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How Difficult is the Delaney Dozen?

Purdue Men’s Basketball Stands Alone in the Big Ten in having multiple classes with wins in all 14 Big Ten venues.

Vermont v Purdue Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

When Carsen Edwards dropped 40 points in a 93-86 win last year at Illinois it allowed our four senior to complete something that had never before been done in Big Ten play: They won at all 14 Big Ten arenas.

This is something that I have dubbed as “The Delaney Dozen”. It is quite the achievement because it is so hard to win on the road in Big Ten play. Since Purdue has since won at Penn State, Northwestern, Rutgers, and Indiana (the venues that Vince Edwards, Dakota Mathias, P.J. Thompson, and Isaac Haas knocked off as freshmen) our current seniors of Ryan Cline and Grady Eifert have also completed it, along with Jacquil Taylor, who was part of the roster for the four years with the quartet od seniors above. After getting the Kohl Center last Friday night juniors Tommy Luce and Carsen Edwards only lack a victory at Nebraska’s Pinnacle Bank Arena for their own, making three straight classes at Purdue getting a Delaney Dozen. They will get their chance on February 23rd.

So has anyone else done it? For the purposes of this exercise let us use freshmen classes at all 14 schools during the 2014-15 season. That means every freshman that stayed four years at the schools have each had at least 2 chances to add to their list in each venue (counting Northwestern’s temporary home court last year too). Sure, I could look into classes that might have gotten all 14 in the first few years with Rutgers and Maryland, but that would be a really deep dive and I would have to go back to schedules as far back as 2011-12 and I don’t have time for that.

Just how rare is The Delaney Dozen? Well, it is pretty rare for one reason: We have made it really, really hard for other schools to match us by defending our home court. This is the fifth season in which the Big Ten has had 14 teams. Purdue is 34-4 at home against Big Ten foes in that time.

Here are our lone Big Ten home losses since the league expanded to 14 teams:

1/10/2015 Maryland 69, Purdue 60

1/2/2016 Iowa 70, Purdue 63

1/1/2017 Minnesota 91, Purdue 82 OT

2/7/2018 Ohio State 64, Purdue 63

That’s it. That’s the list. Until Purdue loses another Big Ten home game only four of the other 13 schools even have a chance at their own Delaney Dozens for a four-year class because it has been just that hard to win in Mackey Arena. It could be even worse. Purdue blew a big lead vs. Iowa and only lost to Ohio State on a putback. The Minnesota overtime loss occurred because Nate Mason played out of his mind.

So how close have these four winners come?

Maryland – The Terrapins were impressive in their first visit to Mackey and have held their own in conference play. In fact, their loss back in December is their lone conference loss this season and looks really good for us right now. In 2014-15 they also added Michigan State, Penn State, Rutgers, and Nebraska as road wins. That had them at 5 for that year’s freshmen. In 2015-16 they added Northwestern, Wisconsin, And Ohio State. In 2016-17 they got Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota. That meant last year’s seniors entered last season needed only Indiana, but the Hoosiers beat them 71-68 in Bloomington to make them 0-3 in Assembly Hall. Since Maryland already lost at Purdue this year, this year’s seniors (who were not on the 2014-15 team) are already out.

Iowa – In 2014-15 Iowa was a solid 12-6 in league play, winning at Ohio State, Minnesota, Michigan, Nebraska, Penn State, and Indiana. That gave them an excellent start. The next season they added to their Purdue win with wins at Michigan State, Rutgers, and Illinois to get to 10 of the 13 road venues. In 2016-17 they only added Maryland and Wisconsin, leaving Northwestern as their final venue. The schedule makers did them no favors, however, as Iowa did not play at Northwestern in 2017-18. This year’s seniors got that win and they do have the win over Purdue as freshmen. They were not there for the 6 venues gathered in 2014-15, however.

They still have a shot. This year’s seniors also won at Michigan in 2015-16 as freshmen. They also need Ohio State (February 26th), Minnesota (January 27th), Nebraska (March 10th), Penn State (January 16th), and Indiana (February 7th) because they were not part of the 2014-15 wins in those venues.

Minnesota – Getting Minnesota there is going to be a tall order after their dismal 2015-16 season. Their 2014-15 freshmen (last year’s seniors) did win at Iowa and Michigan State, but the Gophers did not win a single road game in 2015-16. In 2016-17 they got wins at Purdue, Northwestern, Illinois, Rutgers, and Maryland, but last year their lone road win was at Penn State. This year’s seniors are already out after losing at Ohio State in December.

Ohio State – So what about the Buckeyes? Did last year’s win give them a full set? In 2014-15 they won at Minnesota, Northwestern, Rutgers, and Penn State. In 2015-16 they added Illinois and Nebraska. In 2016-17 a down year only saw them add Michigan. Last season saw them win at Wisconsin, Iowa, Purdue, and Indiana. That left them needing Maryland and Michigan State.

Entering this season their seniors, who were not there in 2014-15, already got Penn State in 2016-17, Rutgers in 2015-16, and Northwestern in 2015-16. They cannot complete the set, however, because they do not go to Minnesota this season.

Since Michigan does not come to Purdue this year and everyone else (Nebraska, Penn State, Northwestern, etc.) likely have too many venues to get to all 14 there is only one school that has a realistic shot of joining Purdue in this club: Michigan State. Since they play at Purdue January 27th they have a chance. And here is where they have won at the other 12 venues:

2015-16: Minnesota, Penn State, Northwestern, Michigan, Ohio State, Rutgers

2016-17: Nebraska

2017-18: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Wisconsin

So yes, Michigan State’s seniors of Matt McQuaid and Kenny Goins are missing only Mackey Arena from having their own Delaney Dozen. That is just an added incentive to defend home court on January 27th.

UPDATE: Apparently Peter Jok did complete it for Iowa in the following way:

2013-14: Northwestern, Ohio State, Illinois, Penn State

2014-15: Minnesota, Michigan, Nebraska, Indiana

2015-16: Purdue, Michigan State, Rutgers

2016-17: Maryland, Wisconsin