It used to be that you got two exhibition “warm-up” games before the college basketball season started in earnest. Back in the day that meant touring teams like Athletes in Action would go around and play college teams in exhibitions. One time the Harlem Globetrotters even came to Mackey Arena and played a serious game (it was my junior year). Eventually, smaller colleges took over this role.
Now teams still get two exhibitions, but many have turned to the “secret scrimmage”. Normally the policy is that WE DO NOT TALK ABOUT SECRET SCRIMMAGE, but for the purposes of this post, we’ll at least give some background. The “secret scrimmage” is basically a closed game where two Division I teams can play, but no fans or even media are allowed. Reports are hard to come by as generally stats aren’t even released.
The last two years Purdue has gone the route of one “secret scrimmage” and one regular exhibition (this year it is Carson Cunningham’s Carroll College). Two years ago Purdue played Dayton, and last year it played West Virginia. Once again, Purdue will face West Virginia in the “secret scrimmage”.
Purdue has had a very good relationship with West Virginia under Matt Painter. The Boilers played four real games (Two in West Lafayette, Two in Morgantown) from 2010-2013, going 3-1 in the double home-and-home. Last year coach Painter wanted to give his team a trial against the press after it had issues in 2015-16 and it worked. Purdue was markedly better against the press last year.
Once again, the teams will meet in Columbus, OH. The date hasn’t been announced, but it will be a very good test. It is a great idea to face a good team like West Virginia with no stress and just tell Bob Huggins to press the living hell out of us for 40 minutes. It can only help the newcomers mesh with Purdue’s more established players.