3/14/2021 Boilermaker Water Cooler Chat: Seed Edition

Photo: Mark elsner

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

There reaches a point when, sometimes, you need a force of nature to carry you over. You need a trump card that overtakes the ridiculous situation that life has put you in. At some point, someone, something needs to lift you up.

I look at this team and I stare blankly. There is -clearly- enough talent to carry the 2022 Boilermaker squad to the final four/ National Championship. Clearly. However, is there some sort of Mr. Alpha there to physically -WILL- Purdue to victory in a one and done situation? Eh. Who knows?

Purdue as achieved a 27-7 season, legitimately ranked in the top 10 for the entirety of the season. While rankings are cute, and all, there is an eye test concern with this team. Who is going to go out there, and take care of business? Who, on this team, is the alpha? While we, as Boilermaker fans, haven’t seen the take charge attitude from any singular player, we realize that there is opportunity there. Where is the killer instinct?

Now is the time. Do or die. Do or do not, there is no try. If this team can cut the mustard, now is the time.

Now or never.

Purdue achieved a, dare I say it, disappointing 3 seed. Yep. The first Purdue team which ever achieved a #1 AP ranking, finished with a 3 seed.

Ok, ok, I get it. A 3 seed is, in all actuality, really good. The matchups should be fortuitous enough to bring the Boilermakers to, at minimum the Sweet 16, which is the bare minimum for this program. But we want more.

Is this the year that the Purdue Boilermakers make the final four? Is this the chaotic year in which Matty Painter finally wins the National Title?

Forgive me if I am skeptical. This team can do it. History tells us that Purdue never out kicks their coverage this time of year.

The Games:

Penn State 61, #9 Purdue 69: The Boilermakers were spurred by slump busting Brandon Newman’s 12 points, but led by Jaden Ivey’s 17. Zach Edey added 15, as the Boilermakers got out to a big lead, and held on late.

Photo: Mark Elsner

Michigan State 70, #9 Purdue 75: Jaden Ivey played at a very high level, propelling the Boilers with his game high 22 points. Trevion Williams added 15, Hunter 11, and Gillis 10, as Purdue did exactly what they needed to do in order to take care of business against the Spartans.

Photo: Mark Elsner

#24 Iowa 75, #9 Purdue 66: The Big Ten Tournament Championship boiled down to two things. 1) Could Purdue keep up the momentum that they had for the past few games, snowing over their opponents, and 2) Can the Big Ten officiating provide a non competitive balance tipping game due to their ineptitude? The answer to both of these are an emphatic NO. In what was one of the worst performances of the Purdue season, made worse by one of the worst performances in B1G officiating history, led to Purdue going pee-pants in their pull-ups and never really standing a chance against an overmatched Iowa team. The Hawkeyes got the job done, Purdue didn’t.

Photo: Mark Elsner

Break It Down:

Purdue continues to end this season in disappointing fashion. No Big Ten regular season title due to a choke job. No Big Ten Tournament Championship due to a choke job. What is left now?

What should be the easiest trifecta of Purdue fandom history, Purdue will more than likely disappoint in the Big Dance once again.

Now now, you’ve read my articles for the past 5 years. You realize that I am the glass half full type. I am the eternal optimist.

Call it psychological leverage or whatever… I have no faith in this team, as much as I hope and pray that this Boilermaker team does what they need to do.

I want this as much, if not more than any Purdue fan out there. I literally have some sort of undiagnosed psychological condition that makes me want a Purdue Basketball National Title more than… like… 90% of other things in my life. It is like… 1) Spiritual enlightenment. 2) Spiritual enlightenment for my family. 3) Good health and safety for my family. 4) Financial stability for my family. 5) Purdue National Championship in Basketball.

Maybe that is a bit simplistic, but you get my point.

Something is telling me that #5 isn’t fleshing out this season. There have been too many bad luck moments. Too many step-back, turn around, last second, pure luck, prayer shots, banked in against the Boilers this season. Too many opportunities squandered. Too many chances for a player to take over, only for immediate failure for me to think that this season is any different.

I feel uncomfortable typing that. Again, I have been Mr. Optimist.

Do I think that this Purdue team can make a run in this tournament? ABSOLUTELY. I think that this team can win the national title. Do I think that this Purdue team WILL make a run in the tournament? YES. I DO think that this Purdue team will run to the second weekend of the tournament at minimum. Do I think that this team will meet expectations? Nope. Expectations are a Final Four, and this team has not shown the alpha mentality when things get tough. That is disappointing.

