Your weekly Purdue Men’s Basketball snark, and other snidbits from around the Boilermaker Universe.
I was talking with one of my employees the other day and she had mentioned that the sun setting so early is a drain on her energy. I completely understand. Having the majority of the day in darkness is definitely sub-optimal.
I however, get nostalgic about the sun setting early. Sure, I don’t like driving both TO and FROM work in complete darkness, but this time of year is brings me back to some sort of simpler time.
I grew up playing basketball year round. The season, however, got serious in November and December. I always knew that it was time to hit the hardwood when the sun started setting earlier.
Eventually I quit basketball. Genetically engineered to play football, there wasn’t much of a basketball future for a 6’2″, 260lb forward. Oh, and I had terrible ball handling skills. I was also missing many other basic talent necessities needed to be a functional basketball player…
There were only 3 things that I could do, really… 1) I could shoot. Free throws, 3s, layups… I could do that. I’m an Indiana boy, after all! 2) I could box you out and get the rebound. 260lbs with a football mentality… yep. 3) I successfully dunked an adult sized basketball, on a regulation basketball hoop, on no less than four (4) separate occasions during a short lived span of a few weeks in high school. Anyways, I’ve digressed yet again…
The point that I am making is that despite not being a competent basketball player, when the sun went down early, I knew it was basketball time. Even after I quit playing.
Some of my best and most vivid memories were sitting watching my Boilers this time of year. Whether it be Glenn Robinson, Cuonzo Martin, Matt Waddell, Brad Miller, Brian Cardinal, Carson Cunningham, Willie Deane, Matt Kiefer, Carl Landry… Robbie, E’Twaun, Jajuan, Rapheal, AJ, DJ, Bobby, Caleb, Issac, Dakota, PJ, Carsen, Tommy… Each of these young men have provided excellent memories for me and my family. This is the time of year that I always harken back to. Chilly, dark December, in a warm bright, pressure filled Mackey Arena.
The good guys played 2 games this week, winning them both.
On 12/16 Purdue upended #20 ranked Ohio State 67-60 in a game that really wasn’t as close as the score indicated. Trevion Williams was on triple double watch going for 16pts, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists. Eric Hunter was welcomed back into the starting lineup, going for a quiet, impressive, and steady 15 points. The Boilers took the lead with about 4 mins left in the first half, and held on to it for good, keeping the BuckNuts at arm’s length.
On 12/19 Purdue played in the annual Crossroads Classic, this year against Notre Dame, defeating the F’in Irish 88-78. This is another game that the final score doesn’t exactly tell the whole story. Eric Hunter and Sasha Stefanovic both shared the high scoring duties with 18 each. Trevion scored 14 and Gillis added 12. The Boilers controlled the game from the tip other than a first half-ending and second half beginning series of runs by Notre Dame. Purdue was winning by as much as 15, until the Irish battled back and tied it at the 14:30ish mark of the second half. The good guys turned the bus around and ruined Notre Dame’s precious field trip shortly thereafter, making a quick run and holding them off.
What Went Well:
- Take care of the precious…: baby basketball. The Boilermakers’ bane this season as been turning the ball over. Against Notre Dame, Purdue only committed 6 turnovers. Purdue also scored 88pts that game. There is correlation here. If The Boilers take care of the ball, they have the skill to score in bunches.
- Leadership isn’t necessarily being vocal…: it manifests itself as a calming influence on the floor. Eric Hunter Jr. is absolutely the leader that this team needs right now. Now that Hunter has returned from his injury, he has gotten his feet underneath him. Every minute that he plays, he is walking the walk. He should be very proud of his production so far this year.
- When the goin’ gets tough…: The Boilers shut the window. Malaphor aside, when Notre Dame made a sizeable run to cut Purdue’s 15 point lead down to 0, they could’ve folded like a Boilermaker in Miami. They didn’t. In the face of that adversity, this young squad quickly responded, pushing the game back out to double digits.
- My mom had eyes in the back of her head…: And so does Trevion Williams. Tre didn’t only school OSU by scoring, he found the open man and it led to points. Showing off his tremendous passing skills, the big man spread the wealth around the gym. Against ND, he waited for the double team to come. You could feel his patience. If the double team came, he found the cutter. If it didn’t, Trevion scored. Tremendous performance this week by Tre.
