Boilers Come Out Hot on Cold Night

Boilers cruise to an easy 86-62 win

On perhaps the coldest night of the year so far the Boilers came out of the gate hot last night. On a night that Robbie Hummel would be the talk of the arena, JuJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore lit it up. Both players ended the game with 19 points, but could have scored more in a close game. Moore had 17 of his points by the half, and really did not play much in the second half. He was 5-6 from beyond the arc including hitting his first five three’s. He really does deserve the nickname 3-Twaun. When he is on there are few that are better than him. JJ decided to start the game from outside as well. He scored the first four points of the game all from just inside the arc. Of the 47 points Purdue had scored at the half, Johnson and Moore had 30 of them. Hummel also had a great half, but was just overshadowed by his teammates. Once the second half began it was just a chance to see what some of the bench players could do. Valpo only really made a run to close the gap when we put a less than stellar group out on the floor. The Boilers had this game from the get go. The next game for these boys will be a tough road test in Alabama. They are 8-0, and poised to have a great season. Saturday’s game will be another indicator of how great it will be.

Free Basketball! What Can Top That?

This weekend while I was in town for the Grand Valley State game against Carson-Newman we decided to check out the Lakers men’s and women’s teams. We only paid $11 dollars a piece for the football tickets so we decided that the $7 to get into both basketball games was in the budget. I decided to pick up my football tickets at the will call window before going into the basketball game. At the window they told me that I could get into both games free with my football ticket. How great is that? Maybe I am spoiled because of the great atmosphere that I have seen in Mackey this season, but I really was not that impressed with the turnout. The student section had maybe fifty people in it. The women’s game was a blowout when I walked in, but it quickly became a close one. The Lakers pulled away in the end though to win 81-68. Five Lakers scored in double digits. The only reason that the game seemed to get close was the foul desparity. For a small school these girls can light it up. They shot 65% on the night. Not too shabby.

The men on the other hand had an easy time taking down Ashland. They shot 61% themselves in the route. They took an 18 point lead into the halftime break, and never really looked back. Toreau Brown scored a career high 22 points to lead his team, but this was another balanced attack. They won 72-48 to make the Lakers 2-0 on the day. Leaving the arena to go to the football stadium we learned that the girls soccer team had just won the National Championship. Of course we already know that the football team won to make it a perfect 4-0 on the day. It was a decent day to be on campus for sure. As you can see in this picture the men did not have much of a crowd either. Maybe they are just too used to winning to show up for a conference game. On the other hand there was a huge football game that day so you would have had to miss tailgaiting to come. I would rather have stayed warm and watched basketball for sure. Watching these two games does help me appreciate what I see at Purdue though. We do have some great fans.

Grand Valley is Going to Alabama Once Again!

Yesterday I was in Allendale, Michigan to see the Grand Valley State Lakers advance once again to the Division II Championship game by beating Carson-Newman 41-27. There were many storylines yesterday. I will try and hit on a few of them here. The first storyline had to be the snow. As you can see above the stadium looked like a Christmas globe the entire game. They had a crew of workers using blowers to clean off the yard lines during every break in the action. This was my first game in the snow, and it was worth the cold to be part of this. As we were waiting for the game to start I wondered how the snow and cold would affect Grand Valley. They are more of a passing team, while Carson-Newman is a running team. You would think that the advantage would go to the Eagles of Carson-Newman with the weather. The fact that there were only 14 completions in the game might tell you how badly the weather affected the game. There were some ugly passes yesterday on both sides of the ball. The game started with a quick drive by Carson-Newman that saw a terrible pass about 15 yards out of bounds on third down. When the ball left his hands you knew that it was way out. Grand Valley got the ball on a punt and P.T. Gates took the first play from scrimmage 59 yards for the Lakers. The weather forced Grand Valley to kick a field goal to go up 3-0. The Lakers ran the same play to Ryan Bass in the corner of the end zone three times, and Bass was open all three times. The only problem though was the fact that the ball never was close to him. The weather really set the tone for this game.

