This was just too good to pass up from GBI's Tom Campbell
Let’s get right to it since this was a busy weekend.
Baseball can’t handle extra innings
It was a rough weekend for the Boilers in the inaugural Big East/Big Ten challenge down in Clearwater, FL. Purdue started off the season well by beating Cincinnati 11-10 Friday afternoon. Dan Black singled home Ben Wolgamot with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to give Purdue the victory. Wolgamot had earlier delivered a two out single to tie the game as Purdue trailed 10-9 going into the final inning.
The rest of the weekend wasn’t as good. Since Purdue and Michigan do not face each other in a Big Ten series this year they played a non-conference game Saturday morning. Purdue built a 3-0 lead through five and a half, but fell 4-3 in 10 innings when Jake McLouth delivered a 2 out RBI single in the bottom of the 10th.
The Boilers then dropped a 7-5 contest to South Florida Saturday night before falling 9-4 in 10 innings Sunday to Notre Dame. The Notre Dame and Michigan games are tough losses since they were two great chances to gain quality out of conference wins. There isn’t a lot of non-conference power this year, so Purdue needs to get good wins when it has a chance. Next up is a four game series this weekend at Southeast Missouri State. The Redhawks are 2-1 after winning a season opening series at traditional SEC power Alabama. The Crimson Tide was also ranked 16th in the preseason polls.
Black, who is Purdue’s starting catcher, managed to draw the eye of Baseball America’s Aaron Fitt over the weekend. Purdue doesn’t normally get a large number of draft picks because, well, we’re just not that good in baseball. It’s nice to see some national attention directed at Black. In another cool bit of history, the Purdue-Cincinnati game on Friday was the first ever Division I baseball game to feature two female umpires.
Women’s softball gets back on track
After losing its first ever national ranking with a poor 2-3 showing at the Florida State Sunshine Classic the women’s softball team had a much better outing this past weekend. The Boilers headed to Alabama for the War Eagle Classic to face Middle Tennessee State, Austin Peay, Winthrop, and host Auburn. Purdue lost the opener 11-4 to Middle Tennessee State, but beat Austin Peay 6-4, Winthrop 2-0, and Auburn 3-1 to move to 7-4 on the season. The Auburn game saw all three Purdue runs scored in the top of the seventh and final inning to give pitcher Suzie Rzegocki her fifth win of the season.
Katie Mitchell added a home run to tie the contest in the seventh. Liane Horiuchi and Candace Curtis each had RBI doubles in the inning for Purdue. The win gave Purdue the tournament title with the best record in the round-robin format. Unlike baseball, the Big Ten is much more of a softball power, therefore Purdue has plenty of chances to improve its NCAA resume once conference play starts. So far the non-conference season is working out just fine, however.
Kory Sheets sets fire to Lucas Oil Stadium turf
I have Colts season tickets as part of my sports addiction. We have had them for years and basically we keep the games we want and sell the rest for a very nice profit. Though the initial expense is high, we have so far attended 13 games in the four years we have had the tickets and have made more money than we have spent. Thanks to this weekend’s NFL combine though, Kory Sheets could cut into my profit margins. He is one of my favorite Purdue players ever, so it would be very nice to see him in Colts blue.
Mr. Sheets has had a very good weekend, impressing many scouts with his speed and pass catching ability. I’d love to see the hometown Colts draft him as a backup to Joseph Addai and kick returner. They could definitely use him in the kick returning department and he would thrive as a running back since the Colts throw to their backs a lot. Unfortunately it’s a crowded backfield at the moment with Addai, Dominic Rhodes, and Mike Hart.
I wouldn’t make too much of his contentious relationship with coach Tiller either. Kory flat out got it done on the field this year. He would have done even more if we had given him the chance. He torched Oregon and easily could have had 200 yards if we had given him more carries. He was torching Notre Dame until we stupidly went away from the run too. I am confident he will find a place in the NFL and make some team very happy.
I haven't seen many reports on how the rest of our guys did. CurtisPainter seemed to have fairly average numbers as a quarterback. Greg Orton is probalby lost in the crowd as a wide receiver. I know Alex Magee had an impressive Senior Bowl, but there is no word on how he has looked at the combine. It's somewhat disappointing given what Cliff Avril, Dustin Keller, and Stanford Keglar did last season. I am still shocked that Anthoney Heygood did not get invited.
Scrath that, the Boiled Sports guys have come through again with some solid info on the Combine. Thanks again, guys!
