12/4/2023 Boilermaker Water Cooler Chat: Wild Cat Redux Edition

Photo: Mark Elsner

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

I woke up a year older on Sunday. As I age I have noticed some interesting changes around me. A few more gray hairs, a few more inches on my belly, undiagnosed mystery lower back pain, creaky knees, and an ever regressing bedtime.

With advancing age comes decreasing “give a shit” when it comes to some things. When I was younger, in my teens or 20s, I used to take things way to seriously. Frustration would set in when the teenager playing on my team didn’t make enough 3 pointers. My blood pressure used to rise when the 25 year old All American, who was being guarded by the 19 year old, scores over 30 points to the detriment of my Boilermakers. That type of thing would break my birthday weekend, as a younger idiot man.

Now, I have two kids in college. A wife that is too pretty for me, a mortgage, and a diva of a dog named Reese who people on Twitter appreciate more than my, clearly poignant, on point brand of tweeting. A loss like this doesn’t mean as much to me anymore. It registers for like, 1/2 hour…

Now, don’t get this wrong. I am absolutely not apathetic on Purdue sports. Far from it, really. Purdue is absolutely my first love. I wanted to be Purdue Pete for Halloween as a youngster. I have seen grainy beta max footage of my first steps, which were to retrieve a Purdue basketball. I have every member of the 1994 B1G Ten Champions autographs on a basketball. I am a 4th generation Boilermaker, one of “those” Purdue fans, who bleeds old gold and black. I adore my alma mater. Nothing will change my frequent ritual of watching my Boilermakers compete against the foe of the week. I enjoy entertainment.

Hell, I was there in March. I mean, I was -there- there. I was there for -THAT- game. You think Friday night was painful? I was there on Friday too. These things can’t hurt me anymore, not that they really could prior to this anyways.

What I am getting at is, that we, as human beings, can’t destroy our own lives over a December regular season loss to a conference foe. Purdue always seems has a regular season December loss to a conference foe. Hell, Purdue, Marquette, UConn, Kansas… all have early season losses. Purdue, still has a contingent of self-important Boilermaker Twitter blatherers, who are looking for terminations of a coach who has reached records that no other Big Ten coach has ever achieved. People who are bordering on mental health crisis over the college students who are playing for your university. There are social media coaches who think they know better than a walking hall of famer. There are Twitter folk who have single digit followers who are the best basketball coach in history.

Some Purdue fans need to touch grass. Remember that there is still soil beneath you. Do not let the world get so frozen that your life hinges on the outcome of a road conference overtime basketball contest. Sit back. Take a deep breath. Ease your mind, have a banana or two. Sports are entertainment. They’re not a religion. They’re not your only redemption. There is more than what happens in overtime.

I am not saying don’t care. I absolutely care. I probably care too much. Hell, you all follow me on social media. You know my visceral reactions during games. I am just saying this. Don’t let things consume you. Don’t let a 4 point loss ruin you. Eventually you have to return to normal, or you will be driven to madness.

Relax. Being miserable is no fun.

The Games:

  • #1 Purdue 99, Texas Southern 67: Purdue looked dominant in this contest against an overmatched foe. 5 Boilermakers scored in double digits, led by Braden Smith’s 19 pts, 10 assists, and 9 rebounds. Zach Edey played a mere 21 minutes, and went for 15 & 6. This game was not much of a struggle.

Northwestern 92, #1 Purdue 88: Zach Edey was unstoppable scoring 35 points and 14 rebounds. However, Purdue allowed Boo Buie to go for 31, Ty Berry to go for 21, and Ryan Langborg to go for 20. For the second straight year, Purdue lost a big lead to a physical and tough Northwestern squad, on the backs of 17 turnovers, leading to the Boilermakers being upset once again.

Texas Southern Photo Gallery: https://snapsbyme.smugmug.com/Purdue-Mens-Basketball/23-24/TexasSouthern/

Northwestern Photo Gallery: https://snapsbyme.smugmug.com/Purdue-Mens-Basketball/23-24/Northwestern-Away-/

Break It Down:

Making mistakes is human. Repeating ’em is too.

-Malcom Forbes

The brains behind Forbes Magazine may have a point, but hot-damn is this frustrating. Purdue has lost for the second straight season against an inferior Northwestern team, in a manner that reflected the most reoccurring nightmares in Purdue’s memory.

17 turnovers, a -14 differential, allowing three opposing players to go for 20+ points, is going to get you beat frequently. Lets be clear here, folks, Purdue statistically dominated this game, except for turnovers. By turning the ball over at a -14 differential, Purdue effectively allowed Northwestern to have FOURTEEN more possessions in this game. Fourteen.

Purdue allowed Northwestern to have FOURTEEN more possessions due to their own mistakes. Purdue lost by 4.

Northwestern out toughed Purdue. The Boilermakers couldn’t get stops when they needed. Purdue couldn’t hit shots when they needed to. Purdue couldn’t maintain a lead when they needed to.

In many ways this is a mirror of the repeated story from last year. Purdue folds in certain circumstances. Almost like the blueprint of beating Purdue is out there.

That blueprint? Purdue needs to turn the ball over and shoot twenty-something percent from 3.

Here we are.

What Went Well:

  • Zach Edey: Continues to be the most dominant player in the NCAA. There are only 2 ways to stop him as an opponent. 1) Get so far behind that there is no use to play Edey any further, or 2) Just hope he has an off night. Other than that, Edey is demolishing people. His 35 & 14 against NW is an incredible performance in a loss.
  • Fletcher Loyer: Struggled against Texas Southern, but he looked great against NW. He hit 3 of Purdue’s 5 three pointers on Friday, and continues to be a significant threat from beyond the arc.
  • 25: Total that Purdue out rebounded the NW Wildcats. That is an incredible number, particularly in a loss.

Opportunities for Improvement:

  • 17: Turnovers will get you beaten like a drum more often than not. Yeah yeah yeah, some of these turnovers were due to bad calls, but the vast majority of them, on the Purdue Boilermakers.
  • 72: Points by the Northwestern backcourt… Holy… SEVENTY TWO POINTS FROM THREE PLAYERS… Did Purdue just forget defense on Friday? Seventy two.
  • 11: Bench points against Northwestern in a combined 68 minutes… or one point every 6.18 minutes of collective game time. That doesn’t jive.
  • 26.3%: Shooting from beyond the arc against Northwestern. That will get Purdue beat frequently
  • Wilson EVO NXT: Basketball, the most incredibly awful ball in basketball history (and the one used for the NCAA Tournament), has, following Friday, led Purdue to shooting an overall 23.5% from three point range over the last 2 seasons (9 games). Well below their yearly and historic average.

Big Man on Campus:

Due to popular demand, the BMOC award will not be given out this week. Coffee is for closers.

A Look Ahead:

Following the loss to Northwestern, Purdue will absolutely lose the #1 ranking this week, more than likely to Arizona.

As for games Purdue hosts Iowa on 12/4. Purdue starts off as a 13.5 pt favorite, so Vegas thinks the Boilers will bounce back following the NW loss. Following that, Purdue will take on Alabama team in Toronto, on Saturday 12/9. The good news is that Alabama isn’t as allegedly corrupt talented as they were last year, so Purdue should be definitive favorites in each game.

Boiler Up!

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 105 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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