If it’s Saturday it must be the roundtable. Let’s see what the question is and how the staff responds.
Purdue heads to Assembly Hall today. Both teams are ranked for the first time since 2016 the infamous goaltending game of that rings a bell for you. So my question is this, can you please tell me a story about a moment that crystallized your feelings about this rivalry? For instance a moment when your IU hatred really was born, when it grew, or why it persisted. Basically, tell me a good IU vs. Purdue story.
I grew up in a small town in Indiana. My dad went to Purdue and so we were a Purdue family. Naturally. It was a lonely place to be a Purdue family in good old Connersville, Indiana. All throughout elementary school and middle school I rocked my Purdue gear. During football season it wasn’t really a problem because IU football didn’t really register with most people. Sure, those same IU basketball fans would taunt me about ND football but I mean come on, that’s easy to combat. But then it became basketball season and suddenly these IU fans come out of the woodwork like cockroaches when the lights go off.
So I’ve always hated IU. There’s just no question about it. One story that I love to tell was during the early Tom Crean years at Purdue. One of my dad’s closest teacher friends is a big IU basketball guy. As I was in college we went to some sort of gathering with family and friends and this man was there. We got to talking about the Big Ten conference race and I told him that IU would be lucky to win five conference games. He scoffed at me and said I was letting my love of Purdue and hatred IU blind me. Sure enough during the 2009-2010 season IU won four conference games. I got this guy’s phone number from my dad and just sent him a text that said “told you they wouldn’t win five conference games”. His response was along the lines of F you, who is this?
So just like in 1984, we have always hated IU, we have always been at war with IU. The war picks up again today.
Ok, so I want to start by saying that up until about my junior year of high school, I was neutral on this rivalry. Growing up in Indiana, you can’t escape Purdue-IU but I didn’t pick a side until I knew which college I would attend (though IU was never considered since I wanted to be an engineer). That’s when all hell broke loose as Twitter was the catalyst to my discovery that IU’s fanbase is atrocious. Where do I begin? Maybe with the two most common IU Twitter hashtags: #littlebrother and #banners. Both are ironic since Purdue leads the basketball series all time by over 30 games and the last students to see IU win a banner are now at least 53 years old. IU fans have this knack of living in the past and milking a brand that should no longer be nationally relevant. I refuse to call IU a blue blood because they are not one. Throw in the IU basketball/ ND football bandwagoners and this fanbase could not be more toxic. Then, on the court, it’s almost comical that so many high talent players can come to a program and underdevelop during their tenure. Maybe Mike Woodson can finally fix that issue but I have my doubts considering the talent around TJD this year that would be screwed without him (outside of Hood-Schifino).
So yes, all of this is being said with the clearly better program but I came to Purdue when IU was coming off a B1G championship and the Yogi Farrell era. Then Purdue rattled off 9 straight wins, all while I was still a student, but did that stop IU fans from typing away on the internet? Nope. Purdue has now won 13 of 15 in basketball, has the better coach, better big man, and better program, and looks to emphasize that in Dis-Assembly Hall. Remember how this was a rebuilding year for Purdue and IU was the front-runner for the B1G? Neither do I. Boiler Up!
As a Purdue fan I never liked IU. No I wasn’t one of those kids who idealized Knight and then went to Purdue. I never liked IU. I applied to one school and got in there. Obviously just the basic rivalry games kind of fuel it once you’re on campus. The jabs at Purdue girls being ugly, the constant bringing up of Banners, the incessant claim of “Being Back” will annoy anyone. But I would say I really started to disdain them the year Purdue played at Assembly after Hummel tore his ACL. He went to shoot free throws and the students were chanting “ACL”… always a classy bunch they are. Robbie is one of my favorite Boilermakers and I probably took it more to heart than him, but that really irked me. Also, those dang candy cane warmups. A disgusting candy and even worse on pants. Oh yeah, IU Sucks.
I’m not going to lie, I’m probably not as invested in this game as the average Boilermaker fan. Other than a 5 year stint in Noblesville from 1st-4th grade, I wasn’t steeped in Hoosier hatred growing up, in fact, no one in South Carolina cares about Purdue vs Indiana. Don’t get me wrong, I still hate them, but I don’t hate them on a cellular level like I do the South Carolina Gamecocks (the most vile of college programs, absolute filth all the way down. I’m going to pick one of the earlier games I remember. The 91-92 Purdue teams wasn’t great, in fact they were barely average, finishing the season at 18-15.Indiana was loaded with Calbert Chaney, Greg Graham, Damon Bailey, Alan Henderson and Eric Anderson all averaging in double digits. In the first matchup at Assembly Hall, Indiana smoked Purdue. I’m talking about straight dragging them around the court to a 106-65 ass beating. The return game in Mackey was the last game of the season, with Indiana’s Big10 hopes on the line. Win, and they were assured a share of the Big10 title, lose and it was Ohio State’s outright.
I only remember bits and pieces of this game because I was 10, but I do remember the last 10 minutes. It looked like Purdue was limp along to a somewhat respectable loss to the #4 Hoosiers before senior Woody Austin took over the game. I can’t remember the specifics, but I do remember Austin basically going head to head with Damon Bailey down the stretch, helping lead Purdue to a 51-59 victory. Bob Knight melted down at the post game presser. That Purdue team, oddly enough, has a multitude of current Purdue connections. Matt Painter was a junior, Brandon Brantley was freshman, Matt Waddell was the third leading scorer, Cuonzo put up 6 a game as a freshman. Now Painter runs the show, Brantley is the best big man coach in the nation, Matt Waddell’s son Brian is reserve and Cuonzo’s son Chase is a walk-on.
I’ve grown up in West Lafayette and don’t remember a time where I wasn’t a huge Purdue fan. I was originally from Champaign-Urbana (really Mahomet) but moved here when I was 4 so my memories of big time sporting events started here. For me, there is one moment that stands above the rest (although the horrible treatment the AAMB received while at the Bucket Game made my hate grow).
January 18th, 1994 my dad took me for my birthday to what he said would be an incredible game. Indiana was ranked 8th and Purdue was ranked 12th. I remember walking into Mackey and just being awed at how electric it felt. Feeling as though the first time the Big Dog scored a bucket that the place would just explode like a powder keg. The game was incredible and I’m not sure I’ve ever heard Mackey as consistently loud as it was that night. Purdue ended up beating the Hoosiers in overtime that night but when Mackey starts grooving and the crescendo builds higher and higher, I’m taken back to that moment for me with my dad (who passed away in 2003); that 6 year old little boy standing next to his father, enjoying that moment in time. That’s what makes this rivalry that much more special for me. That’s what officially made me feel, for the first time, that being a Boiler meant being part of a family.