Opportunities of Improvement:
- It’s great to respond to adversity…: But its even better to avoid the adversity. Basketball is a game of runs. We all know this. Purdue is a young team. We all know this. When you have a young team, there is added threat to be susceptible to runs. Despite a double digit victory, Purdue did blow a 15 point lead against Notre Dame. Lest we forget. It is in Purdue’s best interest to respond prior to giving up a teens-worth of points. That is where upper classmen leadership comes into play.
- You know that gif when Carsen Edwards is telling Matty Haarms to calm down…: that is what I want to tell Jaden Ivey. I will be the first to tell you that I believe that Jaden Ivey has the talent to have a career that ends with his name hanging in the rafters of Mackey. I truly believe that if he lives up to his potential, it will happen. Coming off an early season injury, Ivey has looked jumpy early in his appearances. A couple of catty-wampus shots against OSU looked bad, but as Ivey settled into the game, he made two tremendous plays that electrified the arena. Ivey will continue to learn that if he lets the game come to him, tremendous things will happen. He’s young and excitable. You know who else had this issue early? Carsen Edwards. Ivey will be fine. Maturity will catch up to him.
- Fouls for Being Big: Zach Edey got called for a flagrant 1 foul against Notre Dame. This was a play that simply existed because Edey is 7’4″ and his arms happen to be at approximately head-height for normal D-1 bigmen. The Irish defender had the wherewithal to snap his head back at the onset of contact, making it look as if Edey’s elbow was a weapon of mass destruction. Even the talking heads at halftime thought the call was awful. What this does is it takes Purdue’s biggest (literally) weapon out of the game. Edey, somehow, needs to continue to work with Coaches Painter and Brantley to figure out what he needs to do to avoid being put in position to be called for these. Even if the call is the wrong one, there are things that Edey can do to disguise the physicality, and keep himself in position to stay in the game.
Speaking of That Call:
Welcome to your first dedicated segment of the 2020-21 Basketball season, inept official Bo Boroski! Here are a few certainties in basketball life for Purdue fans:
- Matt Painter.
- Bo Boroski taking an extraordinarily long time in a replay review of a basketball game that he is calling.
- Bo Boroski getting that call completely and utterly incorrect after reviewing it for 5 minutes.
- The Big Ten allowing Bo Boroski to continue to wreak havoc on the league with his ineptitude, repercussion free.
Zach Edey is a large human being. He is allowed to exist. Simply because he is physically larger and stronger than other humans in the same proximity as him doesn’t mean that he is doing anything that is considered flagrant.
Bo Boroski (in shades of the DJ Byrd Tricep Of Doom game) was aided by multiple camera angles of slow motion and dissected the play frame by frame. Like the Zapruder film, single frames were focused on, and measured with an electron microscope. In his infinite “wisdom” Bo Boroski determined that there was enough contact to warrant a flagrant 1.
What his ineptitude does is show how teams can eliminate Edey from competition, for a short time period at least. What teams should do is, at any point of contact, simply emote and snap your head back. Boom! You’ve earned yourself free throws and possession on the other end. Thanks Bo! I’m sure we will see you soon!
Big Man On Campus:
Eric Hunter Jr.: Oh we can talk about his silent leadership and his calming effect on this Purdue team. We can talk about he fact that he averaged 16.5 points per game this week. We can talk about how he is a mature player that Purdue desperately relies upon. We can talk about how he had 0 turnovers vs 8 assists against Notre Dame…
I prefer we talk about how he shut down Notre Dame’s best player. Hunter’s defensive prowess allowed the ND standout guard Prentis Hubb, who was averaging 19ppg coming into Saturday, to 0 points. Zero point zero. A Blutarsky.
Eric Hunter Jr. is a stud. On both ends of the floor, he can bring it. Yes Sir!
A Look Ahead:
Purdue has entered into the “murderer’s row” of their schedule. 4 out of the next 6 games are against ranked opponents.
On 12/22, the Boilers will travel to #3 Iowa to take on presumptive NPOY Luka Garza. The Hawkeyes are coming off a loss to #1 Gonzaga, so I’m sure they’re going to be pretty motivated to make an example out of Purdue. Boilers will be an underdog against Iowa.
On 12/25, Purdue will play a home game against Maryland. The Turtles will be the underdog as they have had a lackluster start to this season.
A split of the week is expected. A sweep of the week would be tremendous. Are the Boilers in line for a Christmas miracle?
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