Your weekly Purdue Men’s Basketball snark, and other snidbits from around the Boilermaker Universe.
Once, forever and a half ago, my buddies and I took control of the juke box at Harry’s Chocolate Shop. Loosened by the spirits of the establishment, we dumped a bunch of money into the music box, and played George Thorogood and the Destroyer’s song “One Bourbon, One Scotch, and One Beer” approximately 10 times in a row, paying extra for the “play it next” feature.
Why not? It is a tremendous song, and we wanted to hear it 10 times.
The song is 8 minutes long, and we figured that listening to nearly 1.5 hours of the same song over and over would really be an entertaining, good time. For us, it was a party, for others, it was probably grueling.
Either way, it was hysterical. Also, if you’re not familiar with the song, go ahead and Click below. Listen to it, and come back to this article.
Anyways, one of my favorite lines in the song is, “I said, but I’m tired, I’ve been walking all day… ” Seemed fitting this week.
The Boilermakers just got off of a grueling stretch, playing 4 games in 8 days, winning 3 of them. While I am sure that their grueling stretch has nothing on our grueling Thorogood marathon at the Chocolate Shop… I am sure that these players will happily accept the much needed rest.
Also, the Harry’s bartenders pulled the plug on the jukebox after the ninth playing of the song, figuring that the thing was broken.
No, Mr. Barkeep… that jukebox wasn’t broken. It was bringing the thunder.
The Boilermakers traveled to Columbus to take on the #15 Buckeyes. A sandpaper like game saw the Boilermakers down double digits, but a second half surge led to last-second heroics from freshman Jaden Ivey. Ivey drilled a step back 3 pointer with 5 seconds remaining, carrying Purdue to a 67-65 road victory.
Following the Ohio State game, Sasha Stefanovic tested positive for COVID-19. Without the highest percentage shooter from 3 in the B1G, Purdue struggled with the #7 Michigan Wolverines. Nobody found their stride, as Sasha’s absence lessened Purdue’s inside-outside ability. Michigan being one of the nations elite teams, cruised to an easy victory 70-53.
Break It Down:
There is plenty to be excited about from the Ohio State victory. There is also plenty to be disappointed in from the loss to Michigan.
Both Ohio State and Michigan are excellent teams. The two contests show the juxtaposition of a competitive game and a convincing loss. What is the difference? A full roster… and Michigan is really good.
The loss of Sasha is incredibly important to the flow of the Boiler offense. His leadership and outside threat changes how defenses react to Painter’s team. Competing with one of the best teams in the nation is a tall task in itself. Doing so without one of the best players on the roster makes it even tougher.
What Went Well:
- Juevos!: Jaden Ivey has always been that player who lets it all hang out. He just wants it, and is willing to sacrafice his body to get it. While he still struggles due to his youthful exuberance on occasion, his step back shot against OSU was incredible. I’ve said since Carsen Edwards left the program that Purdue needs a closer on the squad. Ivey is calling “dibs” on that position right now.
- Its the little things: Against Ohio State, Aaron Wheeler impacted the game greatly in the final few minutes. He set a tremendous screen to free up Sasha for a late three. He blocked the shot to lead to Purdue’s game winning possession. He committed the brainy foul at the end to force OSU into free throws instead of a desperation three point attempt. Did he score 40? No. Did he contribute to the victory, absolutely. Without him, Purdue may not have notched that W.
Opportunities for Improvement:
- Scramble…: In the chaos from when Sasha Stefanovic was diagnosed with COVID-19 to the point where Purdue was playing a top 10 team, was a matter of 2 practices. Patching a gaping hole in your roster within 2 days is very difficult, let alone against an elite team. In that chaos Purdue had to rely on youth to fill in for an established player. That youth, understandably, did not answer the call. Again, tall order. As this team grows, the parts will become more interchangeable, creating the ability to adapt to these sudden changes. None the less, get well soon, Sasha.
- Basket. Ball.: The name is in the title. Put the ball into the basket. That is how you score points. Against Michigan, Purdue shot 20/65 (30.8%) from the field, including 2/12 (16.7%) from 3 point range. That is not going to win
anymany games in this Big Ten. We know this team can shoot. There is talent on this roster and every player is entitled to the occasional bad outing. The balance of this team is both a blessing and a curse. While not one player will single handedly carry this team, there isn’t that alpha player who can will the team to a bucket. On that occasion where things aren’t falling for multiple players, you will find yourself with scores like the Michigan game.
- Efficiency matters…: Trevion and Jaden were the leading scorers against Michigan. They scored 14 and 12 points respectively. They shot 19 and 14 shots respectively. Their shooting percentages were 31.6% and 21.4%, respectively. There is much go be said about trying to make things happen. Someone needed to try something. High volume shooting without success is not an encouraging scenario for the normally efficient Purdue offense.
Big Man on Campus:
Who else could it be? Jaden Ivey hit the biggest shot of the season, and trended nationally on Twitter because of it. His growth as a player will only continue, and he will eventually become a Purdue legend. He has the skills. He has the drive. He has the passion. He has the humility. He has it. He just needs to continue putting it together.
He is the hit and miss, hot and cold player that some folks get frustrated with. Just like Carsen Edwards. When it clicked for Carsen, he was phenomenal. Jaden Ivey has that in him, and will thrive. Jaden Ivey will lead this team into a very bright future.
A Look Ahead:
Purdue has 8 days off which is definitely needed after the 4-1 stretch that they Boilers just got off of. They grace our screens again on 1/30 against the #17 Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Purdue has another chance at knocking off a ranked foe… Will this be their 4th ranked win of the season? Saturday will tell the tale. While Purdue is the unranked team, they appear to be a slight favorite in early markets.
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