Rivers: “We’ve just got to come out and play”

BLOOMINGTON — There’s a potentially intriguing confluence of surface trends and storylines converging for tomorrow night’s Indiana-Purdue rivalry, this time renewed in Bloomington.

On one side, Indiana comes into the game having lost its last four games, with three of those coming against the other three teams in the bottom four of the Big Ten (Iowa, Michigan and Northwestern). Their last loss, at the hands of the Wildcats at home Saturday, was so disappointing that coach Tom Crean called a 7:30 a.m. Sunday practice.

But given that Christian Watford is healthy again — he sat out with his wrist injury the last time these teams met  — the Hoosiers do offer a wrinkle Purdue didn’t have to contend with last time.

Purdue, by contrast, rides in at its season’s high-water mark, having defeated Wisconsin and Ohio State at home last week and moved firmly into the nation’s top 10. E’Twaun Moore scored 38 points in a magnificent effort against Ohio State on Sunday.

So whether practically or on paper, Wednesday will be an uphill climb for Indiana.

“It’s not like they dominated, I think, in any particular area. They just outplayed us,” Jeremiah Rivers said of the first rivalry meeting in West Lafayette earlier this month. “I think for us, going into this game, we just have to continue to work on what we’ve worked on the past two or three days, and continue to get better. I think our mindset is definitely aggressive coming into this game, which will be good. We’ve just got to come out and play, man.”

Crean acknowledged Watford’s return as important, saying, “”It could change it in a big way. It’s another guy they have to put attention on.” Rivers said Watford’s defensive performance could be an “x-factor.”

As for his own job, Rivers said he’s excited at the prospect of defending Moore, who last week crossed the 2,000-point barrier for his career.

“I like the challenge, man, I like to compete against him,” Rivers said. “I’ll be ready to go. I know he’ll be ready to go. So it’s gonna be fun.”

As for that early-morning practice Sunday, Rivers said he thought it went well. The fifth-year senior guard said work was “competition-oriented” to “get our mindset right,” and he said he thought his team responded well.

“It’s what we needed, a good wake-up call,” Rivers said. “It was good for the team. We got better.”

  • Kelin Blab

    I at age…over 21 and then some…will commit to rushing the court with the kids if IU wins. Who is with me?

  • Casey B.

    These days, NOT rushing the court would seem to make more of a statement.

  • defendtherock

    Duh. The more the days goes on, I’m kind of feeling it that it could happen too. Tomorrow is the national championship game. I’m ready!

  • defendtherock

    Also, while you are out there, please chant ‘little brother’ to the losers in black jerseys as they walk off the court.

  • N71

    Come out and play like Yogi, Hartman, and Trevon I just watched play at Park Tudor. Sure would like to see Trevon in an IU uniform. That kid can play and is only a freshman. A perfect fit for our 2014 class.

  • Anonymous

    Definitely a “rushable” win. If I could be there, I would rush with you, even though I would likely be required to rappel from the balcony.

  • HoosierSmitty

    Since Purdue now seems to believe they are better than Ohio State after splitting the season series with them, I guess we can use the same argument if we pull the upset at home.

    And let’s not forget, I have a plate of nachos on the line for this one.

  • HoosierSmitty

    Since Purdue now seems to believe they are better than Ohio State after splitting the season series with them, I guess we can use the same argument if we pull the upset at home.

    And let’s not forget, I have a plate of nachos on the line for this one.

  • Anonymous

    Why is a practice a good wake-up call? I just don’t understand why losing at home to Iowa, Northwestern and Penn State in the same season is not a wake-up call.

    This team appears to have a cocky mindset at times. What are they cocky about? I see nothing to be cocky or even confident about heading into tomorrow’s game. Trust me, I would love to be wrong but I am tired of hearing about good practices and getting better, I want to see the players apply it on the court.

