2/28/2022 Boilermaker Water Cooler Chat: Stubbed Toe Edition

Photo: Shipwright Photography

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

When you do something for a long time, you see some things that others might not. Whether it is a nit pick, or a casual observation, as I am getting older, my gut instinct picks things out.

Take my media career. I’ve been a journalist for going on two decades now. Simply from being in the business that long, I have self-diagnosed, and come to terms with the following:

  • On Radio: I have an ever-present verbal filler. Like Jeff Goldblum.
  • On Television: I have terrible posture, like Mr. Burns
  • In print: I have a tendency to be redundant and write run on sentences. Also, I repeat myself.
  • In General: I could benefit from eating a salad a little more frequently.
  • In print: I have a tendency to be redundant and write run on sentences. Also, I repeat myself.

The same thing happens with Purdue Basketball team. I have been watching the Boilers for what is approaching four decades. I’ve seen some things, man. Some things have held true during my time.

  • The basketball-gods do not appreciate the Boilermakers’ existence.
  • Like me, Purdue is at their best when they are old.
  • If Purdue controls their own destiny, things are going to get weird.
  • If the door opens for Purdue, there is a high probability that they are going to stub their toe on the doorframe.

(Editor’s Note: That sound you just heard is thousands of readers clicking the exit X on the top right of the screen simultaneously)

Hang with me folks, this is not one of those dire, hellfire and brimstone “we might as well quit basketball” articles. Far from it. Ya’ll know me by now, I am that half glass full fan. I get rambunctious on Twitter like the rest of us, but like I’ve said multiple times, it is performance art. Very poor performance art, in fairness.

What I am saying, is, in order for Purdue to buck generational trends, why can’t it be this team? Purdue is still sitting at a gaudy 24-5, still one of the best teams in the nation.

“BUT THE DEFENSE!” people screech online. Yeah the defense isn’t great. “MATT PAINTER GOTTA GO!” others say, for some reason. I won’t even respond to this. What I am saying is that this team is something that I have never witnessed in all of the time as a Boilermaker fan. College basketball, in 2021-2022 is a different animal than I have ever seen.

This Purdue team isn’t particularly old. This Purdue team doesn’t play with particularly great concentration. This Purdue team doesn’t play the Boilermaker brand of defense. This Purdue team turns the ball over too much. This Purdue team doesn’t hit enough free throws.

This Purdue team is still putting their opponents in blenders most of the time out. This Purdue team has an offense like a battle axe. They have a mismatch at every level. They are winning despite these obvious non-Purdue like tendencies. While this team is a different animal than in years past. Maybe change is a good thing? Maybe Purdue needs this new look to physically break through the glass ceiling.

Either way… Saturday showed us once again that generationally old habits, tend to die hard.

Photo: Shipwright Photography

The Game:

#4 Purdue 65, Michigan State 68

When there are national sports figures commenting on the poor officiating of this game, you know that you’ve witnessed something special. A work of art. Something so grotesque, and so awful, that the Big Ten as a conference got nationally shamed for their ineptitude. The three officials were mercilessly mocked, and deservedly so.

I imagine Kevin Warren sitting in the ivory tower of the Big Ten’s headquarters watching this game, belly laughing. “How entertaining!” he giggles as he claps… as the world laughs at his conference.

Also, a basketball game was played.

Lets be fair here, the officiating wasn’t what doomed Purdue. The officiating positioned Purdue to be doomed, but 17 turnovers and 11% from the three point line solidified it.

Zach Edey scored 25, and was unstoppable all game. Eventually the foul bug caught up to him (read as: questionable foul calls), limiting him for big stretches. Jaden Ivey had 16 points, and hit the -only- three point shot that the Boilermakers did all game.

Purdue’s struggles early in the game, and their propensity to turn the ball over made it so the Boilermakers never made it over the hump. A Tyson Watson last second three effectively ended the game. Yet another buzzer beater takes Purdue down.

Break It Down:

What this game boiled down to was execution, and Purdue didn’t take care of business. By allowing an out manned Michigan State team to play out of their minds, and keep the game close, Purdue was doomed. Yes, a series of poor calls hurt the Boilers late. Don’t allow your self to be in that position by taking care of business earlier in the contest.

So what’s next? Where does Purdue go from here? Purdue has entered ‘must-win’ territory if they want to win a Big Ten Title.

Purdue had the pathway to an outright Big Ten Championship marked out. Illinois opened the door, and all Purdue needed to do was take care of their own business. They stubbed their toe.

In order for Purdue to reach a tie for the Big Ten Championship, they must both win at Wisconsin, and to end the season against IU.

Big Man On Campus:

There will be no awarding of a BMOC award this week. Coffee is for closers.

A Look Ahead:

Well, here we are folks. The last week of the regular season. Purdue still controls their destiny for at least a share of the B1G Title. Can they take care of business? It will be tough. Boilers have to win out, against two teams that have proven to be able to defeat the Boilermakers already this season.

On Tuesday 3/1, Purdue travels to the Kohl Center to take on the #13 (as of this writing) Wisconsin Badgers. While Purdue on paper will be the “favorites” in this game, Purdue is effectively the underdog. The Boilers need this win, badly.

On Saturday 3/5, Purdue hosts Indiana. While the Boilermakers should be prohibitive favorites in this contest, you never know what will happen when the Hoosiers come around.

It is time for Purdue to take that step. Now or never.

Purdue-MSU Gallery: https://store.shipwrightphotography.com/purduevsmichiganstate-mensbasketball-1/

Photo: Shipwright Photography

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 51 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. 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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