People often ask me, “Hey Jack, why do you hate IU basketball so much?” As I learned from the great Ron Burgundy, the only proper way to answer an important question is through the majesty of song. I simply direct people to this gem here. If you don’t have time to watch or maybe just can’t bring yourself to sit through the most embarrassing/painful three minutes and forty-nine seconds in youtube history, I’ve summarized the essence of the song below in what I’ve dubbed “The Indiana University Basketball Program Creed.”
The Indiana University Basketball Program Creed:
“Unlike you other schools, we got history
Kinda like your girl does when she visits uh, me
Oh my I can’t see because the trophy case be shining
And my optometrist told me not to look
Cause I could go blind……
One banner, two banner, three banner, four
Five banner, sixth banner knockin’ on your door
Cause’ Indiana basketball is hustling on the floor
And running up the score.”
Without knowing anything about IU or maybe even basketball in general, wouldn’t any rational human be turned off, maybe even disgusted by the school that abides by this obnoxious doctrine? The answer is of course yes.
Blinded by trophy cases, banners on banners, running up the score….. yup, that pretty much sums up the overall Hoosier fan attitude (although they forgot to mention recruiting scandals). Extreme arrogance (especially when it’s unjustified) and general douchebagery tend to rub most people the wrong way. I’m one of those of people. I can’t believe I was forced to grow up in an area where I was surrounded with IU basketball fans, Notre Dame football fans (often one in the same), and people from Carmel. If that’s not the Axis of Evil of arrogance, I don’t know what is.
Ok, now that I’ve established my unquestionable level of objectivity, let’s get to the game.
While the vast majority of the world will be pondering Manning vs. Brady and Coughlin vs. Belicheat on Super Bowl Eve, us Indiana people will be concerned with Hummel vs. Zeller and Painter vs. Crean. Indiana vs. Purdue on the hardwood is always a big deal in this basketball crazed state, and to steal an old cliche, you can throw the records out the window.
As former Indiana player and coach Dan Dakich said, “In the state of Indiana it doesn’t matter if you are 1-16 at the time or 32-0, Purdue wants to beat Indiana and Indiana wants to beat Purdue.”
As it turns out neither team is 1-16 nor 32-0. Purdue (15-7, 5-4) and Indiana (17-6, 5-6) rank fifth and seventh in the Big Ten standings, respectively. Unlike the past few seasons when Indiana basketball was beyond pitiful, this season’s rivalry installments should bring together two competitive teams fighting for NCAA tournament bids.
The result of this game will have real ramifications beyond rivalry bragging rights. Purdue is desperate for a quality win against a top 25 opponent, while Indiana is still in search of its first quality road win. (Here it seems appropriate to mention that under Crean the Hoosiers are 2-32 on the road in the Big Ten while Painter and the Boilers have already won three Big Ten road games this season alone.)
So who’s going to win this important tilt? Glad you asked.
Looking at the teams on paper, Indiana appears to be the superior squad. They’ve defeated #1 Kentucky and #2 Ohio State at home, they have Zeller, and they can really shoot the 3 ball. On the other hand the Boilers have labored this season. Their free throw shooting and defense have been sub par, Hummel has struggled, Lewis Jackson has been limited by injuries, and they have no real inside presence.
But……. as we mentioned earlier, IU really blows on the road, and the atmosphere at Mackey Arena tonight might redefine the meaning of hostile. IU fans will scoff at this, but I truly believe it will be the toughest road environment on their schedule this season.
To once again quote Dakich, ““It was (back when Danny Boy was a player) the best road environment in the Big Ten by far. The students are on top of you, you couldn’t hear your teammates and sometimes you couldn’t even hear Coach Knight during timeouts.”
As you can see I have no real X’s and O’s type of insight to offer. I will say that I like the fact that Lew Jack feels healthy for the first time this season, but I fear the Boilers will have no answer for young Zeller in the paint. With that said, I think the home court advantage will be the difference. I realize that IU is fed up with losing on the road, but the Boilers are fed up with hearing about what a great basketball team the Hoosiers have. Screw ‘Em.
Purdue: 67 Indiana: 62
Crean remains winless against Painter, Purdue increases their lead in the head-to-head series to 113-84, Indiana’s road woes continue, and Hoosier faithful score another precious opportunity to boast of their elaborate antique decorations hanging in Assembly Hall.
One road loss, two road loss, three road loss, four
Five road loss, sixth road loss knockin’ on your door
Cause’ Indiana basketball is losing a whole bunch all of sudden, six out of eight to be specific.
Not quite as catchy, but I’ll go with it.