The star of the game by far had to be P.T. Gates. He had 326 all purpose yards including 183 on the ground for Grand Valley. This performance was in place of the Lakers all time leading rusher Jimmy Berezik who was suspended for the rest of the season along with four other players prior to the game. Berezik was also suspended last season in the playoffs when Grand Valley lost to eventual champion Minnesota-Deluth. Gates made me wonder why he has not been playing all year though. He really took a potentially bad situation and made the most of it. As the picture shows he had some room to run as well. The lines on both sides of the ball really took control. Another hero of the game had to be Danny Richard. For some reason they don’t post defensive stats, but Danny seemed to be on the ball the entire game. The entire defense really helped slow the running attack for Carson-Newman, but he always seemed to be in on the play. Justin Victor and Jacob McGuckin also played key roles for the defense. As for the Eagles Buck Wakefield really kept his team in the game. After Grand Valley had taken a 10-0 lead he returned a kick 89 yards to bring his team to within three. He ended the game with 222 all purpose yards, and four touchdowns. He was explosive when he had his hands on the ball.

As the clock woud down we moved down to the track to storm the field with the rest of the fans. At Grand Valley most of the crowd takes the field, not just the students. This small college atmosphere is great. The players are thanking you for coming to the game as they are celebrating. We left the tearing down of the goalposts to the students, and went to celebrate with the team. Somehow we ended up in the middle of the team, and we really were involved in the postgame celebration. The snow just added to the celebration. It seemed as if confetti was falling from the sky. As they were given the banner for their win with ESPN watching we were front row center. This is something again that you do not get at a Division I school. We talked to a few players as things wound down, and then wisely decided to finally warm up. Later in the week I will post some more pics from the game and the post game celebration.

Can This Happen Again?

This year has seemed a lot like 2006 all year long. Today I will take another step towards that when I head to Grand Valley to see them try and make it to the finals in Florence, Alabama again. If they can pull this off their likely opponent will be Northwest Missouri State. Could Braly Stadium take another rematch between these two teams. Well we will cross that bridge when we get there. It’s deja vu all over again. For now enjoy this video of the goalposts coming down after the win.

Notre Dame Will Not Accept a Bowl Bid

Notre Dame will not accept a bowl bid this season. That was the announcement made yesterday in South Bend. With a few words the Notre Dame season officially ended. Notre Dame was once sitting at 6-2 with Charlie Weis talking about a potential BCS Bowl bid. Then they lost to Navy, Pitt, UConn, and Stanford to finish the season 6-6. This means that we have most likely seen the last of Jimmy Clausen, Golden Tate, and maybe even Michael Floyd. With the coaching change it is hard for me to see any of them coming back. Next season could be as bad or worse than the 2007 season for Notre Dame.

College Basektball Game of the Week: #4 Boilermakers v. Valparaiso

This week I have picked the Valpo game at Mackey as my game of the week. It is big for a couple of reasons. The first is how close I live to Valpo. I could literally be at their arena in 25 minutes. I have seen a few games there, and who can forget Bryce Drew hitting that shot in the NCAA’s a few years back? This game is also big because it is the home team of Robbie Hummel. Next year we will travel to Valpo, and I will try hard to get a seat in that small arena. Last year Valpo came into Purdue and kept it close for the first half. The Boilers only led by two at that point. Purdue held them in the second half though and cruised to a 59-45 win. This year I don’t think that it will be that close. Purdue is just too powerful. Although they came into that contest last year ranked tenth, and really were not that dominant. Chris Kramer was out for that game though. Barring something tragic tomorrow we will be at full strength on Wednesday. With a little luck we will have a higher ranking than #4 by the time we play next week. It will be interesting to see if we finally get some respect.

Predictions: Should this segment even continue? Last week I had a bad week. I made my predictions last week with the women sporting a decent 5-3 record, and the men 9-1. I went 4-1 on my normal women’s predictions last week. Then I missed the Big Ten/ACC Challenge altogether going 5-6. That brings my season total to 14-10 on the women’s side. The men’s side was similar. I went 3-2 on my normal picks, and then tanked the Challenge. I went 4-7 with those picks. This week I will try and right some wrongs. With things getting back to normal it should be an easy week. The Big Ten teams should be playing easier opponents this week. I am also going to be at Grand Valley State this weekend to see the football game. We are leaving early to see both the men’s and women’s teams play. So naturally those games will be included on here. Here are my picks on the men’s side:

#4 Purdue over Buffalo
#4 Purdue over Valpo
Grand Valley State over Ashland
Northern Iowa over Iowa
Pitt over Indiana
Michigan over Utah

