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!!!

NCAA tournament “Round of Two”. Indiana Hoosiers v. Rutgers pregame thoughts and optimism.

I woke up today feeling like Jack Skellington…

WHAT! IS! THIS!!?!?!

Oh what a wonderful feeling! My breakfast is tasting better, the birds are singing prettier, and by God I’d say I have a pep in my step this morning. Our boys have grown together quick enough to say to hell with the growing pains. When most were expecting an underwhelming season with a developing gameplan, our boys mustered together a season that has us still holding our breaths with each shot into the month of March!

Mike Woodson has already managed to give me something Archie Miller had failed to in his entire tenure as Head Coach of Indiana, a season where I’m not resigned to mediocrity by the end of February. After taking loss after loss in that 5 game losing streak, Indiana spit out its loose teeth and in a  “Rocky”esque effort the Hoosiers finally began punching back and now have an absolute showdown with Rutgers over a spot in the NCAA tournament.

Hail to the Chief!

I titled this “Round of Two” because this game today is just that. This is the first round in the NCAA tournament! Both teams are on the first four out or last four in on most of if not all the major bracketology reports available. Meaning this win is absolutely crucial to not only your team’s victory, but also your closest bid competition’s downfall. That’s double dipping on your own success if I’ve ever heard it.

Being essentially win and your in here, the Hoosiers are behind the wheel of their own destiny. And while yesterday, I wrote my Love Letter to this year’s Hoosier squad, I would be lying if I said my heart won’t be pumping out of my chest, hanging on every shot praying for that Hoosier victory. I know it’s selfish to ask for more when I truly believe this Indiana team owes the fans absolutely nothing, but I’m begging you basketball gods!!! Let my Hoosiers pull this one out today!

I won’t ask for anything else! Just give me more of the excitement I feel in this moment! When your team’s playing for something, everything’s better in life. So sad reading that after typing it, but I STAND BY THAT! I mean come on let’s be real its the same reason half of all of our timelines are clogged with Hoosier posts separated only by the millionth picture of your coworkers baby you could give two about.

We live for this. We live for March. We are a different breed of fan. Our blood runs Crimson (as most does I guess, but NONETHELESS!!!). Give me the stakes. Give me the highs and I’ll gladly take those lows. I mean… this is Indiana after all.

If Xavier Johnson could turn his pair of games into a trilogy of greatness I see no reason why Indiana doesn’t march into Assembly Hall and handle their business. This is a special group of young men and when it’s clicking Indiana can run with anyone. Win and you’re in here, and based on how frequently the top teams have been losing this year, seems like if you’re in, you’re in contention to mess around and win the whole darn thing!

1 more solid game from Xavier and we are talking best trilogy I’ve seen since Lord of the Rings.

So gather your loved ones around your biggest, baddest TV. And let’s all root on our boys who have absolutely battled this season as they look to cement a position in the NCAA tournament. See you all on the other side! Here’s to some more heart attack level stress inducing games to come.

LUX ET VERITAS!!!!,

This hopelessly optimistic fan boy

Also, if you came here looking for stats. I do apologize… there are nerdier sources available for that.

Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio State Buckeyes PREVIEW BLOG

Game tips off at 7:00 ET today. Indiana has the all-time advantage on Ohio State 109-87. Their previous matchup this season resulted in a 67-51 Indiana victory fueled by a MONSTER performance from Trayce Jackson-Davs (27 points, 12 rebounds). Indiana’s relentless defense was able to force 15 total turnovers from the Buckeyes.

Ohio State will be hosting their 4th home game in a row. While that is usually a cause for relaxation and a bit of an ease in the schedule, Ohio State will have hosted these 4 games over the course of 8 days. Quite a busy schedule. Whereas Indiana University has had 6 days to prep and rest for the Buckeyes Monday night. Ohio State will be looking to win a game following them being taken to the woodshed in that last game, losing by 16 and being held under 60. Indiana Hoosiers will be coming off a slide of epic proportions looking to salvage anything they can before we just call the season a wrap. Big stakes here.

I’m really hoping that the Buckeyes 30% shooting from the floor (Absolutely pathetic at home) spills over into this one. Both teams really have one player that the offense revolves around. You all know Indiana’s guy!!!

TJD!!!

In order to shut down the Ohio State offense, E.J. Liddell will need to be slowed down. I say slowed down because I don’t believe he can be stopped outright. Currently averaging 19.7 ppg Liddell has been the catalyst for Ohio State’s offense.

Indiana must play through Trayce. The Hoosiers just aren’t scoring from beyond the arc this season, and unless a significant amount of change has taken place in 6 days, I don’t see us scoring much on a defense that is solid on the perimeter. The Hoosiers can not, CAN NOT, miss layups today. Indiana has left points on the table at every possible chance this year it seems. This must be eliminated from our program.

This game looks to be a low scoring bout. I’m always hopelessly optimistic, but after that lost last week I don’t know if I really expect Indiana to win. Ohio State will be a tough matchup across the board. When a game is poised to be so low scoring, we must make free throws and layups. Doing that will easily limit the Hoosiers from beating themselves and fixing the trajectory they are currently on.

PREDICTION:

While the game is currently projected to end in a 72-66 Ohio State victory (kenpom.com), I believe that the Hoosiers will pull this one out. I can’t see Ohio State having enough time to prepare for this one as the Hoosiers did. Their limited turn around time will have them really only having addressed TJD and focus on him. If Indiana’s supporting players want their time to shine and have a memorable performance this is it. I’m looking for TJD to administrate the offense and have a big assist total in a 64-57 Indiana Hoosier victory.

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