Now that the cheap beer and sadness have run their course (not going to lie, still a little sad), I thought I would add a few more talking points about the game last night.
Is ESPN just trolling Purdue and Indiana? I live in College Station, I've been to Texas A&M basketball games, and the Kentucky game was a rare sellout. You can usually walk up and buy tickets 5 minutes before tip for most games at Reed Arena. The atmosphere, at best, is forced, and it's obvious that you've got a gym full of football fans watching basketball. A&M has no rivals in the SEC, and I thought this was "rivalry" week, guess I was wrong.
Who decided to put Dan Dakich on this game? How high do you have to be to think that putting a former I.U. player and coach on a Purdue vs I.U. game is a good idea. I actually don't blame Dakich at all, because he's damned if he does, and damned if he doesn't. I.U. fans think he is bitter about not getting the head coaching jobs, and Purdue fans think he is a homer towards his alma mater. Why not just get someone who has not ties to either team to do the rivalry game?
How is this guy still doing Big10 games. He's a running joke in the Big10 and never fails to live up to his well earned monicker. Matt Painter is a bigger man than me, because if T.V. Teddy stopped a game to stalk down towards me and scold me like a small child he would be working hard on passing his whistle this morning (or later on in the week, I don't pretend to know if T.V. Teddy is regular or not). Everyone knows he makes the game about him. Everyone knows if the option is to let an incidental play go or make a stupid call, Teddy can't help but blow the whistle and dance around. Everyone knows he sucks, but everyone also knows that the Big10 is going to put him in big games. It makes no sense.
Yogi and Troy Williams:
Yogi looks like he plays in fast forward and Purdue has nothing at the point guard position that can match him on defense. P.J. is a good basketball player. I have been pleased with his performance this season, but he can't check Yogi. If you tied a cinder block to Yogi, maybe, but P.J. just doesn't have the lateral quickness (few do) to stay in front of Yogi. Johnny Hill isn't really a point guard, and is much better at handling taller point guards. Yogi is way too quick for Johnny Hill. Purdue actually did a good job against Yogi in the second half, but his first half performance put Purdue in a hole, and made the Boilers play from behind.
Troy Williams may not be a good basketball player, but he is a superb athlete, and again, Purdue has no one that can match his freak athleticism. Vince Edwards is a lot of things, but he isn't that quick, and while he is a decent athlete, he isn't in the same class of Williams. Ray Davis on one leg really doesn't stand a chance against Troy. Ray tries to use his strength and experience to defend, but Williams is too athletic for that to be effective.
Williams and Yogi dictated the game to Purdue from the opening tip with their quickness and athleticism and Purdue had no answers.
A.J. needed to come out and get Thomas Bryant in foul trouble. Yes, he came out and hit some jump shots and long hooks, but he rarely put Bryant in a position to draw fouls. Instead, he picked up a few touch fouls, including a T.V. Teddy special on a flop, and spent most of the game sitting on the bench. On defense, Thomas Bryant confounded A.J. by stepping away from the basket, and dragging A.J. with him. A.J. wasn't committed to guarding Bryant on the outside, but he was too far away from the goal to help on Yogi and Williams. He basically stood around in no man's land and watched Yogi and Troy drive to the goal and Thomas Bryant hit jump shots from the outside. A.J. has had several great games for the Boilermakers, Purdue needed a great game from A.J. last night and just got a meh performance. Not terrible, but certainly not dominating.
I don't know what to say about Ray anymore. I still think he is playing injured. He provided nothing on offense, and didn't make up for it with a stellar defensive performance. Ray is hard nosed guy, and I have no doubt that he bleeds gold and black, but his performance last night hurt the team, and his performance has been little better than average for the season as a whole. Purdue needed a consistently aggressive Ray Davis this season and hasn't received it. I have no doubt that Ray Davis wants to win, but he did little to help Purdue win last night.
Kendall is getting the full Bryson at this point. He gets 5 minutes to make something happen, forces things, and then gets a seat on the bench. Kendall's drive to the basket and dish off to Haas was one of the few times Purdue was able to drive the ball, but it didn't help him get anymore run. I miss Kendall and what he can potentially bring to this team, but I think it's over for him this year.
I liked Haas on offense. He used his size to carve out position, and he went up strong with the ball. I don't remember him missing any 2 footers or taking any turnaround, fade away jumpers last night. That said, Haas isn't a good rebounder or defender, and the opposition tends to attack the paint and on the glass when Haas is on the floor, which always confuses me. That said, Haas is going to continue to improve, and has the potential to be a great rebounder and a decent defender before all is said and done.
Cline and Dakota:
Between the two, they contributed 9 points on 3-6 shooting from 3. Dakota in particular was instrumental in Purdue's comeback. Neither are particularly adept at playing defense, but they weren't recruited to be defensive stoppers, they were recruited to shoot, and they did a good job of that last night. It's obvious that they are going to have to improve on defense to see more playing time in the future, but at least the shooting was there last night.
Purdue needs Vince Edwards to be great for their offense to work. Vince is the only guy that can consistently get to the basket, but in Purdue's post oriented offense, he is often the odd man out, standing around on the weak side of the floor and waiting for something to happen. It looked like Vince was on his way to another quiet performance until he caught fire about midway through the second half and helped drag Purdue back into the game. In my opinion, Vince is the key moving forward.
P.J. and Johnny:
As I mentioned before, neither had anything for Yogi on defense in the first half, but I'm not sure many point guards in the nation would have done much better. P.J. provided solid floor spacing on offense, knocking down 3-7 from 3. The fact that he is looking for his shot bodes well for Purdue going forward. Unfortunately, Yogi and Troy Williams used their quickness to harass P.J. into some uncharacteristic ball handling errors and he picked up a questionable charge late in the game when he probably had no business driving the ball into the defense. Johnny Hill is a limited offensive player who had a hard time finding his way in this game, and subsequently only saw 9 minutes of action. Hill usually provides some solid work on the defensive side of the ball, but he couldn't stay with Yogi, which made him basically unplayable. I still think Hill will make a difference in at least one game heading down the stretch, but this wasn't the game.
I thought this was one of Biggie's better all-around games this season. He took his time on offense, used his big body, and finished well around the rim, often through contact, leading to a team leading 14 point performance. He went 5-6 from the field, only committed 1 turnover, and led Purdue with 8 rebounds. He did an adequate job on defense, as Hartman and Bielfeldt went a combined 5-13 for 12 points. Biggie led Purdue in points, and rebounding, only committed one turnover, and wasn't a disaster on defense. In my opinion, he was Purdue's best player yesterday. I'm sure some people with disagree with that assessment, but I'm not sure what else you want from the kid.
Matt frustrates me. I think he's a good coach, but his stubborn streak gets him into trouble. Ray Davis lead Purdue in minutes yesterday, but didn't score. Kendall Stephens came into the game and gave Purdue some much needed energy, but only saw 4 minutes of action. I'm not sure if yelling at T.V. Teddy would have done anything more than draw more fouls on Purdue, but I think a tech was probably warranted on the Bielfeldt flop that put A.J. on the bench with 3 fouls. Finally, Matt kind of dug his own hole at the point guard position. He had 2 4* point guards that had the quickness to check Yogi on the roster in the last 4 years, but couldn't figure out how to make it work for a variety of reasons. I understand why Ronnie Johnson had to go, but this was a game tailor made for Bryson Scott's skill set, and Matt and Bryson couldn't figure it out. Hopefully Edwards can come in next year, stay out of the dog house, and provide Purdue with a little something different at the point guard position. All-in-all, Matt Painter continues to be a very good, but not great coach.