Your weekly Purdue Men’s Basketball snark, and other snidbits from around the Boilermaker Universe
I am not an accomplished gambler. I’m ok playing poker, but that is more of a strategy game with luck built in. The real nitty gritty games of chance, I am absolutely no good at.
About once a year my wife and I, or buddies, or whomever, will take an evening and go to one or more of the casinos here in NW Indiana. Being a fumbling, bumbling gambler, I budget myself. $100 for a night of penny slots and video poker isn’t too bad. I say goodbye to that money before even stepping foot onto the casino floor.
On one of my fateful trips to the casino, I had my trusty $100. After about an hour or so, I had $10 left (Like I said, I am not a good gambler). Like any fool would do, I took my last $10 and exchanged it for two nickel ($5) chips.
I’ve always had a fascination with roulette. The colors. The game theory involved. The fact that people are simultaneously winning and losing. The ball taking bad bounces and lucky rolls. The randomness of it all. Hundreds of dollars exchanging at any given roll. Lots of excitement. I sat and watched, clutching my final $10 of the night.
As I gently rolled those chips over my knuckles, I figured that I might as well try to go big with my last bet of the night. With the trademark color of the Boilermakers being black, coupled with my lucky number 8, I put both of those nickels on Black 8.
Without a care in the world, I watched the ball spin around the wheel. As the ball slipped from its run, it began to fall into play, it kicked off one of the canoe bumpers and took a bad hop. The ball then took a 90 degree turn, popping airborne. Majestically soaring like an eagle, a few inches above the spinning wheel, the ball remembered what gravity was. After skipping around the wheel a few times, the ball came to rest. Black 8 it was.
Some call it skill, but it was absolute luck. A minor miracle in a smoke filled, alcohol fueled casino. A 35-1 payout meant that my last $10 was now $350.
I pocketed my original investment of $100 and took the other $250 to play loose. I was on house money, now. Unexpected success had gotten to my head, but that is when the fun happens.
I’ve said it a few times, I am not a particularly accomplished gambler. That $250 was eaten alive by high-limit slots, an ill fated trip to a keno table (for some reason), and a quick stay at the blackjack & 3in1 poker combination table. Another hour later, and that $250 was gone.
I went into my visit to the casino with low expectations. I figured that this money was gone, as it normally is. I was pleasantly surprised when unexpected success came my way. This led to a memorable night in which I left the casino with money in my wallet.
Purdue came into this season with low expectations. The B1G was a slaughterhouse and Purdue has one of the youngest teams in the nation. With the blossoming of the younger players turning into stars, Purdue found success. They ended up 4th in the B1G, wildly surpassing expectations. While the season ended in disappointing fashion, losing two games in overtimes to end the year… Purdue left this season carrying a lot of encouraging evidence with it.
Purdue played an outmatched and out skilled North Texas team, who dragged the Boilermakers into into a dogfight. Purdue, known as an efficient grind it out, tough team, was out toughed, out efficient-ed, and ground down by the veteran North Texas squad.
Jaden Ivey had a career and game high 26 points. Trevion Williams added 14 and 13 rebounds. These two individuals showed the leadership needed for Purdue to win the game, but it never came to fruition.
Just like against Ohio State the week prior, The Boilermakers slid into a deep hole early, and battled back in the second half. Purdue ended up missing one too many free throws in the contest, leading to an overtime tilt where Purdue ran out of gas.
North Texas defeated Purdue, 78-69, in an embarrassing upset of our beloved Boilermakers. Tip of the hat to the Mean Green.
Break it Down:
Just as the yearly tradition of Purdue losing a heartbreaker in the tournament continues, the fact that the bracket opened up paving a way to opportunities for success makes this loss even more bitter tasting.
The slew of upsets in the tournament illustrates that Baylor was the only team sitting between Purdue and the Final Four… Oh I mean unless they lost to North Texas…
So here we are, folks, another bitter loss, in overtime, in the NCAA Tournament. Two years ago, it took a once in a generation type of lucky shot to defeat the Boilermakers. This year, it simply took a team to out tough the Boilers. Both are painful.
By far, this is not the most embarrassing upset in the tournament, but it still made Purdue a punchline for a few moments. Another season in a major sport that the masses got a good laugh at our expense. Being a Purdue fan is often an abusive relationship, and the propensity for these types of things to happen to Purdue has been alive and “well” for my entire life. Frustrating. This is not a slight on the Boilermakers, just real talk.
You know what else is “real talk” though? I am so damn proud of this team. We should all be disappointed in how the season ended, but we all need to be freaking thrilled with multiple factors of this 2020-21 basketball season. First, Purdue had one of the youngest teams in basketball, and worked their way up to being ranked by the end of the year, finishing 4th in the B1G. Second, Purdue (just like anyone else) dealt with so much involving COVID. The offseason basically didn’t happen due to lockdowns, which is imperative for freshmen to have. Painter’s coaching to get them up and running without the early season influence is incredible. Lastly, look at the success rate. Winning is winning. The personalities have molded. This is the most likable team that I have seen in a long while, and they are winning games way ahead of schedule.
Disappointing end, yes. Incredibly bright future? Absolutely.
The Bottom Line:
Be upset. Be peeved. Be embarrassed. You should be.
You know who else is more upset, peeved, and embarrassed? The Players.
This team loses nobody, and gains the two best players in the state of Indiana as recruits. This team is freaking loaded for the long haul, and either get on the train or get out.
I am not naming names, but look at this roster. Look at this roster, who has already played together intact for a year. Look at it. I will put this roster against most in the nation especially with the future of NCAA basketball. The one time transfer rule can destroy team continuity. We don’t know what will happen with Purdue, but if this team sticks together, they have to be one of the strongest units out there for familiarity alone.
One Last Thing:
To the people who are calling for Painter’s coaching head, I have no words for you. Literally 2 weeks ago people were saying that this was the most impressive performance in Painter’s career. Now, after an upset loss in the first round to a very talented, veteran, North Texas team he needs to go.
Listen, without Matt Painter, this program isn’t in this position. Matt Painter is regarded as one of, if not THE best coach in college basketball. Oh, and he’s clean. He’s a father figure. He’s a leader. He is exactly the human being that you want to run your program.
Chris Holtmann. Brad Underwood. Bob Huggins. Tony Bennett…. are all coaches that have suffered heart breaking defeats this tournament, as of the writing of this article. That is what March is.
“But Painter hasn’t made a final four” people will marble mouth-off on twitter. He is a knee injury to a Purdue legend, an elbow injury to his starter/biggest mismatch, and a miracle shot away from having three of them. Any of those teams would not have been surprising to win a championship. Yes, they’re all frustrating, but come on folks! Purdue has, under Painter, been put in position to win year in and year out. Stop with the madness.
Lets go coach hopping, eh? Want to turn into that school down south? The one that has to call in rich uncles to pay their bills when their Ferrari budget coaches perform like Ford Festiva? New coaches every 4 years, constantly rebuilding. Sound good, right?
I will take a steady tournament team, who finishes in the top of the B1G every year, and has a legitimate chance at a final four every few years over the embarrassment which is in which Purdue’s rival is in right now. A thousand times over. Don’t sell your soul for the allure of instant gratification.
A Look Ahead:
Look for Purdue to be motivated by this loss. With the freshman class returning as… super-freshmen, and the incoming recruits coming in a regular-freshmen, Purdue will be tough as nails going forward.
The future is brighter than any of us realize, folks. Purdue played on house money at the end of the year. Next season is one year older, one year stronger, and one year closer.
I can’t wait until November 2021. It is going to be fun.
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