  • Glawton12

    I hope they win tomorrow if only to quiet some of the more obnoxious PU fans. I mean, i’m all for rivalry but some of the stuff being slung around by those people is just pure vicious. I’d be stupid to believe IU fans don’t do it as well, but it just doesn’t seem to be as bad, or as mean. Tomorrow’s their chance to put some of it to rest for a while, and I really hope the guys pull through. Not just for them, but for the school and the fans.

  • Kelin Blab

    IU wins tomorrow I could careless what happens the rest of the season. Seriously…beat two ranked teams at home then a fresh new #8 PU team as well…they could go scoreless this weekend and I would not care one bit…because we beat Purdue.

  • Kelin Blab

    Saw Trevon a few weeks ago….two words…Smooth Operator. Could put up 20pts and you would not even know it. Gets the job done. How as Hartman?

  • LTTelamon

    I think we have a shot. We played pretty well against them at Mackey. A win would indeed dissipate some of the pressure, I think. This team was going to win some it shouldn’t and lose a bunch it shouldn’t… I was hoping a win against Purdue was in the cards, though.

  • Anonymous

    I, attending only my 2nd IU game ever (and first since I was in high school about a decade ago), may be tempted to join you. If for no other reason than to taunt a particular Purdue fan I know who is also attending the game.

  • Kelin Blab

    Dear Christian, VJ, and Jeremiah…
    Play the game of your life tonight.

  • N71

    I would like to see Hartman be more agressive but he has a good team so I can see why he chooses his spots the way he does. He has all the tools but his length is what really makes him interesting. If he continues t grow another 2 inches he’ll be 6′ 9″ and deadly from long range. His arms are super long, he’s very much like Dunleavy for the Pacers but perhaps better at defense.

  • http://weeklycritiquely.blogspot.com/ IUfanPurduePhD

    I want to wear my IU gear for lecture so badly I can taste it!

  • JerryCT

    If IU wins this game ………… Well ……….. I will personally enroll Millared back into the nunnery . …………. and pay for the sex change.

    Are you with me IUfanPurduePhD ?

  • Anonymous

    Oh the possibilities if they brought this mentality every game this year…….

  • Casey B.

    I’m sorry, but rushing the court vs. Purdue just makes us look pathetic. A rivalry game pitting a team with five banners vs. a team with zero, and we want to rush the court?

    No thanks. At some point, we have to start expecting high quality wins. Let’s act like we’ve been there before.

  • Plane1972

    I’m with you on this one, Casey. We love to pat the Boiler fans on the heads and remind them of their banner-less existence when they troll around our pages. A win has to be just another day at the office, in my opinion. I understand why people – particularly students – would want to do it, but you wouldn’t catch the Tarheel faithful rushing the court with a W over the Dukies. Let’s get the W and take another step in regaining our pride by not rushing.

  • Diesel

    You won’t catch the TarHeels coming off a completely gutted rebuild situation either. If we beat Purdue tonight, the fans and students can do whatever they want, IMO.

  • millzy32

    If IU was like Purdue and had never won anything then IU fans would likely react in the same manner that the loser Purdue fans react. It’s good to be up 5-0 in banners it makes you feel better when you have to endure another season like the one we’re having. At least we have had success in the past and we have recruits that make it look like that could happen again (hopefully sooner rather than later).

  • millzy32

    This team plays down to its competition far too often but on the other hand they also have been playing up to some of their competition this year as well. I actually have a pretty good feeling that IU might just sneak in a win that defies logic tonight.

  • HoosierFromCT

    Dear ITH,

    When we win tonight, I will donate $2 for every point we win by to your site.

    Love
    Devoted ITHer/Hoosier Alum

    BannerUp

    PS:
    boil·er·up – verb – taking a fat, hot steamy dump.

    After a night of drinking and eating Taco Bell, Steve went back to his place to boiler-up.

  • walt

    Forgive me, but it has taken a year for the light to turn on for me. The obnoxious idiot who gave the “choke” sign last year was not referring to IU, buy the fact that they are “bannerless”, as they appear to be decent teams, but just have a tendency to choke real bad. Is that the little brother choke syndrome?

