This is what Indiana-Purdue is all about

  • 02/04/2012 8:45 am in

This is what Indiana-Purdue is supposed to be: Two teams right in the thick of the Big Ten race, both desperately needing a win to put themselves in the best position for the postseason.

It’s been awhile since we’ve had this. Sure, there have been competitive games in football and basketball over the last few years, but Indiana has rarely had more than pride on the line. The Hoosiers competed, stayed in the game, and then lost.

It was hardly even still a rivalry.

But the Hoosiers are back, and Purdue still has plenty left to play for. The Boilermakers are the only Big Ten team without a win over a ranked opponent.

For Indiana, Saturday night’s game at Mackey Arena could be viewed as a “must-win.” With the Hoosiers’ struggles on the road in the Big Ten, a fifth consecutive loss away from Assembly Hall would all but kill this team’s confidence the rest of the way. They’ve still got winnable road games against Iowa and Minnesota left, but lose this one, and those two look a whole lot tougher.

Indiana’s incredibly slow start at Michigan on Wednesday gave it little chance to come back. The Hoosiers had a similarly slow start at Ohio State before playing a better second half.

If they want to beat Purdue and alter their recent fortunes away from Assembly Hall, they can’t afford to fall behind by double-digits before they find their rhythm.

“I feel like we just got rushed in the beginning,” junior Derek Elston said Friday. “A lot of the guys weren’t playing their game. We let the defense kind of dictate what was going on. After a TV timeout, coach just kept harping that we have to keep playing our game no matter what, don’t let them speed us up, keep playing IU basketball.

“I think in the beginning we were trying to make that home run play when we just needed to make the single.”

So what’s the key to starting faster?

“Not turning the ball over and playing better defense,” said guard Jordan Hulls.

Seems simple enough. But it won’t be easy considering the game is just as meaningful — if not more — for the Boilermakers. With a game at Ohio State next and road games against Indiana and Michigan still to come, Purdue can’t afford to drop another home game.

“Every league game is being played at such a high level, they are all played like a rivalry game,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said in a release. “The coaches and players in the Big Ten all understand the importance of each conference game, and I wouldn’t expect anything different (Saturday) night.”

Both teams have so much to play for that the in-state rivalry factor is just icing on the cake.

That’s what Indiana-Purdue is supposed to be about. Saturday night, the rivalry finally returns.

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  • SCHoosier

    “Right in the thick of the B-10 race”….errrrr..how about “just around the edges of the B-10 race?” Hoosiers have to bring it today or PU will take it to them. Gonna get tired of watching Jackson go to the hole unless VO can stop him .Hummel you know will come up big. IU has advantage with Zeller..but the Hoosiers haven’t proven they can get CZ involved against a good defense in half court..PU has that. My heart wants my beloved Hoosiers to take home a win..but my head is telling me something else.

  • Jmfriedman

    Sweep them!!!!!  This is the most important game of the BIG season so far for many fans.  IU presents a matchup nightmare fore them if we play our game.  IU wins here 72-67

  • Jmfriedman

    Sweep them!!!!!  This is the most important game of the BIG season so far for many fans.  IU presents a matchup nightmare fore them if we play our game.  IU wins here 72-67

  • hardcore_hoosier

    This one is huge for us.  Not just the fact it’s the Boilerwankers and you never want to lose, it could be a turning point for both teams.  This difference between us getting back to .500 in the B1G and dropping to 5-7 is huge.  Yeah we could still get back to .500 with the schedule remaining but huge for positioning nonetheless.  And it could determine if we finish ahead of PUke or not.  At the same time we could shift the momentum in a negative direction for PUke, which may lead them to the NIT.  How sweet would that be?  All could be right in the state of Indiana again.

  • hardcore_hoosier

    This one is huge for us.  Not just the fact it’s the Boilerwankers and you never want to lose, it could be a turning point for both teams.  This difference between us getting back to .500 in the B1G and dropping to 5-7 is huge.  Yeah we could still get back to .500 with the schedule remaining but huge for positioning nonetheless.  And it could determine if we finish ahead of PUke or not.  At the same time we could shift the momentum in a negative direction for PUke, which may lead them to the NIT.  How sweet would that be?  All could be right in the state of Indiana again.

  • matt

    We need this game so bad

  • cooper

    Purdue is not a good team and if IU is really “back” they should win. A loss here and you really start to wonder what this team can do on the road, if anything. Not to mention besides UK and OSU, which I think we can all agree IU would not beat more than once or twice out of ten games, IU doesn’t really have any great home wins either.

