12/13/2021 Boilermaker Water Cooler Chat: Follow the Science Edition

Photo: Mark Elsner

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

Purdue is a science school, right?

Far be it from me, a measly communication major, to preach from the perch of science, but my day job is very -science- so I will give it the old college try. Bear with me. This may seem tedious, but it should make some sense.

“Follow the Science,” they’ve pounded into our brain the past few years… for what its worth. While there is some degree of merit in that statement, “science” as you would define, is really not a dictated truth, but rather a process. It is a method in order to gain evidence towards some conclusion.

Being a method, there are a few standards which keep science on the right track in an agreed upon manner. ISO (International Organization for Standardization) tends to be the most common checklist for process assurance. While ISO doesn’t tell you what is right, it tells you how to assure you are along the right track.

ISO preaches the following: Plan. Do. Check. Act.

You make a plan. You do the plan. You check to see that the plan is performing properly. You act to change the plan if it is not.

While this may work with quality assurance systems worldwide, this could just as easily apply for basketball teams.

You make a gameplan. You do the gameplan. You look at the final score to see if the gameplan worked. You change the gameplan to make sure that whatever it is doesn’t happen again. God knows that Painter needs to do some reviews of this process.

Miriam Webster defines the Scientific Method as the following:

Principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.

How does science relate to the current Purdue basketball product? In all honestly, the recent Purdue performance can define the scientific method as the following…

F* around, and find out.

The Games:

For three games in a row, Purdue let inferior opponents hang around far too long in order for comfort. They “F’ed” around and found out what happens when you play lack luster for an entire game.

Against Rutgers, Purdue allowed the Scarlet Knights to hang around for too long, propping the door open for a feverish comeback. A double digit surge, and a half court heave allowed Rutgers to defeat Purdue 70-68 in the first ever game as Purdue ranked #1.

Against North Carolina State, Purdue had a massive hangover from their shocking Rutgers loss, and played like they had given up on their basketball life. For 35 minutes, the Boilers were outplayed. Luckily a late surge, spurred by the reminder that Purdue was twice the team that NCST was, and the Boilers forced overtime. Took over from there, winning 82-72.

Break It Down:

If Purdue didn’t completely wet themselves following their first #1 ranking in program history, they at least tried to.

Purdue finally received the recognition that we as Boilermaker fans have been wanting for decades, and Purdue went ahead and squandered it. This includes the Iowa game from last week.

For history, the Associated Press has been reluctant to rank Purdue #1. Historically, Purdue hasn’t exactly handled the spotlight well. The AP got their confirmation bias that they’ve been so desperate to achieve, by Purdue stubbing their toe first game out. Completely on brand.

While I don’t expect Purdue to gain the #1 ranking ever again in my life, that doesn’t mean that Purdue isn’t an elite level team. The Boilers are still exceptionally good. In order to unseat the Boilermakers, it took a 30 point scoring output from a senior player, a 20% shooting percentage over the Rutgers season average, and a last second Euro-Step-Through-Buzzer-Beating-Half-Court-Shot to usurp the Boilermakers. Life on the road in the B1G is tough.

What Went Well:

  • Trevion the Alpha: Trevion Williams is exceptionally good. He is making a fair pitch to return to the starting lineup, as he is scoring at an efficient clip, and imposing his will on opponents. If it wasn’t for a borderline miracle half court shot, Trevion would’ve had a game winning bucket and a near triple double to propel Purdue to victory.
Photo: Mark Elsner

Opportunities For Improvement:

  • There’s plenty of barns in Indiana. Please hit the broad side.: Whatever happened to the sharp shooting Purdue offense through the first 7 games needs to return and quickly. Brick after brick after brick is no fun to watch. Over the last two games, Purdue has shot 12/47 from three point range, which is approximately 25.5% from the field. Incredibly poorly.
  • Zach Needs to Attack: While Edey continues to be a tremendous weapon for the Boilermakers, he is leaving too many points at the rim. Missed layups may haunt him until he gets it under control.
  • Defense Lives: On the football team, apparently. While I have seen worse defensive basketball in Boilermaker history, the lapses this season are coming against some talented programs. As Robbie Hummel kept saying against NC ST, these players are on scholarship, and they can hit an open shot. Matt Painter, fortunately, knows how to fix this.

Big Man on Campus:

Trevion Williams, easily. While it appeared that every other Boilermaker were off building brick homes for the less fortunate, Tre Williams carried Purdue on his shoulders. What very easily could’ve been three straight losses ended up being two victories and nearly a third on the shoulders of Tre Williams.

From 22 pts, 12 rebounds, and 9 assists against NCST, to 21 pts and 11 rebounds against Rutgers, Williams is flexing on the competition. Without Tre, this team would be a complete mess.

A Look Ahead:

Good news and bad news. The good news? Purdue plays only one game this week, against a team that they should be prohibitive favorites against.

The bad news? Purdue is playing in the (thankfully) last Crossroads Classic, an annual event in which the Boilermakers seem to pee their pants worse than they did against Rutgers and NCST. Boilers will play Butler on Saturday, in Bankers Life Fieldhouse. I will be in attendance, so come say hi!

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 83 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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