Rants, ravings, and somewhat sensical opinions following the wild, wacky, and wide-wide world of Purdue sports.
I have not been shy about my opinions. I do not like the Crossroads Classic. There. I said it.
Sure, on paper the crossroads makes perfect sense. You have the four major programs in Indiana playing on a Saturday in mid-December. Unfortunately, it has been a house of horrors for our Boilermakers. In the eleven years, Purdue has won something like four times, being upset on multiple occasions throughout its history.
There are inherent problems with Purdue being in this event. No matter how you slice it, 2/3 of the populous in the “Whatever you want to call it” Arena are against Purdue. Butler fans are not Purdue supporters. Notre Dame and IU have the same fans, and they all hate Purdue.
I always thought it was a myth, the whole fans against Purdue thing. I witnessed it first hand, on Saturday, as an early 20 something sat down in front of me wearing an IU sweatshirt, which he promptly removed. Underneath that sweatshirt, was a Butler shirt. This young man knew every word to the Butler fight song, including special hand signals. He was a hardcore Butler fan. Wouldn’t you know it, he was also hardcore in the second game, cheering for the Hoosiers.
Excuses aside, Purdue has sucked something awful in this event, and I am glad to see it leave. It shouldn’t be this way, but it is.
In true fashion for something you hate, I had to assure that this event was really dead and gone. My son and I met up with one of my best friends, and we sat in the upper deck, witnessing the funeral of a theoretically great basketball event in the state that made basketball what it is.
The Vikings celebrated their fallen with a tremendous spectacle. A “Viking funeral” involved furnishing a makeshift wooden raft holding the remains of their fallen hero. The warriors would set the raft ablaze and push it out into the open water. As the flames built intensity it was said to cleanse the soul of the hell which the Viking warrior experienced in battle, while reducing the remains to ashes.
I needed to witness the Viking funeral of the Crossroads Classic. For Purdue the spectacle of this event was set ablaze, not by literal flames, but the red hot fire flying from Jaden Ivey’s fingertips. A decade of hell was reduced to ashes mercifully allowing the Boilermakers to be cleansed of this pain.
Purdue 77 Butler 48
In a game that was nowhere as close as the final score indicated, Jaden Ivey led the way going 6/6 from three. After each three or impressive dunk the young phenom was chirping at some fans sitting courtside along the way. With each chirp, another confidence boost came. When it was all said and done, Jaden reminded the nation why he is one of the best in the game scoring 22 pts in only 25 minutes of play.
Joining Ivey with monster games was Zach Edey, scoring 14 points and hauling in 11 rebounds. Those 14 points were too easy, and given the opportunity, Edey could’ve easily scored 24.
From there the Boilermakers were pretty even in scoring output, with 5 players scoring between 6 and 10 points.
What Went Well:
- Defense Lives Here: While the offense seemed to be hitting on all cylinders, the defense was the name of the game. Purdue was continually forcing Butler into short shot clock situations, forcing bad shots, and doing what they needed to do to disrupt a balanced Butler offense. Butler only achieved their 40th point with less than 5 minutes in left in the game.
- Rake Them In: Boilers won the rebound battle 42-27. Winning this stat by 15 spells good news for the Boilermakers.
- Bounce Back: Purdue looked listless last week, getting upset by way of a half court shot, and nearly suffering a second defeat. This week, Purdue looked like every bit of the national title contender that they expected to be.
Opportunities for Improvement:
- Occasionally Sloppy: Yes, I am splitting hairs here, but there were times in the game where Purdue looked less than sharp. A few questionable fouls by Trevion Williams, and a few painful turnovers by Jaden Ivey were really the only thing that Purdue needs to straighten out. Luckily, these mistakes happened by two All-American caliber leaders, who will certainly be able to straighten it out.
Big Man On Campus:
Whoever was providing Jaden Ivey with motivation courtside in Indianapolis, thank you. With every second that ticked by, Jaden Ivey looked stronger and more impressive. Perfect from beyond the arc, and perfect in all of Boilermakers’ hearts!
A Look Ahead:
Purdue basketball will continue to mosey into the Christmas holiday, taking on Incarnate Word on Monday. Purdue will be prohibitive favorites, as the so called ESPN Matchup Indicator gives the Cardinals a .2% chance of victory. Not 2. Point two.
Purdue should be able to roll, as this will be the worst team that Purdue will play for the remainder of the year. Here’s to a healthy, stress free victory leading into Christmas!
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