If it’s Saturday, no matter how late, it must be the roundtable. This week I got the answers late because the question was dependent on what happened in the game against Maryland. So, here we go. Let’s get into.
Purdue now has 4 losses. All in Big Ten play. What once seemed like an impossibility, then a lock, has now become something we all hope will happen. I’m talking of course about the 25th Big Ten Championship.
How confident are you right now that Purdue will hang on and win that title? And, for a bonus, do you think they will share it or will it be Purdue all alone at the top of the mountain?
Coming into the season I thought Purdue had no chance to win their 25th Big Ten title. It’s hard enough to sustain greatness over an entire Big Ten season when you’re the conference favorite. It’s nearly impossible when you’re picked to finish in the middle of the conference (but did receive one first place vote in the pre-season media poll). Once Purdue went out to Portland my expectations changed greatly.
After losing three of their last four games I’m torn. As the co-manager of this site I think I try my best to lean toward a “take a breath everything will be fine attitude” but at home and in my fandom I seethe and rage just as much as the next fan. Just ask my wife, or my brothers, or my fellow former Paint Crew officers who see our Twitter group chat. I can be just as myopic and angry as the next fan.
I believe everything I write on this site. I believe that right now Purdue will walk away at the end of the season with their 25th Big Ten Championship but right now I’m leaning more toward it being an outright title but it’s going to be close. Looking at Northwestern they still have to go to Illinois, Maryland, and Rutgers. As Purdue fans can attest those are some difficult places to play. I don’t expect them to sweep those three. IU has to go to Michigan State, come to Mackey, and play Iowa and Michigan at Assembly. Those are four tough games remaining. Purdue meanwhile has three home games remaining starting tomorrow against a struggling Ohio State, IU, and ending the season against Illinois. Purdue’s sole remaining road game is at Wisconsin. A Wisconsin team that has struggled mightily of late. Win 3 of those games and Purdue is guaranteed a share. Win all four and it’s an outright title. Win 3 including against IU and see Northwestern lose one of their remaining games and it’s an outright title. So there we go, I think Purdue survives with an outright title and racks up number 25.
Indiana is the main issue. I don’t think Northwestern sustains their run. Beat I.U. and Purdue wins outright, lose and the Hoosiers will make things interesting.
At this point, I still think Purdue holds off the rest of the Big10. The schedule is favorable, and Painter will have them ready to play after the debacle at Maryland. Ohio State and Illinois at home don’t concern me. Wisconsin on the road could be tricky, but they’re not good. It would take their A game and Purdue’s C- game for the Badgers to pull the upset.
Time to hang another banner in Mackey.
Well we have hit somewhat of a slump here, is it just a bump in the road or a February fade? The race is tighter now but Purdue still holds a 1 game advantage with a favorable schedule ahead. I think Purdue will hang on at home beating Ohio State, Indiana and Illinois and should beat a struggling Wisconsin on the road. Even if we drop one of those games, Northwestern has to play Maryland and Rutgers on the road in which I think they lose one if not both of those. They still control their own destiny and I have faith this team bounces back. Purdue wins their 25th conference title and will be alone on top of the mountain.
I’m sitting at a confidence level of, let’s say, 90% given the recent losses and ever-growing signs of weakness. The good thing is that the Boilers gave themselves a safety net with the tear they went on to start the season, but three losses in the last four games after a 22-1 start is simply not a good look. Teams have figured out how to get Purdue out of sync, at which point the boilers seem to hit the panic button with possession of the ball.
Looking at the schedule, Purdue is still projected to win its remaining four games, all in conference, starting with what should be a guaranteed win at home against a reeling Ohio State squad that has one single win since New Year’s Day. Northwestern and Indiana have to play catch-up while praying Purdue continues to skid, so as long as the Boilermakers can take care of business with the remainder of their schedule (which includes the second-least threatening opponent, Wisconsin, as the lone away game), I’d expect them to win the regular season title before Big 10 tournament play begins on March 8th.
I am 90% confident that Purdue will get to Championship 25 this season as their magic number sits at 3 with 4 games to play. If Purdue can take care of Wisconsin and Ohio State while splitting IU and Illinois (I think they could handily take all 4), then they clinch at least a shared championship. I think Northwestern will falter at some point in their remaining 5 games, so I feel good about the spot that Purdue is in, despite their recent struggles.
Purdue has definitely gone through some things the last 2 weeks and my displeasure with that has been noted. However, every team in the B1G has gone through their rough patch and come out better (looks at IU in early January and then how they looked from last January to mid February). The question is, has Purdue given themselves enough time to recover and then get their trajectory pointed in the right direction for the BTT and the NCAAT? I think so.
Purdue is finally getting their week off after the OSU game and will return a week later to face IU. If there is any better time to make adjustments, get guys rested, and get them refocused, I don’t think it would have come at the right time for THIS Purdue team.
I think ultimately Purdue wins out from here and wins a solo title as Northwestern will likely falter with their remaining schedule (Iowa, @ Illinois, @ Maryland, PSU, @ Rutgers) likely means they drop at least 2 games. If Purdue can simply beat IU, everything else takes care of itself but it just depends how Purdue responds. I have a feeling this team, led by Edey and Gillis, will be different.