Indiana vs. Saint Mary’s. “The Mourning After” short thoughts on March.

Well… here we are. Bounced from the tournament, after getting taken to the woodshed. And while I will get into what we have to appreciate about this team. I can’t sit here and say I’m not feeling crushed. Because I really am. How excitingly nervous I was yesterday at this time, I am equally bummed now. But that’s all just me being selfish for that one. So I’m writing this almost as a self therapeutic exercise in counting the blessings we got out of all this. But before all that let’s just quickly run through some of my feelings on the game.

Quick notes on the St. Mary’s game

-When Parker hit the first 3 attempt of the day I was feeling pretty dang good. Dumb to go off a sample size of 1 but I couldn’t help but be feeling good after that one. Was feeling ridiculously optimistic as it’s not often we’ve been hitting that first open 3. But alas, the shooting did not continue through the course of the game.

-No matter how often our team goes into the half with a large deficit, it never gets easier to watch. Even when we were down by 12 at half. That Michigan Big Ten Tournament game has proven to me that anything is possible in this league and selfishly I almost expected the come back a little too optimistically. I think I am so hopelessly, irrationally, and painfully optimistic about anything Indiana Basketball that I can’t be objective at all. No way we can do anything of significance down the line without cutting those halftime deficits out.

-St. Mary’s ran an actual offense. Indiana did not. While I love how HARD Xavier was playing out there, unfortunately, it was just a lot of effort with no objective game plan. Again, I appreciate it, but without having a gameplan other than the hopeful pass over the center or sprint to the rim every time, it just won’t do.

-St. Mary’s offense was impressive to watch. Each man on the floor had a role each time down the court. It wasn’t just a 2 man play with everyone else opening the floor by standing on the wings. Credit to them.

SHORT THOUGHTS ON MARCH AS A WHOLE

Our boys scrapped hard to get into this thing at all. The Hoosiers deserve credit for that. The First Four being in Dayton and not at the respective sites of Round 1 is absolutely absurd when games don’t end until after midnight. Such an unfair way to go about it. Also, I still say it should have been Michigan playing in that First Four game and not Indiana. BS that we even had to play that one. But, you have to win the games you get.

All in all, this season has ended as a success. Our boys were dead tired heading into that game, and I really think I could see it from the jump even though we were leading there for a bit. We made the tournament that’s all I needed personally. But I also am not going to say I wouldn’t have loved a little run here now. But really, the boys saw the goal of the tournament for THIS YEAR and got there. I say THIS YEAR because that will not be the goal in the seasons to come. Making the tournament his first year, Mike Woodson has gotten a program with no direction and has us trending upward. That’s all I wanted, and I believe that’s all any rational Indiana fan should have asked for. Again, next season we will be looking to keep this trend towards success going. I have confidence that this can be the case.

If the devil had come to me with a contract saying Indiana will make it as far as Kentucky at the beginning of the season, I’d have signed that for sure. So while they are currently at risk of setting their whole state on fire. I believe we should be grateful for our expectations were far lower and more realistic. Also, it does alleviate some of my personal pain knowing Calipari and the Wildcats will be watching right along with us. Selfishly, I do relish the anguish of a cheater.

All in all, it sucks to be eliminated. Feel bad now, let it hurt, get it all out because come April we are back at it. The hunt for Banner 6 continues! The Hoosiers fought to enter the tournament, and they did. We just need to this to snowball. I mean, hey we finally have a chip on our shoulder from March heading into next year. I will be doing a deep dive all weekend on what exactly next years lineup looks to be (barring an inevitable crazy transfer portal just for every team), as well as working on a season recap. Thank you for taking the time to read this and Go Hoosiers.

LUX ET VERITAS.

Your Indiana Hoosiers vs. St. Mary’s Gaels Primer / Blind Faith Boost!

Here we are. Round 1 officially… Following the First Four victory I was high on life. While the game against Wyoming was at some points painful to watch, we pulled out the win. And I will take ugly wins each and every day! Hey, so long as we can bring the opposition down to our game tempo and rhythm we will be just fine. This team is no stranger to adversity, so now is the time to weaponize that familiarity to low scoring yet still competitive tempo and gameplay. I mean we’ve seen our play drop at points over the course of the season. So, I feel like the Hoosiers had to have learned a thing or two to address these situations. And, while the First Four was close, I believe we addressed it. There were points I thought Maldonado may get hot but our boys were able to sever that before it got rolling each time! That’s growth people. But hey, that games behind us, time to press forward and go get the win over the Gaels of St. Mary’s College

