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Purdue and IU a Call to Unity

Can’t we all just get along?

Purdue v Michigan State
Eric Hunter Jr. just wants to give IU a hug.
Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

There’s an apocryphal saying that is collectively known as the Chinese curse (but was actually probably made up right here in America) which states that to truly be cruel to your enemies you should say “may you live in interesting times.” The idea is that while interesting times are of course interesting in hindsight they are not fun to live through. I think it’s fair to say that we are in fact living in interesting times right now. The last 10 months would qualify, under any definition, as interesting times.

It is in the face of these interesting times that we find ourselves at another interesting time in our country. It’s impossible to ignore the events that occurred at the Capitol one week ago today. Now, our country is filled with calls for unity and I want to add one more. I call for unity between IU fans and Purdue fans.

I know what you’re thinking, this is absurd! How can IU fans and Purdue fans come together? Well, we saw it on the floor at Purdue’s last game when players and staff from Michigan State came together in a show of unity prior to the start of the game. They showed that while we may be foes on the court there is no reason for the kerfuffle to extend beyond that.

Purdue and IU have a long and storied history as rivals in both basketball and football. Purdue currently leads the head to head series in basketball by a tally of 122-89. Now, some IU fans you might see on Twitter or Facebook might tell you that the true story is a lot different if you take out the first X number of years. And that’s true. (It’s also true that if ifs and buts were candy and nuts we’d all have a merry Christmas. But I digress.) Purdue started the series by winning 33 of the first 38 meetings. So I say that in the spirit of unity let’s just look at recent history. Let’s just look at the last 10 years! That seems like something we can all get behind. If you do that it’s Purdue 14 and IU 5. Seems fair right? I think so.

Perhaps that was a bit one sided. I’m sorry. In the spirit of unity I’ll take their words into consideration. In the spirit of unity, we should listen to the words of those same fans on Twitter and only look at the “modern” era of basketball. But what and when is the modern era of college basketball? The modern NCAA Tournament really didn’t start until 1985 when the field was expanded to 64 teams. Sure, it’s grown to 68 now but those four additional teams are not as relevant. If we want to only look at this same modern era for the head to head matchup it would be Purdue 36 and IU 31. Crap! I’m really trying to help my IU friends here!

Oh! I know, what about from the advent of the three point line! That’s modern basketball right? The NCAA adopted the three point line in 1979. Since that time Purdue has won 42 versus IU winning 39. Getting closer! I’m really trying to unite us here. I am trying!

I just can’t find a time to unite the records between these two teams even with my aggressive cherry-picking. Maybe, just maybe, the fact is that Purdue has the historic record over IU and without doing some acrobatic B.S. over what “modern” basketball is you can’t change that.

Whether IU fans like it or not that head to head record shows Purdue has won more games against IU than they have lost. So, I guess I’m not so much calling for unity as I am calling for honesty. Yeah, honesty. That’s what I want. Purdue has just beaten IU more than they’ve lost to them. The numbers are right there. Those numbers can’t be changed. IU has more national titles than Purdue. That’s a fact. Those numbers can’t be changed. IU has been to the final four more recently than Purdue. That’s a fact.

So when we watch the game tomorrow just remember that no matter what happens Purdue will still have the all-time record over Indiana. Also remember that no matter what happens tomorrow we truly are all living through interesting times and only by being nice to each other and helpful to those in need can we get through it stronger on the other side...hey, who knew I would actually call for unity!

The truth is, I hate IU, but it’s sport hate. I hate them because I respect them. I hate them because they’re my rival. I hate them for any number of reasons but again, it’s sports hate. Losing to them just hurts more and beating them just means more. That’s what makes sports great. Now, let’s have a great game tomorrow and allow a 24 hour grace period of sports hate and gloating before we return to being decent human beings. These are interesting times after all.