It’s March and on the last two days of the regular season I don’t have a dog in the fight. I.U. was the first to be eliminated. Their season is mercifully over. Purdue was beaten a few days ago by Ohio State. The undefeated Zags easily won their tournament a few days ago so they aren’t playing this weekend. The Beavers beat the Ducks in basketball, while the Ducks prevailed in baseball, a rare flip-flop of program strengths. My four most hated teams are battling it out for the BIG bracket title, a tournament that I.U. has never won since inception. Not much to look forward to over the next few days except the tourney draw.
When I get to Indianapolis next weekend, I will struggle with allegiance. The Ducks and Boilers will get another chance for post season glory, while the Zags should cruise through their first two games. Oregon State will only get in, despite three straight Pac12 wins, if they beat Colorado today, a team they’ve lost to twice. The number 12 has been added to their jerseys as a reminder that they were picked to finish last in the conference by the pre-season pollsters. They could win the Pac12 tourney for the first time in program history. Now that’s a fighting Dog!
The Hoosiers were the worst kind of dog, finishing with six straight conference losses, rather than peaking for a March Madness run. They face an off-season of uncertainty as Archie Miller’s fate is determined. Trayce Jackson-Davis will not be back though I don’t see much of a future for him in the NBA. He certainly got to the free throw line frequently but the rim doesn’t favor his short game and he can’t shoot well from the charity stripe. He could be a star if he stayed in college two more years, but Archie is not a teaching coach. The G-League is his certain destiny. The only guy that did hit free throws this year, Al Durham, could come back for another year – but probably won’t. I’m not at all looking forward to next year without the shooters, big bodies, or innovative coaching that can effectively compete in the BIG. Unless there is change, my hapless Hoosiers are nothing but a barkless dog without a fight!
It’s depressing irony that four Indiana basketball schools will probably be playing in Dallas or done for the year while the NCAA tournament takes place in their back yard. Only Purdue will represent what was once the greatest basketball state in the nation. Indiana, Butler, Ball State, and Notre Dame will all end the regular season with losing records. Will the NIT even have them? Indiana will probably finish 10th in the BIG with the first nine likely going to the Big Dance. Notre Dame is looking at 11th in the ACC, just behind Duke that still has a slim chance of making the field. Butler sits at 10th in the Big East and Ball State 8th in the MAC. It was also a bad year for Valparaiso (10-18) and Evansville (9-16). Indiana State topped both of them in the Missouri Valley conference at 15-10 but tourney winner Loyola and runner-up Drake will probably get the nod. Could Dallas also be a destination for the Sycamores?
The #4 seed Boilermakers got a March Madness double-bye in the BIG battle and have a chance at favorable NCAA placement in their home state if they win on Friday. I will support them once I.U. has officially been eliminated, which will probably be sooner than later. Purdue will sadly be the sole state representative once the Big Dance starts next week. I hope to see them in person, fully vaccinated, when I travel to Indy on the 19th. Boiler Up and Go Ducks!
#10 seed I.U. plays #7 Rutgers tonight in the BIG tournament, facing the possibility of going 0-3 this year against the Scarlet Knights. If the Hoosiers can pull of the upset, they would face Illinois on Friday, who also swept them in the regular season. As poorly as the Hoosiers have played this year, two big upset wins could get them in with a 14-14 overall record, although they’d have to win at least one more to assure a .500 season. The conference games are in Indianapolis, after all, and maybe the rims will be kind for once. Fat Chance!
It’s another lackluster Saturday with just a touch of sunshine. Normally, I might be excited about gameday and the I.U. vs. Purdue rivalry, but I’ve lost all hope, relying solely on the women for a victory. Yes, I’m a pessimist who typically forecasts doom, but I honestly don’t see a way. I’ve come to expect turnovers, missed layups, bad free throw shooting, and air balls. I don’t understand how these players can be exceptional in high school yet somehow fall apart under the guidance of coach Archie Miller. It seems like both Miller brothers are in jeopardy of losing their jobs, with Sean’s recent NCAA violation allegations. Miller Time (See Post #35) has turned into a really bad hangover at both Indiana and Arizona!
Purdue football was mercifully saved from sure slaughter with the cancellation of the Oaken Bucket Game in 2020. There’s no such luck for Hoosier basketball – the game will tip-off as scheduled. I’m certain to hear from all my Purdue buddies before, during, and after the game, drooling with anticipation. I.U. is in danger of losing five straight conference games and nine straight to the #23 Boilermakers. Miller Time for the Hoosiers has never happened. The 60 point mark is the key with I.U. 0-5 this year when under and 12-8 with the over. The Hoosiers are 6-0 when they hold an opponent under 63. The January game ended with Purdue winning 81-69. It’s too bad there’s a time clock, thinking of the once popular Four Corner offensive stall also known as “Keep Away.”
I.U. was an unbelievably pitiful 2-20 shooting threes in their last game against Michigan State. They were 3-18 versus the Boilers in the first loss. How can these guys possibly be this bad and Purdue so good? Also, it’s not just a game here and there – it’s every game. This is why we probably should not show up on Gene Keady Court this morning. To make matters worse, it’s also Senior Day, adding more fuel to the West Lafayette fire. I’m not sure I can even watch – perhaps my mask should cover my eyes instead of mouth. However, I will also need a gag to keep from scaring our dog once the basketball starts clanging off the rim. Please prove me wrong, but I’m embarrassed already of our consistent game of Hopeless Hoops.
