This week the pick for the game of the week is not so easy. The Purdue men’s team plays a tough game today against Alabama. Tomorrow the Purdue women travel up near me to play Notre Dame, and then later in the week the Purdue men travel up here to play Valpo. I decided to look at both the games in my neck of the woods this week. I normally have to travel about two hours to see Purdue play. This week I can just go about a half hour either way to see both the men’s and the women’s teams play. You can’t beat that. I doubt that they had me in mind when they made up the schedule, but if they did thank you.
Since it is played first I will start with the woman’s game against Notre Dame. For two straight weeks the women held the spot as the game of the week. They won the WNIT, then had a rough holiday weekend when Drey Mingo was hospitalized. This past week I picked the Big Ten/ACC challenge game against Maryland. I thought it might be a good game, and it went down to the last shot so I guess it was. The women now face the tough task of coming into the newly renovated Joyce Center. If you have not been to it yet you should take a look. They took a run down building and made it into an awesome stadium. The changes at Notre Dame just make me that much more excited to see what the inside of Mackey looks like next year. Back to the game though. The Boilers will have to play the game of the year so far to have a chance at the Irish. The Irish play a tough trapping style that could give the Boilers fits if the end of Thursdays game is any indication. The Boilers can’t have 20+ turnovers like they did on Thursday and expect to be even close in this game. I won’t count them out though as since I started going to these games the team ranked lower seems to have the upper hand for some reason. The very first woman’s basketball game I ever saw was in Mackey in 1999. These two teams were playing, and the #18 ranked Boilers upset the #7 ranked Irish. The next season the #4 Irish won in South Bend against a Boiler team ranked sixth. That was a prelude to the national title matchup later in the season. Tomorrow will be the 8th matchup I have seen in this series. Last season the Boilers nearly knocked off the #3 Irish 79-75 in Mackey. The odds seemed to be stacked against the Boilers much like this season. The only difference is that they won’t have the rocking Mackey crowd behind them. This game could get ugly.
The men play the game today against Alabama, then travel up to Valparaiso later in the week to play the Crusaders. This game should have been a homecoming for both Robbie Hummel and Scott Martin. Scott of course left Purdue, and we all know the story with Robbie Hummel. I would guess that the ARC will be buzzing for the game. I had to buy a package deal to get my ticket, but I think that it will be worth it. This game will also mark the only time I will root against Valpo all season. I have been to the two previous games in this series inside of Mackey the last two seasons. This game has been on my radar for a while now, and I can’t wait to see the crowd in the ARC. Last season when Butler came into town the place was packed and rocking. I expect nothing less this week. I have a feeling though that the Valpo crowd will be out of it early. Maybe I am wrong, but I don’t see this as much of a game.
Men’s Picks of the Week – Last week I went 16-3 to bring my overall record on the season to 35-4. I predicted that the Big Ten would win eight of the eleven challenge games. I said that I really did not think that they could win that many, but didn’t know what the swing games would be. The Big Ten actually went 6-5 to win their second straight challenge. This week is a little slower so I picked ten games.
- #1 Duke over Butler
- #21 Illinois over #24 Gonzaga
- Michigan over Harvard
- #6 Michigan State over #7 Syracuse
- Iowa over Northern Iowa
- #21 Illinois over Oakland
- #13 Minnesota over Cornell
- Penn State over Duquesne
- #18 Purdue over Alabama
- #18 Purdue over Valpo
Women’s Picks of the Week – Last week was a little tougher for me on this side. I went 9-7 to bring the season total to 21-11. I picked the ACC to win the challenge 6-5, and hit it right on the head. The bad news is that I picked too many wrong teams coming up with that number. For some reason I decided to pick 12 games this week. Let’s hope the prognosticating improves a little. Things get a lot tougher as the conference season starts. Here are this week’s picks:
- Colorado over Illinois
- #19 Nebraska over Indiana
- Penn State over Texas Tech
- #3 Baylor over Minnesota
- #17 Iowa State over Michigan
- #18 Iowa over Kansas State
- #25 Michigan State over #20 Texas
- #6 Ohio State over #11 Oklahoma
- Penn State over Army
- #25 Michigan State over UW-Milwaukee
- Oakland over Illinois
- #16 Notre Dame over Purdue