St. Mary’s Primer

Listen, we know they play in Gonzaga’s conference. But what an absolute joke of a conference! The Hoosiers have been able to hold their opposition to 65.7ppg (58th across college basketball) in a conference of consisting of legitimate powerhouses of collegiate athletics. St. Mary’s held the opposition to a respectable 60.5 ppg. I say respectable because while that is the spot for 12th fewest across college basketball, THEY PLAY IN THE WEST COAST CONFERENCE!!!! While we were getting beaten and battered by the gauntlet of the Big Ten, St. Mary’s was beating up on schools like San Diego and Portland. So if there is an advantage to playing in that league, it is lesser skilled opponents may take less out of you over the course of your season. But I don’t resign to this. They had competed with Wisconsin and actually beat Notre Dame early in the season, but what does that mean in March? Jack squat. Teams can be entirely different entities by March. Look no further than the Hoosiers for that. We started the season hot, but settled into where we are currently. St. Mary’s has been playing very well, but ultimately against who?!

Many can say that IU is playing ugly basketball, but I say it does not matter if we can drag you down into playing that same basketball. Just did it to Wyoming. While some may attempt to battle us in slower, physical, iso, backdown play. You can try to adopt that play style, our boys were born into it, it seems.

The Gaels’ are extremely well balanced. Their leading scorer, 6-10 senior Matthias Tass, averages 12.6 points a game. Each member of their offense contributes though with no one being left off of the box score for them. But the only problem with matching up against us, is our defensive liabilities are few and far between. We never even really had to transition to a single double team against Wyoming’s “stellar big men”.

St. Marys can shoot the basketball. Which means we can not be cutting under the picks in this game. The second we give them an opening it’s daggers. Daggers that could spell a heartbreaking momentum shift. Our boys will need to be playing tight man throughout. I have full confidence in our boys to do just that. I see a lot of venom for Parker Stewart out there. But that guy has got some clamps. Needs to cut down on just some poor decisions on overcommitting on defense, but nonetheless he is giving it his all and can guard any 2 or 3 we may need him to.

I say we ride the hot hands and look for Xavier to get the ball to 2 guys, Trayce and Geronimo. Let’s hop on this wagon, currently being driven by Trayce with Geronimo riding shotgun, and ride them as far as they will take us.

Blind Faith Booster

For this Blind Faith Booster I would like to shortly discuss the words of one of the GOATs, a true champion, Muhammed Ali (ever heard of him?).

Muhammed Ali spoke about belief in oneself when he said, “It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.

Words from a true legend to ponder heading into our bout against St. Mary’s. We all gotta believe it will happen tonight Hoosier Nation. You’d be amazed at the power of wishful thinking. Nothing in life is won without first imagining the manner in which it can possibly be won! No time for critiquing (after I had critiqued a bit earlier, I know). Our lads need our utmost support. They need to get out of this stretched out funk of limited shooting, and I think we can aid our guys in that endeavor through our support and appreciation. No doubt. No pessimism. Just optimistic unyielding, unbending, and unbreaking support.

LUX ET VERITAS!!!!

HOOSIERS COLLECT THEIR BOUNTY AND BEAT THE COWBOYS!!! WE ARE ON TO THE NEXT ONE!!!

LET’S GO Hoosiers!!!!!

Quick first half recap. Slow start lead to a defensive battle to start this one. Seemed like neither side could buy a bucket. Our defense is dominant and was the key to the first half score ending 30-25. Neither team seemed to want to make a shot, but dang both sides were playing tough as nails. Thank your higher power that Maldonado didn’t want to play on the floor, but rather in the air. His turnovers and play in the first were pivotal in that first half. Missed layups and free throws abound. But nonetheless we got out of the first half with the 5 point lead.

2nd half finally started to pick up. Ike started to pick up his game for Wyoming. The game definitely built a bit of momentum and our boys picked it up right in step. Causing 17 turnovers through only 32 minutes, tying Wyoming’s season high. That would be broken shortly after that point. The game picked up significantly while both teams seemed to piecemeal some semblance of a rhythm together. But even then the defense remained stout as the score ended 66-58.

Trayce put on a clinic. His game is something else to watch. He lacks size on pretty much every man he’s guarding and yet he makes big men actually terrified at the rim! Guys with 4 inches on him are afraid to get stuffed at the rim. His game is also smooth as a baby’s bottom. He makes that post up teardrop look easy. For anyone watching only the Hoosiers all year you may think it is easy, when it most certainly is not. That’s just the level of game Trayce is dishing out each game.

