Let’s just step back before we get into this shall we? In 1896 Purdue basketball played their first game, against the Lafayette YMCA in case you were curious. The AP began ranking the top basketball teams in the country in 1936 when they ranked the top 20. From 1961-1967 only 10 teams were ranked for some reason. The modern AP Top 25 as we know it has existed since 1989. In all of that time Purdue had never been ranked #1 until last season. I don’t need to tell all of you that of course but I want it on the record, for history. Last season Purdue reached the top spot of the Top 25 for the first time in their over 100 year history as a program and the 85 (at the time) year history of the AP Poll. It was glorious. It was beautiful. It lasted one week. Rutgers...
This year was to be a rebuilding year. Purdue lost two of their best players to graduation/NBA draft. They lost their two point guards to transfers. They were going to be relying on freshman at the guard positions. There’s no way this team was going to come close to last year’s team. And yet. And yet, here we are. Purdue held the #1 ranking again this season for a total of four weeks before losing to Rutgers...why is it always Rutgers?
POLL ALERT: Purdue, Alabama, Houston, Tennessee top latest AP Top 25 after major shakeup, Kansas State jumps to No. 5, Gonzaga out of top 10.— AP Top 25 (@AP_Top25) January 23, 2023
Full poll: https://t.co/ZJG5mgWrsa pic.twitter.com/nhSuI7iMXh
It seemed like that was it for Purdue and the #1 ranking. Losses were bound to wrack up in the Big Ten, they always do. And yet. And yet, here we sit with Purdue now 19-1 and back atop the AP Top 25. They hold a two game advantage in the conference standings and we are nearly halfway through what is always a difficult conference season. There’s always a feeling of great relief when you reach your goals. An easing off the gas. A feeling of pride and accomplishment. I have no doubt that every member of the Purdue basketball squad both players, coaches, support staff, managers, operations, everyone must be immensely proud of what they’ve accomplished. The problem with accomplishing goals is, to quote my favorite fictional TV president, What’s next?
For this Purdue team up next is Michigan on the road on Thursday. Then they’ve got games against Michigan State and Penn State at home. No pushover amongst them. It’s worth it though to celebrate the victories, the accomplishments, the milestones. After all, why put in all the work and set the goals if you can’t be proud of yourself for reaching them? Purdue and company can, and should, be proud of what they’ve done. Hell, I’m just a fan and a blogger but I’m proud of this team. A strange thing isn’t it? Being proud of a group of people you’ve never met for an accomplishment you’ve had nothing to do with. It truly is a great example of BIRGing (basking in reflected glory).
So just for today, let’s wear our Purdue shirts with just THAT much more pride. Let’s hold our heads up just THAT much higher. But understand that for the team, tomorrow it’s back to business. What’s next? A conference regular season title. A Big Ten Tournament title. A #1 seed. A Final Four. A national championship? Could we be so lucky? Let’s hope.