Don't you hate when other fans and the media use "Purdon't" for our beloved program? I do. It always gets under my skin and reminds me that Purdue doesn't have a "great" winning tradition in sports. I hate being reminded of this fact. Well, our beloved football and basketball programs have just dragged us through the terd trough of one of the more brutal seasons in Purdue history (at least my history of being a fan, since attending starting in '91). Purdue has certainly earned the reputation and albatross of "Purdon't". Both programs should hang a sign up in the locker rooms that reads "PURDON'T- this is what they think of you...now what are you going to do about it". Ha, this reminds a bit of the John Goodman football locker room speech in Revenge of the Nerds, a classic for those who haven't seen it or don't recall it. "You just got your arses kicked....by a bunch of g****mn nerds!" This could have been Painters' speech at the end of yesterday's game:)
I never thought I'd live to see Purdue finish dead last in the B1G in basketball again, after the Keady/Painter transition, which was entirely excused by this fan. Purdue has become the new Northwestern, or Penn State, or Nebraska of basketball. You see, it's now an insult to for Penn St., Nebraska (especially, since they dance this year), and NW to be told they can't compete with the "Purdues" of the world. Northwestern sweeps Purdue...on Senior Day, take that in for a minute. That sucks hairy rhino testicles. I used to say, "wait until basketball season", when the football season would tank. No longer can that phrase be uttered with any confidence.
So which program will rebound first? Football or basketball? I'd call success for football to be over .500 and success for roundball to return for the NCAA. I believe football will be over .500 in 2 years (optimistic, I know), and the same for Painter and crew, unless Hammons hangs around. Even if AJ stays, next year is no lock for the NCAA. So I'd put the two programs on a similar trajectory. If those things don't happen, seats start getting to a "boiling point", pun intended.
It is humbling to have thought Purdue had a "great" winning tradition in basketball when things were riding high with the 3-headed monster teams, only to have hit bottom where things are now. That was my own fan ego talking when it seemed like Purdue was elevating itself among some of the elite programs in the nation. Silly rabbit, tricks are for kids. Growing up in North Carolina, and now living back here in NC helps put Purdue's tradition in perspective with Carolina and Duke. It's a joke to think Purdue has anything more than a "nice, good basketball tradition", not nearly great though. Even the "good" will be challenged unless Painter rights the ship pretty quickly. Watching Carolina and Duke here locally, you understand what great traditions are, and that they are measured not with making the tournament, but by being ranked in the top 10 or 15 year in and out. It helps to have legendary coaches that consistently get the top talent. It wasn't always that way. Coach K, Dean Smith, and Roy Williams had to start somewhere. There's more parity and talent in basketball spread across the country today, so I'd argue it's even harder to establish a great winning tradition than ever before. However, it can be done, has been done, and is being done. Take Billy Donovan at Florida. His record is unbelievable. Florida has been to 4 Final Fours, 3 with Donovan since he started in'99. Two titles, 6 Elite Eights. They have been to 3 title games, won 2 of them. That's as good of a run as anyone since '99. I haven't looked up Duke's record, but I have to believe it's comparable or better.
None of this changes that I bleed Black and Gold, since graduating from Purdue in '96. I will remain a loyal fan forever. I sometimes enjoy Purdue being the scrappy underdog that has fight and "work hard" (see - without the talent) and to pull the upset. For now, it doesn't even seem like we can hang our hat on that blue-collar work ethic in FB and BB. I do think good days are ahead of us, but can't really articulate how disappointed this year has been. Now, I turn my attention to my Cincinnati Reds, who will surely let me down again in the postseason.
Hey, at least Raheem Mostert won the 60m and 200m at the Indoor track and field. Let's hope Hazell can harness that speed into some points.