Geronimo is the GARBAGE MAN!!!! Picking up and putting back the trash at the rim! What a huge game from him. When he was a possible scratch with injury. I thought that would be a loss. I just had NNNNNOOOOOOO IDEA just how big of a loss it would have been. Man… we NEEDED HIM in this one, and he delivered 10 fold passed expectations against Wyoming. Give him this next off-season of training in Bloomington, Geronimo is going to be a scary matchup for anyone in the Big Ten! GERONIMO WAS THIS GAME’S X-FACTOR. While Trayce remained as reliable as ever it was absolutely paramount that Indiana had another contributer to act as any sort of fuel for our game. I mean he seemed to be the only one sinking anything at one point. What an absolute stud. No critiques from this guy… only unrelenting appreciation!

Shout out to the Hoosier faithful in the arena today. You were doing the Lord’s work! That arena was ruckus with the cream and crimson blooded. Your presence had to be felt in that arena I’m sure. It was felt through the TruTV(whhhhyyyy are they still trying to shove that channel down our throats), so I know it had to be quite audible in Dayton.

Only minor critique was the lineup on the floor at when Durr was bumbling around a bit. That was rough. I don’t want to get into it too much while trying to only send out the most positive of vibes to Indiana’s tournament run. But let’s just take a note of that and learn from it moving forward.

So proud of these boys for sticking in the fight. It wasn’t the prettiest fight, but man if they weren’t willing to get as gritty with it as it took! Huge day for the boys! Huge day for Hoosier Nation. Nothing but good vibes to follow! We are playing with house money. Surpassed all our expectations for a growing season with new leadership already. Nothing to lose. And there is nothing more dangerous than men with nothing to lose!

So now we face St. MARYS! The ultimate game of “what’s your mascot?”. They are a good squad. Indiana is going to have to address these free throws being thrown away if they want to beat them.

Also in case you were wondering a Gael is a person originating from Gaelic cultures. A little knowledge for you. Know thy enemy and what not.

All in all, I think the 21st century mogul and poet Jay-Z can some up my current mindset.

On to the next one!!!!”

LUX ET VERITAS!!!

Your “Blind Faith Boost” before Indiana takes on Wyoming.

“‘Cuz you gotta have faith. Faith. Uh Faithah!!!” -George Michael’

-Trayce Jackson-Davis

Alright folks. I just wanted to go ahead and send this post out, hoping to get anybody a little confidence and good vibe boost before we start our March Madness campaign. I do believe in the power of collective thought. So selfishly I am going to post this to attempt to aid the Hoosiers however I can for their First Four game tomorrow against the Wyoming Cowboys.

No put downs, just gas ups here. The time to be critical is over for us Hoosier fans. This is the team we got. Time to flip the switch to Rabid, unrelenting, unflinching support. There’s no room on this wagon for anything else if we want our boys to play up to their potential. No room for negative thoughts now that we are in. It’s anyone’s title to win with this year. Just had to get in and we did.

If any of you have read any of my previous posts here you’ll know I am dropping quotes on the regular and I have just a few to mull over for ya.

Saint Augustine, the 4th century theologian and philosopher once spoke of faith. “Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.” Now I’m sure he was speaking on faith in God. But I think that quote speaks to faith and belief in general. I mean it’s the old “whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re usually right” just worded more poetically. But the quote rings true. The craziest thing is our faith should come even easier than that as WE HAVE SEEN what this team can do when firing on all cylinders! So have faith Hoosier Nation!

Renowned architect, and undercover Indiana fan Frank Lloyd Wright had this to say about belief, “The thing always happens that you really believe in, and the belief in a thing makes it happen“. Not quite as eloquent as St. Gus up top but nonetheless on the nose. No great deed has been done in this world without first imagining the victorious and beneficial outcome. The drawbacks and potential loss are always the second thought. No need for that second thought heading into this tournament. Let’s just have faith these boys leave it all our there and that we’ll be able to respond to adversity in the face of opposing runs.

Lastly, it was the 20th century poet and bard Billy Idol that said, “Well there’s nothing to lose And there’s nothing to prove… I’ll be dancing with myself.” That’s just it. We have nothing to lose people. Mike Woodson got us to the tournament and in doing so solidified this season as an uptick in our trajectory. His first year he improved us, when I expected a down year rife with growing pains. We have nothing to lose this year. No expectations for Final Fours. As far as “nothing to prove” goes… We’ve already proved what needed to be proven this year, and that was program growth and improvement. So let’s just get out there and and keep on dancin’ through this tourney!

I have faith in this program. But I also have faith in us! The fans. Indiana fans are unlike any other. The single most basketball obsessed, rabid and educated fan base out there in my book. Indiana fans travel like a wave of Ghenghis Khan’s hoarde, with the manner in which we invade arenas! Our fans are always an x factor in neutral sites. Because we show up for the Hoosiers even when there’s nothing of circumstance on the line. Just a clear cut above the rest!

