It's been quite awhile since I have been able to do a mailbag, here, but I was looking for a column to write last night and was able to get some good responses from Twitter and the site's e-mail account. As always, if you have a question, send it to HammerAndRails@gmail.com or Tweet it at me with the hashtag #askH&R.
.@HammerAndRails tapes or cds?— The Crimson Quarry (@crimsonquarry) February 16, 2015
Nothing beats the dulcet tones of Barry White on the eight track I had specially installed in my Jeep.
@HammerAndRails Who would win in a fight; Hulk or Superman?— Scott Flory (@FLORYnguover) February 16, 2015
The Hulk would be more entertaining, while Christopher Nolan would work to make Superman much more of a brooding loner than he needs to be. In the end I pick Superman, mostly because Amy Adams is much hotter than Liv Tyler as a super mistress.
@HammerAndRails How far do you see us going in the BTT? I see us with the potential to make it *at least* to Saturday, maybe further.— Zack Lori (@zacklori_9) February 16, 2015
A lot of it probably depends on matchups. Right now Purdue would be the No. 3 seed, playing either No. 6 Indiana, No. 11 Nebraska, or No. 14 Rutgers at this point. All of those matchups are rather favorable. The added benefit is that it would be our first game of the tourney and at least the second for our opponent.
Unfortunately, we rarely do well in this event. Losses as the higher seed and in our first game have been common over the year, especially in Chicago. I think if we make it to Saturday it is a good sign that we're going to the tournament because it means at least one or two more wins, with one being over a decent NCAA team. That should be the goal right now: Make it to the weekend and see what happens. If we make the final on Sunday I think we're in the Tournament unless we end up losing the last five games of the regular season.
@HammerAndRails do you think Hammons will test the waters like JJ only to return or is he flatout gone after this season?— FreshTendrils (@jdhenke) February 16, 2015
I think what might being A.J. back is that he is not totally consistent on offense yet. He is a strong defensive center, but I want him to lay waste to teams with consistent 15 and 10's offensively before I think he is definitely a first round pick. Some places like NBADraft.net don't even have him on their mock draft list right now. Neither does NBADraftRoom. If he continues to rate lower than he did last year I think he comes back, then lays waste to the Big Ten next season with Biggie Swanigan and Vince Edwards as his posse and Kendall Stephens draining threes.
How confident are you that 20 regular season wins will get us into the Tourney? - Jason Wright via e-mail.
I am very confident, mostly because I have a hard time believing that the committee will keep out a team that goes 12-6 in the Big Ten. The committee showed last year with Nebraska that they value late season runs by teams, and If Purdue goes from losing to Gardner-Webb to 12-6 with a few close losses in a power conference like the Big Ten it has to be considered a viable at large. I think we even avoid the play-in games in Dayton in that scenario. I would still love to avoid those because they are not the real tournament. They are play-in games to the field of 64.
I also think it is important to win at least one game if we get in. Purdue has currently won at least one game in 14 straight appearances, which is the longest active streak in that regard and one of the longest runs ever. The last time we lost our opening game was to Rhode Island in 1993 when Matt Painter was a player. UConn won at least one game in 14 straight appearances before losing in 2008. Kansas won at least one game in 21 straight appearances before losing to Bucknell in 2005. Kentucky won at least one game in a run of 17 straight before losing to Marquette in 2008. North Carolina had 18 straight opening wins before losing to Weber State in 1999. UCLA also had a run of 16 straight tourneys with at least one win at one time. For Purdue, a team without a ton of postseason success, to be on a run like it is now is pretty impressive, so let's keep it going.
Longest Streaks of NCAA Tournament appearances with at least one victory:
Kansas: 21 straight appearances (1981-2005)
North Carolina: 18 straight appearances (1981-1999)
Kentucky: 17 straight appearances (1983-2008)
UCLA: 16 straight appearances (1964-1981)
Connecticut: 14 straight appearances (1990-2008)
Purdue: 14 straight appearances (1994-present)