Tomorrow night at Mackey Arena The Rivalry returns. There are many great basketball rivalries in the Big Ten. Some are long lasting. Some are newer. Others shift depending on the ups and downs of many programs. The one constant one in Indiana vs. Purdue.
Purdue has the most regular season big Ten championships with 22, while Indiana is second with 20. Indiana is No. 2 in all-time conference winning percentage at .639 and Purdue is No. 3 at .637. Both schools have won the NIT once, while Indiana's only significant head-to-head edge is in national titles. Their five to our zero is what sets the Hoosiers apart because they have gotten it done in March while Purdue, tragically, often falls short due to injury, bad luck, or simply choking.
With the benchmark of 25 years being a generation that most fans remember, neither team has won a title, though Indiana has twice reached the Final Four. As we all know, Purdue is still waiting since 1980, though there were several teams more than good enough to reach the Tournament's final weekend that fell short.
In that time Indiana has made 20 NCAA Tournaments, won four Big Ten championships, reached seven Sweet 16's, and two Final Fours. Purdue is a step behind, with 18 NCAA trips, five Big Ten championships (plus a Big Ten Tournament title), seven Sweet 16's, and no Final Fours.
Then you have the fans. Purdue fans despise Indiana with the candy-striped pants and every reference to five banners as well as Notre Dame football. IU fans know the banners piss us off mostly because we don't have any of our own and it reminds us of our agonizing failures in March. Purdue is the little brother (that leads the all-time series by a comfortable margin, but whatever, because history only counts when it comes to banners) that always tries, but comes up short. Indiana is That School Down South, The Evil Empire. Purdue is the Washington Generals, never getting to the mountain top but coming oh-so-close only for IU fans to laugh at the fall. Indiana is the blue-blood program that can recruit with ease and come back from a major scandal based on name alone. Purdue is the hard-working, scrappy team that fights and claws for everything it has earned, because nothing is ever given to Purdue.
As you can see, the schools are almost dead even over the last 25 years, with Indiana's Final Four runs in 1992 and 2002 setting them apart. Indiana holds a 26-22 advantage in the series since 1988 head-to-head. Here are some of the better games in that time:
1988 - Right off the bat we had what usually happened when the schools met under Bobby Knight and Gene Keady: a season split. Purdue was ranked No. 2 both times, its highest ranking ever, but an 82-79 loss in Bloomington on January 30, 1988 denied Purdue its first ever No. 1 ranking in basketball. Purdue got revenge in West Lafayette 95-85.
1990 - Purdue upsets No. 13 Indiana 81-79 in overtime to win in Bloomington for the first time in five years. Purdue was unranked, but was No. 9 nationally when they thrashed IU 72-49 in West Lafayette to get its first sweep in five years.
1992 - Against a team that would eventually reach the Final Four, Purdue, who only finished 18-15 and reached the Elite 8 of the NIT, reverses a 41 point loss in Bloomington by winning in West Lafayette 61-59 on Senior Day.
1994 - Led by the Big dog, Purdue would earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and the first of three straight Big Ten championships. Both games against Indiana were classics, however. Purdue won 83-76 in overtime in West Lafayette on January 18 to move to 15-1. Purdue would win 12 of 13 before losing to Duke in the Elite 8, but the one loss was 82-80 in Bloomington. Purdue was rated 9th at the time and Indiana 16th.
1995 - Another year with a great winning streak snapped by Indiana. Purdue's second Big Ten title saw the Boilers win 14 out of 15 in Big Ten play, but the one loss was 82-73 in Bloomington. This was another Purdue team that choked in the NCAAs, losing to Memphis in round 2 after barely wining a 3/14 game over Wisconsin-Green Bay.
1996 - This was one of coach Keady's most complete teams lead by Herb Dove, Brandon Brantley, Todd Foster, Roy Hairston, Justin Jennings, and Porter Roberts. There weren't any sure-fire NBA prospects on the team, but it was one that had a ton of hustle and grit. Purdue swept Indiana 74-69 in West Lafayette and 74-72 in Bloomington on its way to a third straight Big Ten title. Like 2011, however, a questionable loss to Iowa on the final day of the season was a precursor to more NCAA heartbreak. Purdue nearly became the first ever No. 1 seed to lose to a 16 seed when it beat Western Carolina 73-71 in Denver before losing to a crappy Georgia team.