I would not want to play Indiana in this tournament. Our ceiling is non existant in my mind, because this team has yet to hit it and we are still here. We just need the boys to be feeling their best!  An Indiana team operating at ALL SYSTEMS GO can not be beat this year! I have faith that it can happen. That’s all I really got, but I’ll give it all to the boys in Crimson!

Let’s take this one game at a time. Let’s all support this squad with all we’ve got because these boys deserve it. They’ve been beaten and battered learning a new system in the gauntlet of juggernauts that is the Big Ten regular season, and are now tougher for it. The strongest swords are forged in the hottest of fires, and I don’t know of any fire hotter than the Big Ten.

To any and all making the trip to Dayton for the game. Bring the ruckus, pump up our boys, and the rest of us will be sending the positive vibes from afar. Godspeed.

Indiana’s Blind Faith Apostle,

Burke

LUX ET VERITAS!!

Time to dance like EVERYONE’S watching… because they are. (Big 10 tourney recap/Wyoming Primer)

Nearly all the best things that came to me in life have been unexpected, unplanned by me.

Oscar Wilde, 19th century Irish poet and probable Hoosier fan.

I think that’s exactly what this Big Ten Tournament run the Hoosiers went on was. Unexpected. It was unexpected for these guys to go on a tear like they did. It was unexpected for Trayce to play like we all knew he was capable of. And, it was unexpected for the Hoosiers to plant their stake in the NCAA tournament. If you say you saw this coming… you did not watch the last 10 games of out season… These boys need applauded for showing up. If this can snowball into a tournament run, I’m sure quite a few of us will be eating crow for our thoughts on how the regular season had ended.

Indiana really did let that Iowa game slip away. But nonetheless I’m very happy with what we just saw this week. Mike Woodson had flipped something in these guys that made them start believing in themselves and eachother.

Trayce is an Indiana legend now. I don’t care what you think! What an absolute monster out there! Iowa looked small. And funny thing is Trayce doesn’t play big, he’s just uber athletic. His game just made him look like a giant amongst men. Unfortunately, it still wasn’t enough. But a credit to TJD this postseason. Just need to keep this thing rolling.

I can’t begin to explain how proud I am of these boys. They deserve all the credit in the world. The Indiana team that showed up to this Big Ten Tournament is an entirely different group of men than the boys we saw close out the Big Ten regular season.

You can say what you will about how the Iowa game ended. All I know is the show these boys put on locked up our placement in the tournament. So…. we are dancing this year!

We dancin’

Now onto Wyoming…

The Hoosiers found themselves in the first four games with our spots being taken by some bid stealers, Virginia Tech stealing an ACC bid being the best example. We are matching up against Wyoming for the 12 seed play in game. Tuesday, March 13 at 9:10 PM. I fully expect to come out and beat the Cowboys. I’m looking for Xavier to step up in this one, this game will largely be played in the post between Trayce Jackson-Davis and Wyoming’s Graham Ike, and we will need Xavier to step up and produce when the frontcourt battle may seem blow for blow. Although if Trayce can keep his momentum rolling from the Big Ten tournament, I don’t believe Wyoming will have an answer. Indiana’s roster is objectively more talented than Wyoming’s. Indiana is opening as -3.5 favorites.

Both teams top scoring players, are undersized 5s. Now while Indiana’s got maybe the best undersized 5 in the NCAA, Wyoming’s Graham Ike is no joke. He is nearly averaging a double double, with 19.6 ppg and 9.6 rebounds. These battle will be continuous. So while these guys may, for lack of a better phrase, “cancel each other out. It will be crucial to see who can step up among the supporting casts on either squad. I’m looking for Trey to absolutely make a statement in this tournament. Hoping to see him get some good shots up, lord knows we could use it.

While I fully expect to head into Dayton and handle our business tomorrow night, I’m going to say win or lose, this season is a success folks. In 1 season Mike Woodson has gotten us back to the Big Dance! What an awesome first year it’s been for the true Hoosier. We outperformed during the initial parts of the season, but are again starting to find our pace. I really think that Indiana has a chance to make a run this March. While the Big Ten hasn’t really had the greatest showings in recent years, mostly due to them beatin’ the heck out of each other and limping into the tournament, I really think that Indiana could go on a run. Why not!?! If we are making any shots, we can absolutely beat anyone in this tournament. Purdue is an awful matchup for us with their large frontcourt, but we beat them once and nearly beat them again, so I’m confident we can step up to the occasion again.

