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Purdue vs. IU- It's Personal

We've all got a story or a moment that crystallized the rivalry. Here are ours.

The legend
The legend
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

I was raised in a small town in Indiana. Like most of you I suppose I faced my fair share of anti-Purdue discrimination. My father went to Purdue so I grew up a Purdue fan. Most of the people in my small town, and the majority of the teachers, were IU fans. That of course doesn't mean that they went to IU. My barber growing up was an IU fan. Each time I got my hair cut I had to stare at those stupid headshot posters. I remember for what seemed like about a decade IU basketball had a guy named A.J. on the team. Most of all though what I remember are the games. I remember my hatred for Bobby Knight not just as a coach but as a man. My disgust for how he conducted himself. My story highlights the extreme difference between Keady and Bobby.

When I was just a young boy my family and I were in West Lafayette. I can't remember the exact reason but I remember we were walking in between Ross-Ade and Mackey. As my 8-10 year old self (not sure of the exact age) walked by Mackey Arena who should walk out but Coach Gene Keady himself! Well, being the boisterous little kid I was I yelled out, "Hey Gene!" to my parent's horror. In this circumstance what do you think each coach would've done? Bobby probably would've cussed out my parents and told them they needed to raise a child who respected his elders. What did Keady do? Well, he turned my direction, threw up his arm in a wave, and gave me that big Gene Keady smile. It absolutely made my day.

The other memory that sticks out is in T-Mill's story so I'll let him have that one. For me I was born a Purdue fan, I was raised a Purdue fan, and I'll die a Purdue fan. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Travis Says:

The IU-Purdue game I remember most was Gene Keady’s final one in the series. It was January 15, 2005, and I remember it because it was the day I got married. We decided to get married in Vegas because the piece of paper was more important to us than a big ceremony. We met our two closest friends out there and had a ball. The game, however, was nuts. I remember it was a noon tipoff, so it was 9am Vegas time. We were eating breakfast in one of the casinos and I kept running off to the bathroom. In reality, I was heading to the sports book to watch the game. Purdue was a big underdog, but fought back only to lose 75-73 in double overtime. It as a heartbreaking way to end the era of Gene vs. Bobby, even though Bobby had been gone for five years at that point. An awful Purdue team still almost pulled off the upset to send off Keady as he should have been sent off in the series.

Of course, overall in the rivalry I remember the 2000 Bucket game the most. Who didn't enjoy Drew Brees' final game at Ross-Ade Stadium and a Bucket full of Roses to go with it?

Casey Bartley Says:

I attended my first IU/PU game two seasons ago. That Indiana team sported two eventual lottery picks and one really annoying white guy. Sitting up in the cheap seats, drunk on hate, annoyingly close to a section of red, I was prepared for forty minutes of war. The season wasn't quite lost at that point, but it would be soon after. If basketball were a war, there would be only one survivor in black and gold.

What's it mean to define yourself by something else? That's the question you have to ask yourself as a fan of Purdue men's basketball. No matter how many first round tournament wins we have in a row or Big Ten Titles overall, our identity will always be a reflection of our relationship to the school down south. They'll always have the banners and we will always be the little brother just wanting some recognition.

Down thirty, you expect to feel dejected, or to be walking out of Mackey and thinking of what shot will take the pain of that game away quickest, but I found myself on my feet along with the Boiler faithful. I was screaming. Cheering. Going effing crazy because a freshman with a goofy grin was making that tall lottery pick look like a punk. And though we lost the battle, we knew, that in the future we would win the war.

The future is now. IU sucks.

Andrew Zimmerman Says:

As some of you may know, I was raised in an atypical mixed-family Indiana home – mom and sister were huge IU fans and dad hated sports.  Some of my fondest memories of the rivalry involve watching the game in separate rooms of the house and then yelling to the other room when something noteworthy happened.  I was born in 1980 and my sister in 1978, but we really didn’t start becoming huge fans and watching every game until the early 90’s.  I spent most of those first several years questioning my allegiance as Purdue struggled to compete while my sister spent most of her time wallpapering her room with Damon Bailey newspaper clippings.

To me, that was when the rivalry was at its fiercest.  Gene vs Bobby.  The games were usually pretty close and always hard-fought with little regard to records or conference standings.  I remember not wanting to go to school the day after a Purdue loss to IU.  The IU fans (teachers, students, custodians, etc.) would get to tease me all day and make my life miserable.  The rivalry isn’t as intense now, for whatever reason, but I feel like it’s gaining momentum.  Painter vs Crean will never approach the level of ferocity that we saw in the 80’s and 90’s, but I am really anxious to see what happens now that both teams are seemingly headed in the right direction.  When both teams are playing well, the rivalry gets that much more intense.

The most memorable game that I have seen as a Purdue fan was the Chad Austin overtime game in 1997, followed closely by the Chad Austin 3-pointer game the year before.  Both games were in Bloomington and vaulted Austin into legendary status among Purdue fans.  He remains one of my all-time favorite players to this day.  I’m not sure which one of those games ended with Todd Foster stomping on the IU logo at half court, but I remember thinking that it was one of the coolest things I had ever seen in my entire life.

Andrew Holmes Says:

I grew up an IU fan (and am still a bit of a Knight apologist), but I always secretly liked and admired Purdue. At first, as a kid I just liked the colors and the early 90's train logo, but as a teenager I would watch games on WTTV 4 and loved the effort-first style and underdog mentality with which the Boilers played. When I went to college my original plan was to go to IUPUI, as it seemed like the perfect option for someone who couldn't decide, but friends and IUPUI lack of a club rugby team led me to West Lafayette.

My first experience on the correct side of the rivalry was my freshman year in 2007 when ESPN's solution to only one IU-Purdue game was to have students watch the game live in Mackey, and it was awesome. The Baby Boilers lost that night, but I'd finally fully converted. To me, Purdue did things right. Mackey was everything Assembly Hall wasn't, intimate with no bad seats and Matt Painter was an Indiana kid, and an alum, while Kelvin Sampson had no Hoosier connection. Purdue basketball seemed like a family, IU seemed like a business.

Rob St. Claire Says:

Despite the fact that the Indiana-Purdue volleyball rivalry has been almost completely one-sided in Purdue’s favor over the years, there’s still something special about "IU week."  The coaches are way more intense, focused, and driven to win against a lesser team than they should be, except it’s Indiana, so it matters that much more.  The players take it upon themselves to not simply beat Indiana, but to dominate them from the first serve until the last.  Everyone jumps a bit higher, hits a bit harder, and yells a bit louder during the week and especially during the match against IU.

Athletes in every program at Purdue know how much more personal and important it is when they compete against IU than any other team.  Since Purdue doesn’t tend to be extremely relevant on the national scale in most sports, beating IU is among the most important success metrics of a season.  That extra passion reserved for this rivalry is why I think it’s one of the best in college sports.