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.
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!!!