Get ready folks!!! It’s going down tomorrow night! March basketball is here and man… if it doesn’t feel amazing… Here’s to pumping our boys today and tomorrow before the game. Here’s to Indiana finally being back in the tournament. Here’s to first year coach Mike Woodson, keep trending up Mike. Lastly, here’s to Trayce Jackson-Davis, he’s going to have to work to show up and dominate this game… Which bodes well, because TJD is just now hitting his stride. Get excited yall!!!!

LUX ET VERITAS!

And we are dancing! Let’s keep this momentum rolling! (BIG TEN TOURNAMENT EP. 3 OF 5)

We are dancing!!! My God we did it!

It’s a thing of beauty, isn’t it?

LIKE A PHOENIX FROM THE ASHES INDIANA IS ON A TEAR IN MARCH PEOPLE!!!!! We are a new squad. A squad gaining momentum at the single most important time to… March!

So following that win I immediately ran to pack a bag, my wife understands, and I was out the door. I’ve got to be there tomorrow! So I’m writing this actually from a rest stop of I69 at the Fort Wayne exit. So for any spelling mistakes or grammar errors, I do apologize!

What a win.

People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed, and the more they find a way to succeed”. Now while I often times think speakers like Tony Robbins are full of it, I have to say he nailed it with that one. This team is rolling and they look so much more invested across the board for it.

Cockburn is an absolute monster… One that needed stopped. And while I’m not sure many can stop him. I feel like our boys did just enough to slow him down enough to limit his game.

Trayce Jackson-Davis is showing what he can do in this big ten tournament. He sees a shot to build an NBA resume in March and looks to be taking full advantage of it. Making some clutch shots today, challenged by Cockburn to take the open shot! CLUTCH FREE THROWSSSS!!!! CLUTCH GENE positive!

Basketball is a game of runs, and it may just be because this is the team I follow religiously but our games seem to have more momentum shifts and runs than anyone else. This team is going to give me a heart attack by the end of this season. But I will gladly take those heart attacks because their showing the skill to not give up when adversity is hitting its hardest.

Don’t look now but we are gaining momentum and the boys are remembering again that they can compete and beat ANYONE IN THIS GAME!!!

I can’t be alone in just how proud of these guys I am. They have taken me to the woodshed emotionally, but that’s just because of the investment I put on them. I can’t imagine what these guys who actually put it all out there are feeling, what they are thinking. It’s wild. I hope to God this game cemented courage in these men, courage to persevere and take chances! They can beat anyone and we know it.

The NCAA better be on watch, because I think these guys are starting to know it too!

Sorry for keeping my thoughts so short on this one… have to hit the road!!

On to… who gives a heck! They’re going down!!!

LUX ET VERITAS!

Your Indiana Hoosiers vs. Michigan Wolverines Primer (Big Ten Tournament Pt. 1 of 5)

So our boys are heading into to the game tomorrow in the #9 seed facing off with the #8 seed Michigan. Now at the beginning of the season I fully expected for us to find ourselves playing on Thursday for Mike Woodson’s debut Big Ten tournament. Who I did not expect to see playing Thursday at the beginning of the season was the Michigan Wolverines. I mean guys… I know we’ve taken some tough heartbreak this season… but Michigan’s season must be another rollercoaster of let downs. Being preseason #6, they thought the Big Ten was there’s to lose, and if everyone’s honest with themselves, so did the rest of the Big Ten. But here we both find ourselves playing in the same game to potentially square off against the #1 seed Illinois.

Both of these team’s are currently sitting just on the fringe of most bracketology reports. ESPN has Indiana as the first team out, while Michigan is one of the last four bye teams so one of the last 8 in reality. Which means both teams will be giving it their absolute all Thursday.

Indiana needs guys willing to shoot. We ended that last Purdue game down 2 points. For the final 10 minutes of that bout, our boys were passing up wide open shots like the entire team had no interest in scoring. Nobody wanted the pressure of potentially missing that shot so nobody took it. They flipped the ol “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” quote, and made it “you miss 0% of the shots you NEVER take”.

So Xavier Johnson (1st Indiana All-time heart team if you ask me) put it upon himself to win the game. Taking poor shots, sure, but shots that needed to be taken with the mentality of his teammates at the time. And that’s not to say they weren’t putting forth an effort it was just everyone else was playing so timid, that Xavier had no choice but to be a little reckless if we had any shot in that one.

He’s going to do everything he can to take care of us.

After pondering what it will take to beat Michigan, I really saw two glaring issues that need to be addressed.

