Hello faithful readers, I am going to try something kind of different. On every game so far I have waited till the end to write the recap, but tonight I will write a first half recap and a second half recap with a final summary.
First Half: As always I will start with the opposition. IU hasn’t looked real sharp in terms of focus as Purdue has already forced double digit turnovers. However, they are starting to knock down some big shots including some pretty good long range shooting which has kept them as close as they are. There defense on JJ has also been real tight and when he gets it with his back to the basket they are double teaming every time. This is something Painter has to realize and get JJ to dish it quicker.
As for our Boilers there is a lot of good things to talk about so far here on senior night. Let’s start with the seniors Kramer and Grant. Grant still needs to be more aggressive tonight and the rest of the way, he has already knocked down a contested fade away 2 pointer. Kramer has been fantastic and is really stepping up with 9 first half points. He had the nice put in off the ally-oop and a beautiful fast break layup. I still think he needs to shoot the wide open 3’s when he has them; twice he either drove and passed it or just passed it and both times ended in a loose ball. Speaking of finally shooting, how about Lewis Jackson popping a wide open three. I have no problem when he takes a wide open set shot, but the second one he attempted wasn’t needed. Moore is rebounding off a horrible shooting performance against MSU knocking down some good range shots. He missed a couple wide open ones, but you can’t hit them all. The basket interference off of Barlow’s miss that Moore put back was BOGUS as the ball was clearly outside of the rim. Barlow has to work on his free-throws, it was painful to even watch. It was good to see other players stepping up and stretching the defense out, like Hart’s three pointer did. I also have to give props to Bade who is catching lots of flack right now. His second foul which put him on the bench was a horrible call as the smaller IU guard had a fistful of jersey and was pulling him on the offensive rebound; BLOWN CALL! Our defense was also amazing as it continues to be as we turned 10 turnovers into 13 points. We also crashed the boards which was key. One final note as the second half has started, Purdue continues to impress me on their intangibles, hustle, and basketball IQ all the ingredients we need to make our run in the both upcoming tournaments.
Second Half & Conclusion: I will say this for IU they are definitely going in the right direction. They were never in this ball game after the first couple of minutes, but I think Coach Crean has this program coming back and is only a couple years off. A plus for tonight’s game include their slight rebounding margin and the fact they were very resilient and never let Purdue stretch it to 30+ point margin.
SENIOR NIGHT, is a great night for the Boilers. And, I hope this game gets us back on our “train” tracks. The second half was as impressive as the first and it was lead by our ball-hawking defense. This team has increased its defense since Hummel went down, almost from the word go. How great was it that Kramer lead this team tonight. I have been screaming for him to step up all season long even before Hummel went down. Now I know it was Indiana but this was a rivalry game and team we only beat by 3 earlier this year with Hummel. Kramer drops a season high 18, a number of steals and forced turnovers, and the most important stat to me a team leading 6 assists. In my mind the Boilers were too selfish against MSU and forced the offense, today they finally utilized the pass and found some great looks. I also like that we pushed the tempo more then we normally do, as we became more of a transition team tonight. Moore rebounds great from a horrible MSU game and drops 21, and I think this was key because after losing a good friend in Hummel to injury a lot of pressure was squarely on his shoulders and he finally knocked that monkey off. I also liked that JJ showed some grit tonight. He was doubled most all night like against MSU, but instead of letting it get to his head he hung in their and contributed 14 points and numerous trips to the free throw line. I think if he and Moore would have played with this composure against MSU the results would have been different. I think we all knew Kramer would step up and help JJ and Moore, but non of us knew who else would step up. I think this game shows what the other players have to do for us to remain successful the rest of the way. Lewis Jackson dropped a season high 9 including his first 3 of the season and first free throws of the season. Grant only ended with 5, but he was far more assertive in the second half shooting when he had good looks. Hart, Bade, and Barlow all contributed a basket or two and played what I thought should be their roles. Any night where those three or Jackson can contribute an unexpected point total will be a great night for the Boilers. I think Kramer will continue to average around 13 points and 5 assists from here on out which is a pretty good third wheel to JJ and Moore.
I think Purdue finally had a chance to adjust to losing Hummel, and the MSU game just came upon them too quickly after it. The shooting improved from something like 15 of 50 against MSU to 24 of 49, 48% tonight. Rebounding is still a problem area as we were out done 33 to 24, but it was encouraging to see our smallest guy on the floor Ljack fighting for boards. It shows the heart and effort we were missing in the MSU game. As I already mentioned the passing was extremely better as we had 16 assists on 24 made baskets. And, a key stat for JJ and the Boilers were the 6 blocks in tonight’s game. I’m not sure if anyone noticed but we had ZERO blocks against MSU which I believe is the only game this year we didn’t have a block. I am extremely happy the maintenance crew removed those invisible plastic lids allowing Purdue to make some baskets. The last concerning stat to me was the free-throw shooting only 21 of 31. I know JJ missed most of those but this is 10 points we left out there and can’t afford against greater opponents.
If Purdue can go on to win @ Penn State we will earn our 22-nd Big Ten title splitting it with Ohio State, and lock up the #2 seed in the Big10 tourney.
Also wanted to say what a class-act Coach Painter is for getting Mark Wolford in the game at the end on senior night. I watched the OSU and Illinois game last night and there was at least one senior who didn't get on the court. Obviously my POG (player of the game) on senior night is Chris Kramer. At this point you know why, and while Moore led us in scoring Kramer led this team tonight. And, how about his call out at the end of the game.... "Never thought this night would come.... 4 years later here we are 40 minutes away from a Big10 title.....and if we win EVERYONE better be at the air-port when we get back!" Did I forget to mention this 2010 class of Wolford, Grant, and Kramer is now the most winning class of all time with 99 and counting. I am glad to see all three go out with a home win!
*TIE-BREAKING RULES: I do have a question for anyone who knows better then I. This is in regards to the tie breaker rules for Big10 seedings. (I will post a link to the rules after I finish typing) If I understand the rules right the rule says you compare head to head records and if this is even you look at the best record common in-conference team and compare each teams head to head against them. If this is correct then I understand why Ohio State gets the #1 seed regardless if Purdue ties them. This is so because MSU would be the highest common opponent and Purdue is 1-1 while OSU is 1-0 against them giving the edge to OSU (it sucks I know). This would also mean we own the tie breaker against MSU if it ends as a tie because after having an even head to head record we compare what was done against Ohio State where Purdue is 1-1 and MSU is 0-1.
Where I am confused or at least wondering is the situation with Wisconsin. If Purdue where to lose against Penn State and Wisconsin where to win tonight against Iowa and then pull the Upset @ Illinois we would be tied on our records. I think this would give Purdue the tie breaker for what I would assume to be the 3 seed with MSU getting the 2. If I have figured this correct it works this way because both Purdue and Wisconsin are 1-1 against OSU and MSU, HOWEVER Purdue is 2-0 against Illinois and the best Wisconsin can be is 1-1. PLEASE tell me if I am wrong and if you can explain it better I would be more then happy to read it, THANKS!
Here is the link: