Let me first start off by explaining my absence the last couple of days. All three of you who read this blog might have wondered where I disappeared to during the Big Ten Tournament. For the second time this year I caught some sort of a flu bug. I rarely get the flu so to get it twice in a couple of months was crazy. Thankfully it hit just before I left for Indy or this would have been a very interesting weekend that far away from home being that sick. I was in the middle of it still as Purdue was sick themselves Friday. I missed most of the game for obvious reasons, and once I saw the final score I deleted it off of my DVr. What should have been an awesome weekend watching a lot of basketball turned into a bad weekend. Thankfully I even now will lose an hour of sleep on top of it all. Well enough about me.
Just over a week ago people were talking about Purdue as a potential #1 seed. After two bad losses that seems like a distant memory. The loss last Saturday to Iowa you could chalk up to a few factors. You could say that Purdue was looking ahead. You could say that Iowa played inspired on senior night. You could say that it is hard to win on the road in the Big Ten. For some reason it just seemed like the normal effort was not there. What makes Purdue so much fun to watch is the amount of bodies that hit the floor going for loose balls. They just looked like they were not that inspired at Iowa.
I only saw about a quarter of the Michigan State game, but it reminded me a lot of the Ohio State game from Columbus earlier this season. Of course that was the other time I was sick so I only saw about a quarter of each game. From what I saw though the other team was on fire. Kalin Lucas hit shots over several different players including JJ. On the other end of the court Purdue could not hit a shot. Days like that will happen. That is the nature of basketball.
That being said Purdue enters selection Sunday on a two game winning streak. They went from having an outside shot at a #1 seed to being talked about as a #4 seed today. I have seen talk about how this team can beat anyone so seeding does not matter. Of course it does. Look at last season for a great example. We fell late in the season to a #4 seed. We took care of business our first two games before running into the eventual National Champion in the sweet sixteen game. Dropping to a #4 seed leaves you with a tough game against the #5 seed potentially in the second game. The good thing that I have seen is that Purdue is still shown as playing in Chicago. Personally that is a big deal to me. I traveled a few miles last season to watch Purdue in the tourney, and really wanted the close venue this season.
In about six hours the fate of the team will be known. The brackets will be out, and all the talk about bracketology can cease. Right now from everything that you read you know that the committee basically has the bracket filled out. The Big Ten title game will mean very little because of how late in the day it is played. Where is Purdue on that bracket that is sitting in front of the committee? Are they starting in Chicago, or getting shipped off West again?
This team has been fun to watch this season. They were on fire heading into the Iowa game. You could see a little of the wheels coming off against Illinois, but they came off completely at Iowa. That being said they have too much talent to quit on now. When Rob went down everyone wrote them off. E’Twaun and JJ then carried the team. At one point it seemed as if JJ had the entire team on his back. It looks as if teams have figured out that if you body up on JJ you can slow Purdue down a lot. That means that someone needs to step up. This is the time of the year that we have been waiting for. I saw Purdue in Houston last season, and will gladly make the trip again this season to see them. The mission is still the same, and these are the same players from a week ago. Matt Painter is a great coach, and he will have this team ready to play on Thursday or Friday. This team seems to play best with a chip on its shoulder. Let’s see if they are predicted to lose all week again as they were last season. Go ahead and tell them they can’t do it. That just fuels the fire.