12/12/2022 Boilermaker Water Cooler Chat: Close Call Edition

Photo: Mark Elsner

Rants, ravings, and somewhat sensical opinions following the wild, wacky, and wide-wide world of Purdue sports

Do you think, given 1 million monkeys, 1 million typewriters, and an infinite amount of time, that they could produce Charles Dicken’s “A Tale of Two Cities”?

Known as the Infinite Monkey Theorem it claims that given a very long time, that these monkeys will accidentally churn out a literary masterpiece, as ridiculous as it sounds.

Not to pull back the curtain at ISC or anything, and despite what you readers probably believe, I am not a monkey sitting at a typewriter. (Editor’s Note: Fact Check, True)

This theorem was alluded to in the season 4, Episode 17 of the Simpsons, entitled “Last Exit to Springfield”. In this episode Mr. Burns has thousands of monkeys randomly typing on time writers. When sampling some of the monkey writing, Mr. Burns reads the produced text…

It was the best of times it was the BLURST of times? YOU STUPID MONKEY!

-C. Montgomery Burns (Simpsons S4E17) 3/11/93

Ever since I saw that episode, this quote slipped its way into my everyday vernacular. To the unaware, the line, “It was the best of times and the worst of times” is the opening line to the 1859 classic novel A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens.

Although a tremendous feat for a monkey to randomly type the -almost- Dickens quote, it wasn’t quite right… I guess we’re going to need a few more monkeys and type writers to get this right. Just like my weekly columns.

As for the Boilermakers this week, it was a tale of two games. The #4 basketball team looked strong against one opponent, and looked very weak against another. Although they won both games, it wasn’t comfortable in the latter.

Since they won, Saturday wasn’t the worst of times. It was the BLURST of times.

The Games:

Hofstra 66, #4 Purdue 85:

The second of two BTN+ broadcasts on this season, which means one thing… I will be enjoying the radio broadcast!!! Luckily the Boilermakers didn’t need my sharp eye on the visuals, as they started out very strong, then played even the rest of the game.

Zach Edey led the way with 23 points and 18 rebounds. Braden Smith, Trey Kaufmann-Renn, Caleb Furst, and Fletcher Loyer all scored in double digits. Boilers played the game they needed to play, and took care of business.

Hofstra Photo Gallery (Mark Elsner): https://snapsbyme.smugmug.com/Purdue-Mens-Basketball/22-23/Hofstra/

#4 Purdue 65, Nebraska 62 (OT):

What initially seemed like it could’ve been a laugher, ended up being heartburn producing. Having jumped out to a double digit lead, and holding it for the majority of the contest, the circus entered town.

A firework-esque display of poor officiating burst in vibrant shining colors. The Carnival Barker interviewed Nebraska’s Football coach for the first 5 minutes of the 2nd half, completely oblivious to the audience indifference. The incredible Nebraska acrobats made shots from seemingly impossible angles. The crowd rose to their feet, in awe and shock at what spectacle they were seeing. The strong men were shoving men around the floor, and the lion tamer snapped his whip across the Boilermaker forearms on defense. As sure as a circus ring, the officiating came full circle. The very shoddy officiating which allowed Nebraska to come back from a double digit lead, was the same shoddy officiating that helped Purdue win. At least this time the awful call at the end of the game went in Purdue’s favor… for what that’s worth.

Fletcher Loyer played like a stud in his first Big Ten road game. Scoring 22 points in a very hostile Cornhusker filled arena is not easy in most circumstances, but doing so as a freshman, when nobody else on the team is getting anything done offensively makes it even more impressively. Zach Edey was crosschecked bodied up for most the of the game, being two hand shoved around the lane. He was immediately double teamed, forced to pass the ball out. Even though the officials allowed incredible physicality on the big man, Edey nearly had a triple double with 11 points, 17 rebounds, and 7 blocks.

Break It Down:

A tale of two ballgames for the Boilermakers left this week with a sour taste in their mouths. Luckily that sour taste comes following two victories, rather than a loss. Purdue handled business against Hofstra, despite some runs from the Hofstra Pride offense. Against Nebraska, Purdue looked good for 30 minutes of the game, but allowed an inferior opponent to surge back and nearly steal the game at the end.

Saturday against Nebraska was the first time that Purdue looked rattled. There have been times this season in which the Boilermakers haven’t played well, but occasionally against Nebraska, panic took over. Some of that has to do with young leaders in the backcourt. Some of that has to do with the missing of calming influence Mason Gillis. Some of that has to do with Purdue shooting uncharacteristically poorly from the field. Some of that has to do with Nebraska being a pretty decent team, playing passionate defense.