Non-Conference opponents updates:
Since the last time I ran this feature we have gotten quite a bit of help thanks to some upsets. We’re about a week from when some of the lesser conference tournaments get started. Some of our former opponents are positioning themselves nicely for a surprise run or two. We’re obviously an NCAA lock at this point, but the better these teams do means a higher seed for us if we can keep taking care of business in the Big Ten. Each RPI is out of 343 Division I teams
Detroit (7-20, 2-14 Horizon League) CBS Sports RPI: 272 – The Titans are not one of those teams helping us. They have lost four in a row and will have the worst seed in the Horizon League tournament with a last place finish.
Eastern Michigan (4-23, 2-10 MAC) CBS Sports RPI: 331 – How did this team even get invited to the Preseason NIT? They finally got another win by beating Bowling Green on February 15th, but that is just their second win vs. D-I competition. They are also in last place in their conference. RPI-wise, they are the worst team we have faced.
Loyola-IL (14-16, 6-11 Horizon) CBS Sports RPI: 198 – This is one of the teams that helped us with a shocking win over Butler at Hinkle Fieldhouse. While unlikely, they could get hot and steal the Horizon League automatic bid. It would be nice if they can at least get to .500, but they have just one regular season game left.
Coppin State (11-16, 8-5MEAC) CBS Sports RPI: 216 – The Eagles have been on fire of late, winning eight of their last nine. They currently sit in third place in the MEAC, so a higher seed will help them if they want to steal the automatic bid. Their final regular season game is against current leader Morgan State, which is clearly the best team in this bad conference at 18-10.
Boston College (19-9, 7-6 ACC) CBS Sports RPI: 54 – Boston College lost at Miami on Saturday and was swept by the Hurricanes for the season, but I still think they are safely in the field right now. They won at North Carolina and also just beat Duke at home, giving them two major wins. They finish with Florida State, NC State, and Georgia Tech. As long as they get at least one of those they are probably safe as it would assure a .500 record in ACC play.
Oklahoma (25-2, 11-1 Big 12) CBS Sports RPI: 2 – The Sooners lost a chance at #1 by losing to Texas Saturday, but they are still one of the best teams in the nation. Blake Griffin could be sidelined for a critical conference game against Kansas tonight with a head injury, but he should be fine for the tournament.
Duke (22-5, 8-4 ACC) CBS Sports RPI: 4 – No one seems to want to win the ACC. The top of that conference is about as brutal as the Big 10. Duke righted itself by beating Wake Forest last night 101-91, but has three of its next four on the road.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff (10-15, 9-5 SWAC) CBS Sports RPI: 243 – The Golden Lions are completely overmatched by anyone outside of the SWAC, but they have been doing well within that conference. Like Coppin State, they sit in third place and could make a decent tournament run to get the auto-bid. So far they are 0-3 against the top two teams in Jackson State and Alabama State.
Ball State (12-13, 6-6 MAC) CBS Sports RPI: 230 – The MAC should be a better basketball conference than it is. Ball State won a BracketBusters game over Tennessee Tech this weekend, but they remain under .500 overall. They did notch a win over conference leader Buffalo on February 15th.
Indiana State (9-19, 6-10 MVC) CBS Sports RPI: 205 – The overall record is still awful, but the Trees have been playing well of late. They are actually on a five game winning streak and could easily stretch it to seven by facing two of the worst teams in the Missouri Valley Conference to finish the year. How will that help? Beating both would assure they don’t have to play on the first day of Arch Madness, giving them a chance to stay hot, win just three games, and steal the automatic bid.
Davidson (22-6, 15-2 SoCon) CBS Sports RPI: 60 – If the mark of an NCAA at large team is that it can compete with anyone in the country I think Davidson is in. I would much rather see them get in (assuming they lose in the SoCon tourney) than some .500 team from a major conference because they value it more. Yes they wouldn’t have their gaudy record in the ACC, but they have gotten the opposition’s best shot for 28 games and Stephen Curry has been the focus each time. There is something to be said for consistently beating the opposition when you are THE team they want to beat. That is not the case for those .500 major conference teams. Despite all that, they are 22-6.
IPFW (11-16, 6-10 Summit League) CBS Sports RPI: 223 – The Mastodons are a middling team in a pretty bad conference overall. They lost on a last second basket to IUPUI in Indianapolis last week and are aiming to be a one and done in the Summit League Tournament since North Dakota State and Oral Roberts are dominating.
Valparaiso (8-20, 4-12 Horizon) CBS Sports RPI: 243 – I wonder how much we are personally raising the Horizon League’s RPI by having played three teams. Valpo won a BracketBusters game over Akron this weekend, but they are not likely a serious threat to win the Horizon League Tournament. The three Horizon teams we have played are the three worst teams in the league with a combined league mark of 12-37.