1/29/2024 Boilermaker Water Cooler Chat: Deep Breath Edition

Photo: Mark Elsner

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

My wife and I went bowling last week, and we had a blast. I am not a good bowler, in fact, I am horrible at it. If I accidentally break 100, then I am as surprised as anyone. My wife normally destroys me by 40-50 pins, and as a competitor continually losing to her kind of sucks. Anyways, we bowled 2 games last weekend, and much to the surprise of everyone around me, I somehow ended up winning both games.

Now, although I did trash talk my wife after bowling, we both understand that Saturday just happened to be an outlier performance. Most of the time she cruises to victory. Sometimes it is your day and sometimes its not. Sometimes you bowl a 300, and sometimes you barely cross 100.

This week, Purdue bowled a 300 game against Michigan doing everything almost perfectly. Against Rutgers, the Boilermakers bowled a 147. Luckily, like me against my wife, Purdue ended up with two victories.

The Games:

#2 Purdue 99, Michigan 67:

The Boilermakers smacked the Juwan Howard led Michigan Wolverines around on a cold Indiana night, in a contest that was more one-sided than the score indicated. Lance Jones led the way with 24 points, while Zach Edey added 16.

A total punking from the start, Purdue jumped out to a big lead and never looked back. A low blood pressure, no headache, walk-ons play multiple minutes, wipeout of a conference foe is exactly what the doctor ordered. Nothing more to say about that.

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

#2 Purdue 68, Rutgers 60:

Playing at the Jersey Mike’s Sandwich Shop of Horror Arena is never an easy task. A strong first half led to a 13 point lead at the break. The second half, however, was an hour long panic attack, which for the first time this season, had me pacing my living room, screaming at the television.

Zach Edey led the way with 26 points and 12 rebounds, while Braden Smith added 19 himself. No other Boilermaker scored in double digits. Purdue as a whole was outrebounded and out hustled by one of the worst teams in the Big Ten, nearly letting a double digit lead evaporate.

In the end, however, Purdue held on as the somehow surging Rutgers basketball squad went cold in the final minutes. Boilermakers survive and hold on. While it wasn’t an easy pathway, the Boilermakers did what they needed to do, much to the disappointment of Tim Brando.

Break It Down:

Purdue continues doing what they need to do in order to keep pace with the national media, as well as with the rest of the Big Ten. This week the Boilermakers played two of the worst teams in the conference, demolishing one, and spiking our collective blood pressure in the other.

This is what elite teams do. They just keep winning.

Against Michigan everything clicked. Against Rutgers everything was abrasive. In both instances, the Boilermakers add a tally to the win column and move on. That’s the bottom line.

What Went Well:

  • 32: Point victory against Michigan is a rare feat. Any Purdue victory in which I don’t have to take an added dose of blood pressure medicine is a good thing in my book, but defeating the always likable Juwan Howard by this margin is always a fun thing. Added fun fact: Morehead State (30) and Eastern Kentucky (27) both outperformed Michigan. Likewise, the score 99-67 is the exact same score that Texas Southern and Purdue had in late November.
  • Lance Jones: Became Purdue’s 5th different player to lead the team in scoring in a contest this season. Zach Edey, Braden Smith, Fletcher Loyer, Trey Kauffman Renn, and now Lance Jones completes the 5 starters to lead Purdue in scoring for at least one game with his 24 points against Michigan.
  • 19: Points by Braden Smith against Rutgers is a positive sign going forward. There are some talking-head types on podcasts saying that Braden Smith’s offensive production isn’t where it needs to be, and that he is suffering from offensive “demons from his past”. While we all realize that is ridiculous, it is still great to se Braden look sharp. I’ll take 19 points from him day in and day out.

Opportunities for Improvement:

  • 4: The total that Rutgers out rebounded Purdue by on Sunday. While Purdue is supposedly one of the best rebounding teams in the nation, it seemed like every miss that Rutgers had, fell gently into the waiting arms of a Scarlet Knight.
  • 15: Offensive rebounds given up by Purdue against Rutgers, gave them 15 extra opportunities to score. Rebounding is mainly about effort, and it appeared that Purdue wasn’t giving their all against Rutgers.
  • 15: Turnovers given up by Purdue against Rutgers, which (you guessed it), gave Rutgers 15 extra opportunities to score. This number will get Purdue beat against a better team.
  • 30: Extra possessions for Rutgers due to offensive rebounds and turnovers. THIRTY. Spotting any non-Rutgers teams thirty possessions will get you beaten 99% of the time.

Big Man on Campus:

Lance Jones really brought it this week. As previously mentioned, he led the Boilermakers in scoring against Michigan, and did all the dirty-work against Rutgers to get the victory on the road.

For the week, Lance Jones averaged 14 points, 5 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 4 steals, and 1 turnover per game.

That is as solid as it comes.

A Look Ahead:

Purdue will likely continue to hold onto the #2 ranking, as #1 UConn did not lose this week.

On 1/31 Purdue will host Northwestern, in a revenge game from the horrific ordeal in Evanston in December. Purdue should be a double digit favorite in this game.

On 2/4 Purdue will go on the road to take on #13 Wisconsin in Madison. As of the writing of this article, Purdue is trailing Wisconsin in the Big 10 race, so this is a big deal for Purdue’s Big Ten future.

Welcome to February in the Big Ten, folks!

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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