A punchy smattering of Purdue snidbits, mashing up the past week of Boilermaker Football and Basketball
About once every summer, my family and I will take short drive north of Chicago to attend a local amusement park. One of those chain parks. The one with multiple flags.
We know what to expect. Some decent rollercoasters, a parade of cartoon characters, a funnel cake… you know the common stuff. We’ve attended this park dozens of times over the years, so even though there isn’t much new to experience, we still go back somewhat regularly.
A couple of years back, my wife and I brought the kids, and each kid could bring a friend. The two adults and 4 kids packed a cooler with the intention of having a wonderful day at the park. With visions of hyper twister coasters and wooden hybrids in our head, we gleefully pulled into the parking lot.
Oh, and it was pouring.
The rain was so hard, that the park delayed opening. We waited it out in our car. 10 am flew into 11. Noon. At about 1:30, the rain broke and we finally got into the front gates. Thank goodness, 4 anxious kids had a chance to leave the car, and got a chance to jump on our first rollercoasters.
A few of the coasters were closed, following that deluge of rain. My favorite wooden one was, which was a disappointment. Anyways, we had a chance to ride about two rollercoasters, until the sky opened up up again, about an hour after finally getting into the park.
We were really looking forward to this day, but at this point we realized that it wasn’t going to happen. Things were too stormy, too wet. The radar showed that it was going to rain until the following morning. The rides were closing. We left the park, without our funnel cakes. Without our firework show. Without our cartoon parade.
The kids were disappointed, that’s for sure. Did we get a chance to ride some rides? Sure. Was it the 12 hour rollercoaster-a-thon that we had hoped? Absolutely not.
That day wasn’t what I was expecting, but I’ll always remember it because of how messed up it was.
2020 Purdue football is the philosophical equivalent to our rainy amusement park day. Rain (COVID) delayed the opening. Eventually we got a chance to ride two rollercoasters successfully (2 football wins). Didn’t get a chance to ride my favorite coaster (Oaken Bucket). Left the park disappointed (2020 football season).
Mercifully, the regular season of Purdue football came to an end.
If I was to tell you that there would be a more disappointing ending to the season that a top 10 ranked Indiana Hoosiers team handily defeating Purdue to retain the bucket, you’d call me crazy.
Whelp, on Tuesday Purdue and IU officials jointly agreed to cancel the Old Oaken Bucket game for the first time in about a century. COVID spreading amongst the teams as the catalyst to end the yearly tilt.
Some perspective, if you’d indulge me. WW1 was the last time that this game wasn’t played, 1918-1919 to be exact. Interestingly, this is also the timeframe of the Spanish Flu pandemic (1918). As Adolph Hitler attempted to take over the world, this game played on. Vietnam war too.
As for other pandemics in USA history, this game played through them.
- The Asian Flu of the mid-late 50s.
- The 1968 flu pandemic.
- Swine Flu of 2009
4 generations of Americans have been watching this game unimpeded. Until 2020.
Yes, this season has been something of a historic feat. For better or worse. Not sure that there is much else to add to this. It has been a disappointment to say the least.
Is there another game to come? I doubt it. The strict Big Ten protocol involving COVID has handicapped teams all season. In fact, these protocols nearly handicapped the B1G’s only chance at no longer being a national mockery, Ohio State.
Kevin Warren even changed his rules (which destroyed the season) in order to placate Ohio State. Two wrongs make a right, for Mr. Warren.
Purdue had two games this week, and it was a mixed bag.
The first game, Purdue jumped out to a massive, presumably insurmountable 18 point halftime lead against Miami in the Big Ten ACC Challenge. The Boilers, on que, pulled their annual “rip the still beating hearts out of their fans’ chest and stomp on it” loss. Miami outscored Purdue by 22 in the second half, defeating the Boilers 58-54. Miami took the lead with 1:36 seconds left in the game, and rode to it victory.
The second game, Purdue hosted an outmanned Indiana State team, and this time instead of closing poorly, Painter’s squad started poorly. Getting down 10-1 to start the game, Purdue clawed back on the coat tails of Trevion Williams 30 pts and 11 rebounds, and eventually won the ballgame 80-68.
What Went Well:
- Welcome back to the sport of basketball…: Trevion Williams! After a lack luster start through the first 5 games, Williams decided to impose his will on Indiana State. 30 pts, 11 rebounds, and some rim rocking dunks. Williams finally started to be forceful around the block, attacking the basket. This is what Purdue needs.
- Wheels Up!: Aaron Wheeler played his best game of seemingly the past two seasons against Indiana State. With 10pts and 13 rebounds, Wheeler used his superior athleticism to capitalize on ISU.
- He Doesn’t Always Paint a Masterpiece…: but he will always paint the right picture. Matt Painter showed his master stroke by fiddling with the starting lineup. By starting Zach Edey over Trevion, and Mason Gillis over Aaron, he got his message across to the two junior leaders. Both of them got the point, and responded exactly how Purdue needed them to.
Photo Credit: Shipwright Photography
Opportunities for Improvement:
- I try not to speak in absolutes, but…: There is never an excuse to blowing an 18 point halftime lead. Yes, runs happen. It takes intestinal fortitude for a team to stop your opponent from running. Hopefully the failure of the Boilers to stomp Miami out of the game is a learning moment for the young squad, because this can not continue.
- I would like to make a cute pun here but…: I simply can’t. The Purdue Boilermakers, in the year of our lord 2020, in the 20-21 basketball season, need to stop turning the ball over. Travels. Illegal screens. Telegraphed passes. Offensive fouls. Stop it. I understand that this team is feeling itself out due to a strange COVID influenced off season, but if this trend continues, Purdue will lose a lot of games this season.
- Put it together: The Boilers need to put their good starts together with their good finishes. They have yet to fit the puzzle together. Hopefully it happens soon with the Big Ten Season right around the corner.
Big Man On Campus:
Trevion Williams put a 30 burger up on Saturday. That is what we’ve been waiting for. The best part is the fact that Tre dunked the ball, hard. As if he was angry at the rim, Williams attacked. That is what the Boilers need.
A Look Ahead:
The Football team is still scheduled for a crossover game… against IU.
Wait a second here. I thought this game was called off due to COVID problems. I thought the crossover games were supposed to pit corresponding finishers from each side against each other. 1 vs 1. 2 vs 2.
Looks like the Big10 decided to change another rule. I guess since Kevin Warren screwed IU out of their spot in the Big Ten Title game, he wants to feed the Boilers to the Hoosiers.
I still don’t see it happening due to the hyper-strict COVID protocol from the B1G. Purdue has may cases still ongoing, presumably IU too. While I would like to see it, I doubt it will happen.
The Basketball team will open up conference play on Wednesday against #22 Ohio State. They follow that up by taking on Notre Dame on Saturday. Our Boilers will be a dog against the Bucknuts but should be a slight favorite against the F’in Irish.
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…