Here at Hammer and Rails we appreciate fan comments (as long as they agree with us) and suggestions (as long as they’re good). We had someone suggest an article comparing #1 Purdue to the last time IU was ranked #1. This sounded like a fun write-up for rivalry week ahead of the big game. Purdue heads to Assembly Hall tomorrow for the first time as the #1 team in the country.
If you scroll back many, many years ago you can find the last #1 IU ranking came during the 2012/2013 season. This was also the first time IU had got to the top of the AP poll in 20 years. So long as my computer lets me search that far back, let’s dive in and take a look at these two teams.
Let’s start with 2012/2013 #1 Indiana. Looking back, this team was absolutely loaded. Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo, Yogi Ferrell, Jordan Hulls, and Will Sheehey are all names even us Purdue fans are familiar with. They were the Preseason #1 team and held that for 6 weeks until the beginning of December after losing to Butler in overtime. They stayed in the top ten until climbing into the #1 spot again in early February and holding it for another 4 weeks.
I remember this season because they handed us one of the most embarrassing losses on our home court that I can remember. All five starters scored in double figures and they beat us by 37 points; 97-60. We remember this as the dark times for Purdue Basketball. They ended their season 21-7 overall and won the Big Ten that year with a 14-4 conference record. They got bounced in the second game of the BTT by Wisconsin but went into the NCAA tournament as a 1 seed.
In the first round of March Madness they faced off against James Madison where they won handily, 83-62. In the second game they beat Temple 58-52 and cruised into the second weekend. In the Sweet 16 IU played Syracuse and was upset by the 4 seed 61-50. Props to Syracuse for throwing a 2/3 zone defense no one saw coming and completely disrupting the Hoosier offense.
After holding the #1 spot for 10 weeks that season and loaded with talent, IU was a heavy favorite to make it back to the final weekend for the first time since 2002 under Mike Davis. If the 2012/2013 #1 Indiana team was a significant other, he/she would be the one that got away to Hoosier fans.
Okay now let’s talk #1 Purdue. Our season has started a lot less glitz and glamour than the Hoosiers did. We were unranked in the pre-season and predicted to finish somewhere in the middle for the conference. We lost a lottery pick, two starting seniors graduated and another two players transferred. We still had some solid players coming back behind big man Edey, but no one really knew how this season would shake out.
Purdue started the season with a couple expected cupcake wins as the incoming freshman adjusted to college level basketball. The Boilers then took on Marquette for the Gavitt Games and while they have proved to be a solid team now being ranked #14, we didn’t know how big of a win that really was at the time. We also got to see our young gun point guard Braden Smith drop 20 points and now the Boilers are turning some heads as they break into the AP poll for the first time this season at #24.
Up next was the Phil Knight Legacy Tournament where Purdue would go on to defeat West Virginia before taking on Gonzaga and Duke who were both ranked in the top ten at the time. Purdue ended up beating both those teams by a combined 37 points and not only walked away as winners; but a team people were starting to talk about. Purdue was now 6-0 and had moved up all the way to #5 in the polls.
Well Purdue kept winning and by week 6 we finally hit #1 in the polls for the first time this season and would hold that spot for 4 consecutive weeks.
Purdue had some rough games but had find ways to win when shots weren’t dropping, Boiler faithful was starting to believe, nothing bad could happen now. Enter… Rutgers. What is it with that team and spoiling good things. For the second year in a row Rutgers made a last second shot and knocked us out of the #1 spot.
You are all Purdue fans so I don’t have to spell out the rest of the season but after that 1 point loss, the Boilers have won 9 in a row and have climbed back into that #1 ranking for two weeks now, most recently with a unanimous #1 vote.
Comparing the two teams stat wise:
2012-2013 Indiana Hoosiers
|FG %||48.2% (8th)|
|3PT %||40.3% (4th)|
|FT %||74.3% (31st)|
2022-2023 Purdue Boilermakers
|FG %||46.1% (89th)|
|3PT %||33.9% (197th)|
|FT %||75.6% (33rd)|
According to Kenpom the two teams stack up pretty even but they were overall a better shooting team and had more NBA talent with two top 5 draft picks. But as we all know, that doesn’t always translate to the best team. On a hot shooting night from 3 that Indiana team was definitely one you didn’t want to see. I’m sure some Hoosier fans are still scratching their head wondering how Crean didn’t have them prepared for the zone defense; but after what they did to us that season, I think we were all Syracuse fans that night.
I don’t know how the rest of season will play out so I can’t compare how our post-season will go but let’s go into Assembly tomorrow and hand them a 30 point loss on their home court. As the old saying goes, revenge is a dish best served cold.