The final regular season game of the season is here. It may not be the celebration we had all hoped. As recently as 2 weeks ago it was hoped this would be a coronation. It could have even been the first perfect Big Ten season in 42 years. Alas, it won’t work out that way. A 30% 3-point shooter banked in a three. Keita Bates-Diop scored on a second offensive rebound. Miles Bridges hit a hero shot. Purdue crapped the bed in Madison. Northwestern blew a 27-point lead at home against Michigan State.
Because of all that, there will probably be no second straight Big Ten championship clinched at home. Yes, we will know by tipoff if there is a chance or not. If Wisconsin can upset Michigan State (and the Spartans are a little distracted off the court right now) Purdue can claim at least a share of its 24th Big Ten championship. It would share the title with Ohio State and Michigan State, and regardless of what happens Purdue is locked into the 3 seed in the Big Ten Tournament.
This game is about the seniors though. Dakota Mathias, Vince Edwards, P.J. Thompson, and Isaac Haas will play in Mackey Arena for the final time. A victory would be their 100th in a Purdue uniform, too. We will celebrate them and, if Wisconsin can do us a favor, raise another Big Ten championship banner.
From: Minneapolis, MN
Date: Sunday, February 25, 2018
Tip Time: 4PM ET
Location: West Lafayette, Indiana
Arena: Mackey Arena (14,804)
Television: Fox Sports 1
Online: Fox Sports Go
Radio: Purdue Radio Network
SiriusXM Satellite: XM (Ch. 381); Internet (Ch. 968)
Live Stats: bit.ly/PurdueLiveStats
2016-17 Record: 24-10, 11-7 Big Ten (Lost to Middle Tennessee State 81-72 in NCAA First Round)
2017-18 Record: 15-15, 4-13 Big Ten
Opponent Blog: The Daily Gopher
Series with Purdue: Purdue leads 102-83
Last Minnesota Win: 91-82 (OT) at Purdue on 1/1/2017
Last Purdue Win: 81-47 at Minnesota on 1/13/2018
NCAA Tournament History: 13 appearances, last in 2017. 1997 Final Four
Coach: Richard Pitino (90-76 in 5th season at Minnesota, 106-80 overall)
Let’s be honest: Minnesota sucks. Since we blew them out by 34 in Minneapolis they have gone 2-9, beating only Iowa and winning at Penn State. The win at Penn State will go a long way towards knocking the Nittany Lions out of the NCAAs. Iowa also sucks. Minnesota already knows it is playing on the first day of the Big Ten Tournament against Iowa, Illinois, or Rutgers. It doesn’t really matter because none of these teams are expected to do much. Since Purdue is locked into the 3 seed and Minnesota could be the 11 it is possible we could play them in consecutive games. They would need to win two straight to do that, however, and it probably is not happening.
Jordan Murphy and Nate Mason are both really good, but this team lost two of its best players when Amir Coffey went out with injury and Reggie Lynch was expelled from school for multiple sexual assault allegations. Since then, Minnesota has fallen apart. At one point they were ranked 12th in the nation. Now they may not even finish with a winning record.
This is a dead team walking, and if Wisconsin beat Michigan State we have even less reason to lose. I’ll say it now: if Wisconsin beats Michigan State and we still lose on senior day for these four seniors to a Minnesota team that has been sleepwalking for months we should burn the entire program down. We have no valid reason to lose this game. Dupree McBrayer is back after missing the first game and Nate Mason did go crazy in Mackey a year ago, but these seniors are not losing at home in their final game, especially if the Big Ten happens to be on the line. Purdue 85, Minnesota 65