First, our boys need to bring their hands this game. The Hoosiers seemed to be playing volleyball with their rebounds last weekend. Like past the point of errors, into full blown yips territory with it. We were tipping every rebound in every possible direction it seemed. That cannot happen Thursday or we are dead in the water. The only thing that kills momentum more than a dagger three pointer, is a second chance dagger three pointer. We definitely had a few of those last game. While Purdue was dribbling off their own feet to keep us in that game, we just can not count on Michigan to be so courteous. Grab the ball, record the board, and let’s get on with it. Can’t be ping ponging it around the basket with Michigan.

Second, the Hoosiers ABSOLUTELY MUST be willing to fail. Theordore Roosevelt once said, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” Our boys played timid in West Lafayette. If they can step up their own confidence and trust their game to take more chances we could eliminate the need for absolutely bananas shots from Xavier Johnson (again no disrespect on him. The man did what had to be done. Left it all out there for better or worse). What have you got to lose boys? Indiana is a rabid, very well versed fan base. I can’t speak for everyone. But I’m not expecting world beaters to all of a sudden show up. All I really want is to see the team play with more confidence… and in turn, really just more fun. What’s fun about timid play. Isn’t fun to watch, can’t imagine it’s too fun too play.

All talk of confidence and fun aside, this is a huge game. MASSIVE. Indiana looks to have a 3rd chance to make a last ditch statement to get into the tournament. Beat Michigan we are mmmaaayyybbbeee in the dance, barring just a slew of tournament upsets resulting in automatic bids being dished out to otherwise excluded teams around the country. Beat Michigan and Illinois, we are in. I have to imagine that if it’s between Indiana and a mid major jockeying for an at large bid, a tie in resume would go to Indiana. Because, the selection committee can say there is nothing but the resume considered, but they would definitely like the large and willing to spend Indiana fan base to be attending the NCAA tournament.

So here’s to 3rd times the charm on big, crucial, resume building games after the Rutgers and Purdue losses. Here’s to Mike Woodson giving us games in March to care about again, even in this his transition year. And here’s to gassing our boys up. Confidence will be crucial in this one.

Lastly, Mike may want to keep a lookout for rogue head palmings.

On to dismantling the Big Ten starting with Michigan,

LUX ET VERITAS!!!

Why Purdue is STILL Indiana’s little brother (an observation on what matters in College Basketball)

So I was defending my comments regarding Purdue still being Little Brother to IU in the comments of various boards, Twitter (@flyoverwire) and facebook, and figured I’d just really lay out my defense rather than keep defending my points in the comment sections. I want to lay out the facts and really “hammer” it home to all of you that Purdue is still very much little brother, and I think anyone with half a mind for what the top teams are really vying for in college basketball would agree.

Just a little backstory. I graduated from Indiana with a history degree. While that certainly didn’t give me the keys to the Brinks truck after graduation, it certainly gave me a hunger and appreciation for perspective. Because really, that’s all history is. Perspective on the past. That if understood, can help with your present or provide any sense of foresight for things to come. And I have to say whoever thinks Purdue is now Big Brother of the Indiana-Purdue rivalry, lacks perspective.

Let me give you some.

It’s 1980. President Reagan was just elected to his first term as the President of the United States. The top song is “Call Me” by Blondie. And the US Men’s hockey team just beat the Rooskies in the “miracle on ice”. That March Purdue Men’s Basketball played in their 2nd and most recent final four appearance…

That’s right. This was the fashion during Purdue’s last Final Four…

Actually kinda drippin’

0 NCAA Championships… I don’t know why this post has to continue any farther than that. Zero. And you can say we haven’t had one in decades. To which I’d respond at least we made a Final Four in the current millenia (2002).

Sure they’ve won 10 of our last 11 matchups… sure. But we’ve been to 8 of the last 10 (also the last 4) Final Fours among the two of us. So all you “what have you done for me lately” folks saying they’re the bigger program now… I could argue what has Painter done for the Boilermakers lately?

I would say you can settle for Big Ten Titles and sweet 16 exits, but that’s not our goal in Bloomington. We are going to try everything we possibly can to get back to the National Championship. If that means down years, heck down decades, on our way to another title, so be it. The next title is always the sweetest. So we will chase that centuries if need be (God I hope not). The real ones here know settling for the annual tournament exit is not an option.

We strive for far more than our Purdue breathren. In the words of the philosopher-poet Robert Matthew Van Winkle… (Vanilla Ice), “anything less than the best is a felony”.

Please put that quote on my tombstone.

