every reasonable person’s bedtime.
A good lesson to take from this is, don’t take life for granted. This circumstance was unexpected, and very quickly evolving. You never know when things are going to change. All it takes is a few moments. Live your life, give your love.
A Look Ahead:
The Boilermakers have one unique basketball week ahead of them with two marquee games away from Mackey Arena.
Monday… at noon EST… [checks notes]… FREAKING NOON??!!
So apparently Purdue will play Monday at Illinois at noon eastern, 11AM Central. I, having a day job that doesn’t have Monday off, am none too happy about this development. The biggest game of the Big Ten schedule this season, is on a Monday, when the majority of viewers will be working. Great job, Big Ten. SMRT! Anyways, Purdue appears to be a slight dog in this contest, but this game is essentially a pickem’.
So, by the time you are reading this article, that game could have started. Apologies for that. Blame Kevin Warren for yet another boneheaded move.
Thursday, Purdue travels south to take on the Indiana Hoosiers. If you remember them, they are the Cream and Crimson clad squad from Bloomington. While improved from last year, Purdue has had success in their gym, and success recently/historically in the basketball series. Boilers should be the favorite, but this is a rivalry game. Anything can happen when these two teams meet, and it usually tends to be a good one!
If Purdue can win both of these games, they are setting themselves up for success. If they lose one or [gasp!] both, then a B1G Title and a 1 seed opportunity will be very difficult to achieve.
Time to Boiler Up! Hammer Down!
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