Rants, ravings, and somewhat sensical opinions following the wild, wacky, and wide-wide world of Purdue sports.
Merry Christmas, folks. I hope you and your loved ones have an opportunity to celebrate however it is that you can. I sit here, with my dog snuggled around my feet, my family watching “A Christmas Story” on the television, and my tree glowing in the background. I thank the lord for this opportunity.
Part of the holiday season is having an opportunity to sit back, and reflect on what matters the most to you. A frightening but enlightening tale that regularly pops up in my regular rotation this time of year is Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. For those of us who have the attention span to make it all the way through the slower stages of the tale, you are met with the horrors of the past, the potential of the future, and a renewed sense of optimism going forward.
Now, I don’t want to bore you with the old tale, so you don’t finish reading my article. We all know the story, of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly bastard who can’t seem to figure out civility, only to be haunted by a series of ghosts. I am not saying that Purdue is Scrooge, by any means, but there are some mirrors which are frighteningly appropriate to the current Boilermaker squad.
The Ghost of Christmas Past is a Fairleigh easy correlation. The Ghost of Christmas Present sees your Boilermakers ranked #1 for the third time in as many years. The Ghost of Christmas Future forecasts a potential NCAA tournament run, with a loaded recruiting class coming in. While there is plenty to be haunted by, there is reason to be optimistic. A basketball story shadow boarded over 25 years before John Purdue founded his namesake University.
Heading into this Christmas Holiday, I was lucky enough to spend some time in Mackey Arena last Thursday. This time, I did not don my ISC swag, but rather rolled into God’s country as a fan. Shoulder to shoulder with some of my best friends, I survived the overwhelmed bar scene prior to the game, and walked into my favorite place on earth. Filled from the floor to the rafters, Mackey Arena was rocking, and we saw a great performance, from a great team. A wonderful Christmas present, gift wrapped by my Boilermakers.
The #1 Purdue Boilermakers started strong, took a quick breather, and ended up blowing out the Jacksonville Dolphins 100-57 in front of a studentless, but raucous, sold out Mackey Arena.
Zach Edey started slowly, but ended up with 18 points and 8 rebounds in a mere 23 minutes of play. Lance Jones looked lively on both ends of the floor, scoring 16 points and scrapping 3 steals. The entire roster played, and looked impressive doing it.
Purdue did what Purdue does. They were businesslike, and took care of what they needed to.
Break It Down:
While there was a bit of a lull in the middle of the first half, the Boilermakers flexed their muscle on an inferior Jacksonville team.
I am a fairly bombastic writer, and have a unique skill to be able to stretch a basketball game into a multi-thousand word essay. This game doesn’t need thousands of words. This game was exactly as the score showed. Short, sweet. Home to eat. Winner winner, chicken dinner.
I, for one, like these types of games. Where my blood pressure and adrenaline only spike because I am excited to be back in my old stomping grounds, not because the game is particularly close.
What Went Well:
- Boilers as Santa Claus: Jolly ol Saint Nick visited West Lafayette early this year, as the Boilers handed out gifts left and right. Boilers assisted on 25 of their 35 made field goals. That, my friends is 71%, an incredibly high number.
- Boilers as the Grinch: The old gold and black clad Grinches stole Jacksonville’s Christmas presents, tallying 14 steals throughout the contest.
- Christmas Cheer: In “Its a Wonderful Life”, “Elf”, and “Miracle on 34th Street”, the whole community had to band together in order to perform a Christmas Miracle. Whether it was standing up for George Baily, singing carols to power Santa’s Sleigh, or providing thousands of letters written for Santa… It took something special from the entire town in order to win the day. Despite there being no students, Mackey Arena was filled to the brim with the best carolers that Purdue could’ve asked for.
- Twelve… (I mean) Thirteen Days of Christmas: The Boilermakers jammed the basketball down the Jacksonville Dolphins throats this week. With 13 dunks, this was the most seen from Purdue in, oddly enough,13 seasons. Some of these were powerful from Edey and Berg. Some were spectacular from Colvin and Heide. It was a great show!
Opportunities for Improvement:
- My Christmas Gift: My gift to all of you is that I am not going to even try to nitpick this game. Not needed.
Big Man on Campus:
Matt Painter is the Big Man on Campus this week. Why? With Thursday’s win, Matt Painter won his 424th win as a Big Ten Coach. This puts him in 4th place all time on the Big Ten winningest coaches list. He now only trails, Gene Keady, Tom Izzo, and Bobby Knight. Congrats coach on a tremendous achievement, Coach Painter!
A Look Ahead:
The #1 Purdue Boilermakers will hold onto their ranking for yet another week. The Boilermakers look to have a third straight undefeated non-conference regular season, as they will take on Eastern Kentucky on Friday, December 29th, their final tilt before conference season begins. Similar to the Jacksonville game, Purdue should be prohibitive favorites.
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