I’m sick of hearing even a few Indiana fans gas up Matt Painter. Guess what you hypocrites, if an Indiana coach was here for as long as he’s been at Purdue we’d expect him to have 3 made final four appearances and have won at least one national championship. That Indiana coach would never get the chance to win as many games as Painter has because the same people who gas him up in the Indiana camp, are some of the same people who would be calling for an IU coach’s head for not doing diddly squat in the tournament. No Final Fours. Not one in 16 years with Painter. If any Indiana Coach let us down in the tournament that consistently we would have fired him ten times over. Heck, we did it with Crean. And he was only half the tease Matt Painter is. That’s what you call higher standards. And we do have just that, higher standards. Mike Woodson is currently sitting at .500 against Matt Painter and also already has the same amount of final four appearances, and National Championships for that matter (0). Facts. Very. Recent. Facts.

You can say we are tied to our history too much but anyone who has common sense on what really matters, Final Fours and Championships knows Purdue hasn’t done squat to take the Big Brother monicker from us. Anyone who doesn’t think that… think bigger. College Basketball amongst the TRULY elite schools out there is an all or nothing game. You either get all of the glory with a national championship or you end up with nothing to show for it.

So you say “Purdue has more Big Ten Titles“…

In the national zeitgeist do you think Big Ten Champs are remembered?… GET OUT OF HERE!!! To the common fan nationwide the Hoosiers are synonymous with basketball, because Indiana’s got serious hardware. Some serious hardware collecting some serious dust, but nonetheless there isn’t a bare trophy case! OH!!! Sorry, Purdue did have that one retroactively awarded pre-NCAA, pre-integration, and pre-crossover “national title” in 1932.

This is Rucker Park legend and drug kingping Pee Wee Kirkland, credited with inventing the crossover. (He was born 12 years AFTER Purdue’s only “title“)
Credit:slamonline.com

Yeah… we rushed the court against Purdue this year. I’m not proud of the younger, less versed Indiana fans for that one. In their defense, that student section is packed to the brim with young, dumb, and drunk kids (I know because I was one of them). They lack PERSPECTIVE. Also, I’ll give them a little more leniency for being a minor milestone on our track to turning this program into a title contender again. Mike Woodson did in his first matchup what Archie couldn’t in 7. And come on, when you’re in college aren’t you looking for any reason to throw a party?!

I may be a dumb Indiana fan boy… but I know history remembers the champions. Everybody asks “what have you done for me lately?” I say what has Purdue done for their fans lately?!?! Except let them down in March to an extent that would never be accepted in Bloomington. We expect more because we’ve had more. And I for one don’t want to settle for less than our greatest efforts, trying anything and everything to get back there. I think Matt Painter’s had enough squads with enough talent have their expectations dashed to know… HE AINT IT CHIEF!!

All this being said, I’ll be the first to point out that this could be seen as Purdue living rent-free in my mind. But that isn’t it. It’s people who can’t see the forest for the trees. What is the point of all this but to be the best? Indiana has been the best before, so we are always striving to get back there. That’s why we would never accept Painter’s current tenure. Everyone wants to anoint him a living legend coach, but what has he got to show for it?!!! Jack squat.

Would any of us really accept the “stability and success” of the Painter era? 16 seasons. No Final Fours. You can be stable amongst the second tier all you’d like. I’d risk losing seasons in the pursuit of a national championship any day.

Until they win anything that demands NATIONAL attention, they will continue to live in our shadow. Don’t ever let those Purdue fans forget. Our final four drought is 20 years, but theirs is 42.

Rant over.

Down with Michigan. Mike, keep your head on a swivel and watch for stray open palm punches.

LUX ET VERITAS!!!

Had to digest that one for a while. Here are some thoughts after that Purdue loss.

Alright. I think I gave myself sufficient time to digest that loss. What a ride. An absolute battle between 2 staples of college basketball. I don’t write on stats so much as I do the eye test and emotion, but want to know an absolutely bananas stat? In all-time win percentage Indiana (2,945 games played) is at .635 and Purdue(2,898) is at .634. While we may potentially be two ships passing in the night. I truly believe this team is on the precipice of widening that .001 gap in the coming seasons.

Indiana fought hard. And while the loss was absolutely defeating and emotionally draining. No Indiana fan should look back on this year and see it as a failure. You know what Archie was never able to do? Win against Purdue. Mike Woodson’s first season. He is one possession from winning 2 matchups against them this season. We are trending up and that needs to be remembered. And Mike showing Purdue that things are different in his first year is a promising start to his tenure back where he belongs.

This is the reason Purdue was out for blood friday, and we still nearly stole it from them. If it wasn’t for Stajochskwfictiistz, or whatever the heck, making some ball(d)er shots. We would have went into “Mt. Mackey” and stole one.

The game yesterday was a heartbreaker… while simultaneously being a heart bearer. I don’t care what you think about Xavier Johnson’s game. If you think he forces it. Speeds up his game to much. Whatever… That guy is all-Indiana in my book. I’ve never seen someone want it so bad. The ferocity he played with is exhibit A on why I will I will go to the mat with XJ trash talkers any day all day.