This week the Big Ten women start play early on Sunday. I will pick all of those Sunday games. Here are my women’s picks for the week:

Grand Valley State over Ashland
Northwestern over Purdue
#3 Ohio State over Wisconsin
#21 Michigan State over Indiana
Minnesota over Penn State
Iowa over Michigan
#6 Notre Dame over IPFW

Game Preview: Grand Valley State v. Carson – Newman

This week I am going to brave the frozen tundra of Lubbers Stadium to see the semi-final matchup between the Grand Valley State Lakers and the Carson – Newman Eagles. Carson Newman did a very good job of stopping the North Alabama offense last week to advance. This week they will have to face Grand Valley’s offense with a trip to Florence, Alabama on the line. I was in Lubber’s in 2006 when they beat Delta State to advance to the title game. I was also in Florence the following week when Grand Valley won the title. I hope that some of that magic rubs off again this weekend. That night in 2006 was great with the students taking down the goalposts. We were part of the mob out on the field. Their is nothing like winning the big game, and for this week this is the big game. It may not have the billing that the Florida – Alabama game does or for that matter the Texas – Nebraska game, but it is huge for many people. See you in Allendale on Saturday.

This will be my second trip to Lubber’s Stadium this season. The first did not go so well. I was stopped after I entered the stadium and told that I could not have my camera bag inside the stadium. I missed the first quarter going back to my car to put everything away. This week I hope that I find someone who will not try and be a badass because he can. I would very much like to see the opening portion of this game.

Predictions: Last week I went 5-1 on my predictions to bring my record to 46-21 on the season. The lone game that I lost was my upset pick of the week. Eastern Michigan came within a touchdown of finally getting a win. This week I will try my hand at a few of the Conference Championship games as well as the two Division II semis this week. Of course I will pick the two remaining Big Ten games as well. Here are my picks for this week:

#1 Florida 28 – #2 Alabama 27
Wisconsin 28 – Hawaii 17
Illinois 24 – Fresno State 21
#5 Cincinnati 35 – #15 Pittsburgh 28
#3 Texas 42 – #22 Nebraska 24
Northwest Missouri State 35 – California (PA) 17
#3 Grand Valley State 21 – #10 Carson – Newman 10

Boilers Handle the Challenge

#4 Boilers win 69-58 over Wake Forest

Tonight was a great night to be a Boiler fan. Before the game the team unveiled the Big Ten Tournament Championship banner. The 1996 Conference Champion banner has been lonely way too long. They then honored the team for its Paradise Jam Title that they won last week. When the game started the crowd was rocking, and just like in the ACC game last year the Boilers came out cold. The good news is that they have a great defense. They forced Wake Forest into 25 turnovers on the night, and held them to 42% shooting on the night. The only blemish on the defenses resume is how easily Ishmael Smith could drive to the basket. We really had nobody that could match his quickness. This was the game where we saw how much Lewis Jackson meant to us. We did do alright against the size of Wake Forest. As they were being introduced I was amazed at how big they were. They really did keep us in check down low for the most part. The stat sheet says that they had ten blocks, but I would have thought that number would have been much higher. We struggled shooting early, but JuJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore really stepped it up for us to keep it a game going into the second half.
I normally award my MVP of the game to someone who does something outside of the box. I try and look at things other than the stat sheet. Today though E’Twaun Moore and JuJuan Johnson scored points when the Boilers needed them the most. They were the men the entire game today. An honorable mention though should go to Kelsey Barlow who really ignited the team in the second half. He was able to penetrate, and open things up for the Boilers in the second half. Robbie Hummel had his second straight game with 11 points and 11 rebounds. He was off badly with his shot, but contributed as usual in other ways. This was a great game to be at. The atmosphere was tremendous. I don’t think that we will see this type of crowd again for a while in Mackey. West Virginia may be the next big game in the stadium. For now though I will just be happy with this great game.

Next up for the Boilermakers is Buffalo on Saturday. Buffalo is taking the place of Ball State who we will play in the Wooden Tradition on December 19th.
When I left the arena tonight the Big Ten had an early 3-0 lead in the challenge. Since that time the conference has dropped three straight to head into tomorrow tied at three wins a piece. Will this be the year that the Big Ten finally gets one of these?