In just a few hours I will be down in West Lafayette to see the first of two games this year featuring Purdue and Indiana. This is a storied rivalry that really picked up steam during the Gene Keady and Bobby Knight years. As a Purdue fan I know that I am supposed to hate Bobby Knight, but I actually think that he was a good coach. At the end he started to lose it a little, but his first two decades in Bloomington were pretty good.
So far I am 3-1 attending these rivalry games. I have watched many on TV, but never actually attended one until the 2005-2006 season. I was very excited for the game, but the Boilers dropped it. I have not seen them lose one since. I hope that the streak continues tonight. In the four games I have seen in this rivalry Indiana has had three different coaches. This is a program that is fighting for its status right now. After being in the title game in 2002 they have really had some tough times. The troubles continued into this season until the last couple of weeks. They have two wins against top 25 teams at home to add to their resume now. The first of which Tom Crean is still celebrating around Assembly Hall. A win over Purdue at Mackey would be a huge feather in their cap. The Boilers had better come ready to play tonight if they expect a win. I think if the Boilers play like we know that they can they will walk away with this one. If they struggle like we also know they can it will be a much tougher game.
You would think that the crowd will be pumped for this game. You never have to worry about the Paint Crew. They bring it every game. I am not an outward fan at games. I am very quiet while watching sports. I do try and get up and yell, but it is just not me. When you see me up and yelling you know that I am worked up. I was up a lot during the Michigan State game this season because the fans really got me going. If the people like me can get up and get loud tonight the place will be rocking. In that loud atmosphere the Boilers have a huge advantage.
As I get closer to Mackey tonight I will have to cue up the Bobby Knight speech on my iPod. If you have not heard it yet it sounds like a recording in the early 90’s were he just rails his team on how he will not lose to Purdue again. That along with the infamous Bobby Knight golf tape really show the coach in a bad light. As an X’s and O’s man he was as good as they come. Where he struggled was with the ego. Without Bobby though this game might not be quite so big.
I am really pumped for the game tonight if you cannot tell. I never post before a game unless you count the weekly prediction post that I fail on from week to week. I look forward to this game every year. Watching Purdue play Indiana in any sport is a big deal to me. I was in Mackey to watch the women complete the sweep over the Hoosiers earlier this season. Nothing would be sweeter than to watch the Boilers win to start the sweep again this season. We won both last year so a sweep again this season would be huge for Purdue.
From what I have seen of Hoosier fans lately none of them are living in the present. When you try to talk to one they either bring up the five banners (last one in 1987), or the players that are not yet at the school. I posted the Hail Fire song and the IU Sucks chant on YouTube before the Purdue/IU football game this season. The lone comment so far is what I would guess is an IU fan saying simply “Cody Zeller.” What does that mean? I would rather deal with the five banners thrown in my face constantly than a players name who is not even on campus yet. Remember IU fans that the current players were also the ones that were going to restore the program. You never know what you have until they start playing. I actually hope that IU turns it around. Nothing is better than these two teams battling it out for the Big Ten. Well as long as we win anyway. So for one night Hoosiers lets just focus on the present. A very good Purdue team is taking on a Hoosier team that may have just turned a corner.
I usually only predict the outcome of the basketball games for my weekly prediction post. For this game though I will go out on a limb and predict the score. I normally do not because it is really a crapshoot. Any number of factors can quickly change the outcome. If Smooge or JJ get into foul trouble early it is a much different team. That being said I have had a number in my head all day. I can’t shake the numbers so they can’t be wrong can they? Probably. Here is my prediction anyway:
Purdue 72 – Indiana 58