I mean expecting him to ball out like a 5 star is unfair. But the tools he got he is going to utilize to the umpteenth degree to try to will Indiana to the W in a given game. His skills may not be Yogi-esque but his willingness to fight for this squad most certainly is. So crazy that a transfer can cement himself so firmly in the hearts of us who actually sit down and watch his effort for the course of 40 minutes.

He took bad shots. Yeah. But what was the man supposed to do? No one. And I mean no one else was looking to get one off. So he went full thanos.

And like thanos he ultimately came up short. He didn’t rely on his team. Because he really couldn’t. Nobody wanted to miss shots, so nobody wanted to take shots.

I know we are all licking our wounds from that loss. But we must cut the fat from this one, see what we can salvage and get to building on next season. The shooting is coming folks. The boys didn’t have their second half flat start this game. So there’s a plus.

Also we didn’t let Zach Edey absolutely dictate the paint. Our undersized guys stood tough. Even though Edey made Trace Jackson-Davis look like a high schooler in size on him. Now Mike can go get some of his guys. A few guys to matchup specifically for larger front courts that we will consistently face in the Big Ten, will go a long way in solidifying a contender.

And just a sidebar in case you weren’t aware, Purdue still very much has a little brother complex with Indiana University. I can speak for that by how insufferable my own traitor of a little brother (current Purdue student, even though he grew up rooting for our boys) was blowing me up. They love to see us lose, because they haven’t done anything of significance since integration.

Purdue’s last National Champions (named retroactively). I can’t speak to whether or not the crossover was even invented yet.

All this being said. Our dreams for banner 6 are not dashed yet. Win the Big Ten Tournament and we are in. While the highest seed to ever win the tournament was Michigan at the 8 seed in 2017, Indiana could be the first 9 seed. Now I understand how unlikely this is. But hey, why not us? Why can’t our boys come out like men on fire and secure the tournament bid? I mean we play the games for a reason people. If we truly find a way to shake off the second half slow starts, there isn’t really a team this year we couldn’t contend with. The big ten is a bunch of good teams beating up on eachother. For that reason I’m going to take our fighters chance and absolutely wear my heart on my sleeve this week! Lets put on a show and sneak into the party!

Don’t worry little brother, we’ll be back, and we’ll be out for blood. We just won’t make such a big deal out of it when we get back to fully expecting to whoop some boiler butt. We know how to act like we’ve been there before because well… we have.

On to dismantling the Big Ten this week,

LUX ET VERITAS!!!

“In the midst of darkness, light persists” Gettin preachy on the hopelessly negative among Indiana Fans heading into the Purdue game.

Indiana fans are a flame right now. With message boards and Facebook as devisive as ever. The division isn’t about how the teams played as of late (we all know that has been piss poor), but how we all react to that performance. The loudest among us being trolls who comment before digesting. The thing is I can’t say it hasn’t been warranted. The other thing is… what the heck is frantically retreading it going to do to help the current situation? We all need our outlets. I get it. That’s why I bought this site. So I could rant and vent long form, into the ether, on just how Indiana can destroy me week after week, but I make sure all angles are covered and I still got my team’s back.

How you gonna hate on this?

The loudest haters have lost all hope. What is fun about sports without hope? I remember my freshman year on Bloomington’s miraculous campus. I had really hoped for team success. Wasn’t promised it, but had hoped for it. I happened to attend a game on Dec. 10th that year. 2011. And I think everyone who follows IU religiously will know whether that hope paid off or not.

Hope is a powerful thing.

Ghandi (noted civil rights leader and potentially posthumously cancelled individual) once said “in the midst of darkness, light persists”. I think no quote better exemplifies my overall sentiment heading into the Hoosiers’ bout against the Boilermakers tomorrow.

Going into this game. Indiana has been absolutely demoralized. Beaten down by the cruelest mistress in the game, squandered potentential. And as clear as it is to all of us, it is to them too. They know they are coming out slow each and every 2nd half. It’s the craziest case of program wide yips ive seen in a while. But what’s the fun in all this without hope.

You all can try to put out the hint of light remaining for this season all you want. Us real ones are gonna be here stoking it. When… and that is WHEN banner #6 comes, we’ll have the receipts. I ride with this team. Because it’s my team. May be dumb and I may be hypocritical to some extent on more knee jerk reactions. But at the end of the day the Hoosiers are my squad. And I’m going to hold onto my hope that we go into Mackey and handle our business.

In the words of the great Dr. Martin Luther King, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” You don’t agree with that guy?! Get outta here.

Down with Purdue!

LUX ET VERITAS!!!

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