So here we are. I know most of y’all have already clicked X on this article by this point, but I don’t care. I 100% hope that I am wrong. I full on hope that everything that I have typed and everything that I have felt since the turn of 2022 is incredibly wrong. I have been watching Purdue baskeball for nearly 4 decades.

This team is not the “Three Amigos” squad. This team is not the “Glenn Robinson” Squad. This team is not the “Three Pete” Squads. This team is not the “Baby Boilers”. This team is not even the “Carsen Edwards” Squad.

The Big Dance, however, doesn’t care how good you are. They care how lucky you are. Judging by the 2021-2022 Purdue squad… They’ve earned a bit of luck.

What Went Well:

  • Jaden Ivey: Took over two of the last 3 games, and imposed his will. His highlight reel finishes at the rim made Sportscenter, and spurred the Boilermakers to victory against Penn State and Michigan State.
  • Brandon Newman: Emerged from his slump, lifting Purdue against Penn State. He could be the X factor against the field in March Madness. Even against MSU when he didn’t hit any shots, his defensive intensity helped the Boilermakers defeat the Spartans.
  • Defense Lives Here: I don’t care what anyone says. The defense was picked up this week, and put the Boilermakers in position to win. Keep this up to give Purdue a shot to end this season.

Opportunities for Improvement:

  • Sasha: Purdue needs him, badly. The current, season ending slump that he is in needs to end and fast. Not sure if this is a “end of career” jitters, or just a dry spell, but it is not helping the Boilermakers when he is needed. Luckily, he absolutely has the skill set to take the game over, and rebound from this dry spell. Now is the time for him to take over.
  • Zach Edey: Has not answered the call late in the season. Now is the time for him to impose his will on the game. The tallest, biggest, and strongest player on the court needs to flex on inferior opponents. Yes, he is getting slammed on offense, fouled regularly. All of that aside, Edey can, and I presume -WILL- go hulk on opponents in the Big Dance. He is too good not to.
  • Bo Boroski, Paul Szelc, and Courtney Green: Came into the Big Ten Championship game, and chose to make it about themselves. In case you don’t know, these were the three officials for the game against Iowa. As the importance of the games escalate, the importance of holding the Big Ten Officiating accountable for their ineptitude must increase. Did Purdue play a good game on Sunday? No. Did these three referees embarrass the entire conference on national television today? Absolutely. Kevin Warren doesn’t care. He was interviewed on CBS on Sunday, proud of the product that he has supposedly helped create… oblivious to the embarrassment that he has enhanced on a national scale. While officiating in the Big Ten has been sub-par for the past few decades, the past few years have been absolutely abhorrent. Sunday just may have been a new low. These three officials got paid for this performance, and have clearly not been held accountable for any of their clearly obvious shortcomings.

Big Man on Campus:

Due to popular demand, Big Man on Campus will be paused this week, to be determined following the first two rounds of March Madness. Coffee is for Closers.

A Look Ahead:

Purdue achieved the #3 seed in the “East Bracket”. They will take on #14 Yale in the first round. The winner feeds into the winner of the #11 Virginia Tech vs the #6 Texas, showdown. The winner of that game will head to Philadelphia, to take on the Sweet 16 team. The opponent will come from the sub bracket highlighted by #2 seed Kentucky.

The draw seems to be favorable for Purdue. They should be able to avoid a “home team” draw, and should, theoretically, be able to make it to the second weekend.

What do I know? The Big Dance is a crap-shoot most of the time, and rarely does the best team win it all. Like I said earlier in this article, however, Purdue is due some luck. They have the skill to do it. Do they have the intestinal fortitude to get it done?

Now or Never.

Photo: Mark Elsner

Big Ten Tournament Photo Galleries

Penn St: https://snapsbyme.smugmug.com/Purdue-Mens-Basketball-19-20/21-22/B10Tourney-PennSt/

Michigan St: https://snapsbyme.smugmug.com/Purdue-Mens-Basketball-19-20/21-22/B10Tourney-MichSt/

Iowa: https://snapsbyme.smugmug.com/Purdue-Mens-Basketball-19-20/21-22/B10Championship-Iowa/

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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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