I was like a human metal detector this morning, spotting five pennies and picking up a quarter and nickel. However, when I examined them at the end of the run, the nickel was actually a useless flat battery and the quarter turned out to be 200 pesos worth $9.55. This is one of my bigger finds if I ever get around to converting it. Unlike the photo featured for this post, I’m not exactly searching on a Mexican beach but rather the wet streets of downtown. In fact, my nice Florida tan has now faded to Portland pale.
The smell of coffee was everywhere this morning along with the pleasant aroma of pot. I began to get hungry and thirsty, eyeing a familiar pink box of Voodoo Donuts along with anyone holding a warm cup of java. Before I stop next door for my two Leadership Meeting beers, I’m now tempted to go to Starbucks for a decaf caramel latte. It’s Friday and time to celebrate with Coors, companionship, and coffee.
We got final approval for our loan yesterday. However, how can something be final if there are still conditions attached? They are apparently hedging their bet against us senior citizens without a steady paycheck. If I had this to do over, I would have purchased in the months before retirement while the paychecks were still coming in. They don’t seem to care how much you have in savings or how much you put down. It’s all about the paycheck that we all know could stop at any moment. Florida is still reeling from all the foreclosures in 2008.
I.U. basketball has only one chance for redemption this year with tomorrow’s game against Purdue. The #23 Boilers have won eleven of the last twelve and eight straight against the Cream & Crimson. The odds for a Hoosier victory are significantly reduced with Senior Night festivities at Mackey on Gene Keady Court. Archie Miller has been outcoached by Matt Painter every time they’ve met. My metal detector has a game prediction setting that is not beeping in favor of I.U., also facing its fifth straight BIG Conference loss. It strongly detects Gold.
It was no coincidence that I chose a “Jealous” graphic with a green background because I’m Green with Envy. Too many programs in the BIG conference have now surpassed my Indiana Hoosiers in building success. A team that I grew up with and saw win National Championships and even go undefeated is now in the bottom tier and in danger of not even going to the NCAA tournament for the fourth straight year. As I watch this morning against Michigan, I’m preparing myself for a third straight loss and what will probably extend to five before the BIG tournament. All the pregame talk is about #3 Michigan and not even any speculation for an I.U. upset. I’m jealous!
Once upon a time, Michigan was a triple victory on the way to a 1976 National title at 32-0. Purdue was at the very least a split every year, but Coach Archie Miller has not been able to beat them, with only one last chance this season. It could very well be the last few games we’ll even watch him as the Indiana coach. Juwan Howard has risen to the top of the BIG in his first year as coach, while Archie is in his fourth year and dwindling in the conference basement. Each week another team breaks out of a slump against the Hoosiers. The last two games they’ve built big first half leads only to fall apart in the end. Other teams can make free throws or three-point shots and take care of the ball. Not I.U.! I’m no longer mad – just Jealous!
The Oregon Ducks are making a stretch run, Purdue is solidly in the tournament field, Gonzaga is undefeated, but Indiana is on the outside looking in. I’m Jealous! More and more Indiana high school stars are going to out-of-state schools, if not they want to go to be a Boilermaker. The Hoosiers can’t hit the side of a barn or defend against the three and seem to just be going through the motions. I miss the days of good fundamental basketball, but mostly I miss winning. Other teams are winning – I’m Green with Jealousy!
I’ve now completed 4,400 consecutive days of running, another milestone in The Streak that started over twelve years ago. This daily routine has consumed 17% of my life, but it’s hard to remember those times when I wasn’t doing it every day. It’s a meaningful accomplishment, especially when it’s crossed off the daily checklist, and I can sit and write about it. My feet have felt heavy this past week, while my muscles remain stiff from the cold, damp weather. I can’t seem to warm up, so I’m looking forward to two weeks of hot Florida sunshine. I’ll see my son, grandkids, and a few Midwest friends in the process. We’ll also get to see firsthand the progress on our home.
Today is what I like to call the basketball bucket game, although there is no trophy like football, just bragging rights. It’s the first of two IU-PU annual matchups that always stack-up to be the most important games on the schedule every year. There have been 211 meetings in total with the Boilermakers leading the overall series 122-89. Purdue has also won the last seven, so Hoosier pride is on the line. Both teams are currently 3-3 in the BIG, hoping to escape from mediocrity in the conference. Even though tonight’s game is in Bloomington, there’s not much of a home field advantage with limited crowds due to Covid. The Hoosier teams have not been good from the free throw line or any other spot on the court in recent years, so they need to find a way to score. They can win by scoring 70 points or more, with their only loss at that level to Wisconsin in double overtime. A low scoring game with lots of fouls will spell disaster for the Cream & Crimson. Purdue, on the other hand, has just proven they can win in a low scoring battle, beating favored Michigan State 55-54 on the road. They will jam IU efforts to score inside and force us to take the 3, especially with our best outside shooter on the sidelines with an injury. It will probably be ugly!
Fortunately, I have a Flaviar whiskey shipment due to be delivered today. I will need it to calm my nerves, as I text with friends that will be rooting both for and against me. This is the beauty of the rivalry that can only be appreciated with a victory. IU is favored by 3.5 with an over/under of 130. This supports my “Magic of 70” theory. We have a much better chance of winning if we can score 70 points or more in regulation. The teams appear to be evenly matched but according to oddsmakers IU has a 65.2% chance of winning. Purdue won last year 57-49 and 74-62. The year before it was PU 48-46 and 70-55. These pathetic scoring efforts by the Hoosiers will have to end tonight to stop the bleeding. We need buckets of baskets!