    Looking at the schedule IU shouldn’t lose more than 3 more games (MSU, Ill., Minn) but a loss here and you worry about the snowball effect

  • ldiu

    Been following IU for well over 50 years and as I think back, our really great teams struggle at Purdue.  Even the 1975-76 teams that won there only won by a few points.  I sure hope we can come out really ready and with some passion and purpose in our play from every player.  Our inability to stop the dribble drive scares me as Jackson is very quick.  I still like our chances, but mentally we really need to be tough.

  • HoosierFromCt

    Purdue wins by 10

  • HoosierFromCt

    Purdue wins by 10

  • iulineman

    Hulls or Roth have to be dead on. CWats stats have to dominate Hummels. Their guards have to have an off night shooting. Love our Hoosiers but winning at Mackey takes a little bit extra for us. Hope there is not to many homer calls tonight.

    GO IU!!!!

  • Kelin Blab

    One thing that will help IU with their starts is establish something early….preferably Zeller AND Watford inside. PU does not have the guys to contain them down low and foul trouble could hurt.

    or

    Establish their transition game.

  • DannerPerea

    anyone got that audio clip of RMK to his players about being “sick and f—ing tired of losing to Purdue!” ?? Since our guys don’t have the jumbotron of Coach Knight today, they’ll need some of that “grit” to pump them up.

  • DannerPerea

    both excellent points. i hope you’re sitting on IUs bench today providing some sensible tactics from the opening tip 😉

  • Dyersl

    You can’t say “besides OHIO STATE AND KENTUCKY”.  We did beat them and Michigan. 

  • HoosierPat

    How was this not a rivalry? The two teams and fanbases hate each other with a passion. I have serious trouble being friends with PUke fans.

  • SCHoosier

    With no defensive TO’s or defensive rebounds…there is no opportunity for a transition game.

  • SCHoosier

    Wow…”should win”… some of Knights best teams had their logos handed to them at PU…tough place for a Hoosier to play..that’s not an excuse..its a compliment to the PU teams that have put the hammer down in past years.

  • beat Kentucky

    Don’t really know what to expect out of this team . They have done nothing on the road to boost any confidence .I just hope Coach has changed his tone and put on his war face . Coach has come too far with this team to continue to baby them . It’s time for some tough love to get everything out of this team  !

  • Tom S

    Kelin, I think you’re exactly right on establishing something early, as much from a confidence standpoint as anything else.  This team seems to feed off of making shots, and when a few shots don’t go down early their play suffers on both ends.

  • Devout Hoosier

    If PU finishes even the rest of the way they’ll be a bubble team (which they likely will be since I don’t see them beating Ohio St. or Indiana on the road).  They have no signature wins.  Their RPI is OK but they haven’t beaten any ranked opponents.  This is a MUST WIN for PUke or they will likely be spectators in March.  

    Go Hoosiers!!!  All I want this year is two B10 road wins.  Penn St. was good and PU would be fantastic!  Go Hoosiers!!!

    PUke is favored by 3.5pts and doesn’t lose at home often.  Let’s be a spoiler.

  • Devout Hoosier

    I don’t think Crean understands this rivalry well yet.  I think his comment lacks understanding  “…they are all played like a rivalry game”.

    I’m have a lot of people over at my house today, both Indiana & PU fans.  Two of my co-workers are doing the same.  My family of five are all dressed out in Red Indiana shirts today.  This and the Super Bowl is where it is at.

    Ask me in the summer who won the Minnesota/Iowa/Wisconsin/Illinois/Michigan/etc… game and I probably couldn’t tell you.  But THIS game will cause flags to go up and heated conversation and gleeful mocking one way or the other until they meet again.

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    Winning at Mackey? I’m not sure this team is tough enough …they have not proved anything on the road in B1G.

  • Jrpfarrell

    If u look past just the 2 words, “Banner Up” is literally the best comeback to a purdue fan. And when i say “purdue fan” i mean someone that went to school there. It is very evident they lack a fan base outside of their students and alumni

  • IUeconAlum

    Just don’t give them an early lead and we’ll win. It’s that simple. Come out and give it to them. Statistically, we have shown we’ll make our shots over the course of the game, but if we are down 15 in first three minutes, it doesn’t do anything for us.

  • BigRed1

    I believe IU will win by three points but it will be nip and tuck the whole game. If there are any officials there that happen to have a last name that begins with a V or H, I dont like our chances at all. GOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOSiers anyways

  • azeese

    Ohio St, Kentucky, Notre Dame, Michigan. There are some quality wins there. 

  • Rghoosierdaddy

    Great win. Now win out