1997 - Two words: Chad Austin.
Purdue wins 89-87 in overtime in Bloomington for a second straight sweep of Indiana. This would be the last time Purdue would sweep Indiana for 13 years.
1998 - For the first (and so far only) time Purdue and Indiana meet in the Big Ten Tournament with the Boilers winning 79-71 in Chicago after splitting the regular season meetings. It is only the third time Purdue and Indiana have met in postseason play, with Indiana winning the 1979 NIT championship game over Purdue by a point and Purdue winning 76-69 in the 1980 NCAA Tournament.
1999 - In a rare switch the teams split, but by winning on the other's home court. Indiana wins 87-76 in West Lafayette but Purdue wins in overtime in Bloomington 86-81. This is Purdue's last win in Bloomington until 2010 and the last win over a ranked Indiana team in Bloomington to date.
2000 - Indiana wins 79-65 in Bloomington in the last game between the two where both teams were ranked until 2008. This comes after both teams were ranked at the time of the game seven times since 1993. Purdue was only 2-7 in those games. This game is also of note because it was the final game in The Rivalry coached by Bobby Knight.
2002-03 - Playing only once in the Big Ten season, Purdue and Indiana agree to the Duel in the Dome thanks to the short-sightedness of Jim Delaney not making sure rivals always play twice in Big Ten play. Indiana wins its fifth straight in the series 66-63 at the RCA Dome, but Purdue takes the one game that counts in the conference standings 69-47 in West Lafayette.
2005 - I remember it because it was my wedding day. I was in Las Vegas and kept sneaking out to the sports book to watch Gene Keady's final home game against Indiana. That team was hopelessly outgunned, but the crowd willed Purdue to double overtime before the Boilers fell 75-73. It was probably one of the most heartbreaking losses ever.
2007 - Behind David Teague and Carl Landry Purdue finally rights the ship in an 81-68 win over Indiana in Mackey arena, breaking a five game losing streak to Indiana. From February 2000 until this game Purdue goes only 2-11 against Indiana. The worst stretch since losing 13 in a row to Indiana from 1949-55. 2000-07 is known as "the Dark times" with only one NCAA appearance as the Gene Keady era ends in a whimper.
2008 - The brilliance of Delaney strikes again as Indiana and Purdue only play once in 2007-08 and 2008-09, but The Rivalry is back for at least one night. In the only game since 2000 where both teams were ranked Indiana beats the Baby Boilers 77-68 in Bloomington. The win ends up costing Purdue a share of the Big Ten crown with Wisconsin as Purdue goes 15-3 in league play and the Badgers go 16-2 with two losses to Purdue. It ends up being Kelvin Sampson's final game, as IU practically quits on Dan Dakich and the fire started by the Sampson scandal burns the program to cinders. Purdue would win the next five, all while ranked in the top 20 and while the Hoosiers spend three years getting kicked around by the Big Ten. If Robbie Hummel's knee never gives out and Purdue wins a title (or two?) in this time it would have been a dramatic reversal.
2012 - After the Greatest December Win In The History Of College Basketball Purdue has a chance to keep its streak going, but falls 78-61 in West Lafayette. Purdue has a chance to cut the lead to two down 65-61 with the ball and 2:23 left, but Lewis Jackson misses a fast break layup and Purdue gives up a closing 13-0 run.
So that is where we stand. As you can see, The Rivalry has been great the last few years, but both teams have had wild ups and downs to where it has rarely reached the heated levels of my youth. There hasn't really been an upset in the series unless you count Purdue winning by 22 over No. 14 Indiana in 2003. A victory by the Boilers tomorrow would be a pretty major upset, as Indiana is one of the most talented teams in the country and currently at No. 3 in the polls, while Purdue is far from the NCAA bubble.
That's why it is called The Rivalry, however. You never know when Purdue is going to takes its talent and put it all together against an Indiana team that has been a little shaky at times, especially away from Assembly Hall. A Purdue victory hardly makes our season, but it would definitely be a nice little chapter to write into the history of The Rivalry.