  • Andrew

    Rivers does seem to be our (un)official spokesman, doesn’t he? I feel like I read his worthless quotes before every game now. Must be because he’s the only senior.

  • HoosierSmitty

    I hope the Hoosiers can make it happen!

    What time is the lecture? Maybe I can sneak across the river and crash that lecture, too!

  • http://weeklycritiquely.blogspot.com/ IUfanPurduePhD

    Tomorrow afternoon, 4:30-5:45. Yesterday was the origins of the Constitution, and tomorrow is domestic policy (with a hint of political intrigue) … not my most riveting lecture, but I’ll smile for the whole 75 minutes if I can wear my crimson IU shirt.

  • HoosierSmitty

    Yes! I’ve been saying that all along! That’s exactly what it means…but they had no idea when they coined that silly phrase. First of all it was a Cowboy Up chant brought in by Tiller’s wife from Wyoming before his luster wore off and he was sent into retirement. Unfortunately the entire campus fell in love with the slogan and even glorified with a swear word…I’m so tired of hearing it. Really makes me wish I didn’t live in Lafayette sometimes…but this is a great community overall…minus that pesky college across the river.

  • HoosierSmitty

    I could totally make that and show up as James Madison or the little known Jacob Shallus (albeit sporting IU gear).

    Although I’ve twice had cars vandalized on campus because I happily sport my IU license plate.

  • http://weeklycritiquely.blogspot.com/ IUfanPurduePhD

    I think Madison was about 5’3″, so you might want to pick Thomas Jefferson or Alexander Hamilton.

    I’m surprised that your car was vandalized on campus because, in general, Purdue students are illiterate… but I think they can still recognize colors and symbols, so maybe that tipped them off.

  • Andrew

    This argument truly will never go away, so let’s just agree on this: if the students storm the court tonite, it probably means IU won the game, since I’ve yet to see us rush the court after a loss. And a win tonite over favored, veteran, and highly-ranked PU, will make every IU fan on here very happy. Which is a good thing. I think.

  • Anonymous

    Casey, I would agree with you in any other situation. I wouldn’t advocate storming the court if even if we beat OSU when they were #1 and undefeated.

    But, this one is unique:

    – Purdue has one of their best teams in school history at the height of their power. They won’t be this good time.
    – This is one of the last games of Moore and Johnson’s careers. This is the last time they will ever play in Assembly Hall.
    – Purdue still has an outside shot at a #1 seed, and are likely for a #2 seed. A victory tonight wreaks their chances getting a favorable bracket.
    – They still have a shot at getting a share of the conference title. We would end that with a victory.

    – Most importantly, tonight would symbolically end of one of the most lopsided eras in this series. Purdue is in the best place their program has ever really been (on top with no Hoosier competition). Indiana has been in arguably the worst position in program history since the Sampson firing/sanctions. A victory tonight would put an emphasis that it’s over. One the best eras of Purdue basketball nears it close with a loss to a rebuilding IU.

    Purdue fans will need years to recover from a loss tonight.

  • stonaroni

    I agree with you. Dont tell me about the conception and delivery, just show me the baby!

  • stonaroni

    A win against #8 Purdue would prove to me that :

    + There is enough talent on this team to have had a better season

    + The we are still young excuse is BS

    + The end of Purdue dominance is here

    + CTC is not deserving of his free pass since there is enough talent here to beat 3 ranked opponents

    + Getting beat by Iowa and NW twice was unacceptable no matter the injuries

    + The Soph and FR on this team will have something to believe in going into next season

  • Mike2311

    The recent storming of the field from Minnesota after they beat Iowa
    last weekend gas brought this issue up at Big Ten schools as well. Some
    media are saying it’s poor form by the Gophers to rush the field while
    others are saying it’s an important rivalry win for a rebuilding
    program. There’s been a good debate at TC Huddle. I found your article
    searching for more opinions on the issue.

    Thought you might want to check it out. It’s enjoyable if nothing
    else: http://www.tchuddle.com/2011/10/the-importance-of-the-iowa-win/

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