Whatever the exact ratio of all of those factors led into Saturday’s performance, doesn’t matter. Purdue got tested, and Purdue answered the test. Was it pretty? Nope. Was it stressful? Absolutely. As my buddy and I chatted about after the game, the Big Ten cannibalizes each other. Winning on the road in this league is immensely difficult. Good for the young freshmen leading the way in a very hostile environment, their first time doing so!

What Went Well:

  • Double Double Bubble Bubble Gum: Zach Edey is a double double machine, currently averaging 22 points and 13.7 rebounds per game. With the way he protects the rim and passes the ball, Edey could flirt with a triple double this season.
  • Freshmen, with emphasis on the MEN: Braden Smith and Fletcher Loyer have been thrust into the spotlight early this season, and they have not backed down. It is not unheard of for either player to score 20 points, or to make the gritty play that is needed.
  • Hello Newman: Brandon Newman had a rough sophomore year, being behind Jaden Ivey on the depth chart. In his limited time and roll last season, Newman often pressed. This season, Newman is letting the game come to him. Although he is only averaging 7.7 points per game, he is doing it efficiently. He is playing great defense, he is rebounding well, he is hustling during all of his time, and he is providing a great calming influence in the second line. This week he calmly drained some incredibly important free throws against Nebraska, when nobody else out there seemed to be able to make a freebie.

Opportunities for Improvement:

  • RELAX: When Nebraska was making their run on Saturday, Purdue looked wound tighter than a pocket watch. This is difficult when your two most frequent ball handlers are freshmen. Glad that the young players got this one through their system in a victory.
  • Take the Shot: Nobody on this Boilermaker squad shot particularly well on Saturday (39.7% from the floor)(24.3% from 3)(60% from free throws). When you’re not shooting well, it is possible to get pensive. During the last 10 minutes of regulation, nobody from Purdue seemed like they wanted to shoot. Boilers were making the “extra” pass when they were open. Water finds level. Everyone on this squad can hit it, but you have to take it.
  • It took this long into the season to say this, but…: The Big Ten Officiating is the laughing stock of college athletics, remaining in the same spot for the past twenty, thirty years. Yes, fair readers, I fully believe that Purdue got the -benefit- of a questionable call in crunch time against Nebraska. Purdue was also on the butt-end of dozens of questionable calls throughout the game. Nebraska? Nebraska was also on the butt-end of dozens of questionable calls throughout the game. By that math, there were at least 2 dozen questionable calls from the Purdue vs Nebraska game alone. Anyone doubt that? ANYONE? Damn right you don’t. There’s a reason why teams from the Big Ten do not perform well in the post season. They’re conditioned to play a freak-brand of basketball due to the likes of DJ Carstensen, Larry Scirotto, and Courtney Green. Hell, I would probably take Bo Boroski over these officials… I am nauseous just typing that. Regardless, these people need to be held accountable for their awful performances league wide.

Big Man on Campus:

Fletcher Loyer is a bad, bad man. Loyer carried the Purdue Boilermakers against Nebraska, coming up with 22 huge points. He looked like he wanted the ball when nobody else on the team wanted it. He had a huge posterized dunk late in the game, in which he finished through traffic and an uncalled foul. The best part? Loyer only hit 2 threes, still scoring over 22 points. One of these days everything is going to click, and Loyer is going to be a problem for opponents.

A Look Ahead:

Purdue has entered their finals week, so the basketball slate is light. The (as of this writing) #4 Boilermakers will host Davidson on 12/17, their only game this week in the Circle City.

For more content like this follow @ISC_Purdue on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. For a deeper look into the mad mind of Ben Kolodzinski, follow him at @BRKolo on Twitter. WARNING: Viewer’s discretion is advised…

About Benjamin Kolodzinski 93 Articles
Blending the passion of a sports fan with years of media experience, Ben Kolodzinski is a unique personality for ISC Purdue. Since the 2017-18 NCAA seasons, Ben has written weekly columns for ISC, with a style that can only be described as snarky, irreverent, and often times irrelevant. A 2008 graduate from Purdue West Lafayette, Kolodzinski has worked for several local and regional media outlets. Best known for his television and radio work at Lakeshore Public Media (Lakeshore Public Television, and 89.1 The Lakeshore), Kolodzinski helped grow Northwest Indiana's only nightly news show Lakeshore News Tonight, along with The Region's only local sports shows Prep Sports Report, and Prep Football Report. As of 2022, Kolodzinski hosts Lakeshore Gamenight, a prep football radio show and cohosts Lakeshore PBS Scoreboard, a prep football TV highlight show. Kolodzinski is known, locally, for having a fun loving and gregarious personality, and for attempting to inject humor into his reporting... sometimes successfully.

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