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!
It’s a New Year with hopes of an I.U. Outback Bowl victory. Last year, they fell short against Tennessee with a late game letdown. With last night’s Ohio State Sugar Bowl domination of Clemson, this Hoosier team is even stronger than I thought. We came so close against the Buckeyes, plus Northwestern throttled Auburn, so the BIG 10 has proven to be a very formidable league, especially against the highly touted SEC. Indiana can add to the 3-0 conference bowl record today with a victory over Old Miss in Tampa. This would set the stage for more respect when next year’s postseason slate is determined.
The Hoosiers should have played in the top tier Citrus Bowl instead of Northwestern but fell in the final rankings to #11 despite a convincing win over Wisconsin, the other BIG bowl representative. Clearly politics played a role, just as Notre Dame was awarded a playoff spot despite the Clemson blow-out loss. Coach Tom Allen has vaulted the I.U. program into the upper echelon of a powerful conference. They can prove their worth today! My other team, #25 Oregon, plays #10 Iowa State later today in the Fiesta Bowl.
Meanwhile, basketball continues to struggle, but did manage to pull-off an OT win over Penn State. Another W against Maryland next week and they can even their BIG record after an 0-2 start. Basketball used to be the big sport on campus in Bloomington, but surprisingly football has proven to be more successful in recent years. In the Bob Knight era it was “The Magic of 60.” If the Hoosiers got to 60 before their opponent victory was eminent. However, with the addition of the 3-point shot, 70 is now coach Archie Miller’s defining number. With his leadership, in conference play (including the B1G tourney) the Hoosiers are 18-7 when scoring 70 or more points and 10-30 when scoring below 70 points. 70 is the new 60 going forward.
Purdue basketball is off to a 7-4 start, but 2-2 in the conference. They play #15 Illinois this afternoon, after losing to #14 Rutgers. It would be nice to see a ranked Purdue or Indiana program. Unfortunately, both rivals will be in the lower half of the BIG since the league is loaded with 7 nationally ranked teams. Here on the West coast, the undefeated Zags are still the #1 team in the country while the Oregon Ducks (6-1) stand at #21.
On the baseball front, the Cubs continue to clean house with the trade of Yu Darvish and Victor Caratini to the Padres. Yu has been the pitching leader for the last two years, with Cy Young consideration. There’s also talk of dealing my favorite and IU alum, Kyle Schwarber. Rizzo and Bryant will soon become free agents, so the World Series Champions of 2016 are seeing their winning foundation deteriorate. Today, however, my concern is football the Indiana Hoosiers in the Outback Bowl.
I experienced a little mild dizziness on this morning’s run, #4,369 of The Streak. Hopefully, it’s nothing to be concerned about, most likely dehydration. I’m always worried that I’ll have another episode like two years ago (See Post #808) where I ended up in the Emergency Room after nearly passing out. Nothing serious was found in the tests that they did, but I do have a small aneurysm that I need to continue to monitor. It’s shown little change in many years but makes me feel vulnerable. Like everyone else, I’m just grateful to have survived 2020, with only 17 days remaining.
Every little ache and pain gets magnified in these viral times, with thoughts of Covid symptoms. I couldn’t possibly count the number of times I’ve had a scratchy throat, cough, or upset stomach this year that was surely the onset of the worst. What professed pessimist like myself isn’t also a hypochondriac? I can’t help but think of Fred Sanford’s famous line while grabbing his chest, “It’s the BIG one!!!” Around Portland where I now live it also refers to the inevitable earthquake. When I move to Florida in the spring, it will be the next hurricane. Fortunately, having grown up in the Midwest, I’ve survived many tornado threats. There’s always something to fret. “You hear that, Elizabeth? I’m coming to join ya, honey!”
“Big Ones” can also refer to football games. I was so disappointed when the Old Oaken Bucket game was canceled last weekend. It was a chance for the #8 Indiana Hoosiers to really shine against their biggest rival, the Purdue Boilermakers. Well. thanks to the divine intervention of the BIG10, the two were pitted against each other again this week. The game, The Big One for The Bucket, is traditionally held around Thanksgiving, but was delayed along with the season due to Covid. The virus reared its ugly head again in the cancellation, but we’ve been given a third chance for it to happen. Purdue fans probably thought they had dodged a bullet, but like a cartoon that sees it magically change direction, here it comes again! The Big One is back!
There is no Bucket or Border War to win today. Both rivalries have succumb to Covid. The teams were already three weeks behind schedule as both conference seasons were delayed and shortened by the dreaded virus. Dead. Games today will decide who plays who next, although it has already been determined that #4 Ohio State will play #14 Northwestern for the BIG10 title, #1 Alabama will face #6 Florida for the SEC crown, and #2 Notre Dame will meet #3 Clemson in a rematch for ACC bragging rights. I’m waiting to see what BIG10 team #8 Indiana plays next Saturday and whether the Oregon Ducks will get to compete for PAC12 honors or if the Huskies will automatically get the nod?
1942 was the first Old Oaken Bucket game where Indiana or Purdue entered the contest with a national rating. That year the #18 Hoosiers won 20-0. The following year #3 Purdue got revenge 7-0. In 1945, it was #4 I.U. prevailing 26-0. It wasn’t until 1960 that ratings once again became a bucket factor as #13 Purdue won in West Lafayette 35-6. 1967 went to #4 Indiana, while the 1968 #12 Boilers took home the bucket, and added another P-link in 1969 as the #17 team in the country. 1978 and 1979 also went to ranked Purdue, and it wasn’t until 1987 when the ratings tide changed as #20 Indiana won 35-14, followed by similar success by the #21 Hoosiers in 1993. After that it was all Purdue with nationally recognized teams in 1997 (#23), 1999 (#19), 2000 (#17), and 2003 (#16). Following this stretch, both programs had been in a serious ratings draught until the 2020 #8 Indiana Hoosiers took the field.
It was the Joe Tiller era from 1996-2008 when the dominant Black & Gold went 10-2 against the bucket deprived Cream & Crimson. Going back a little further, the rivalry’s biggest upset was in 1989 when Bill Mallory coached I.U. was a 15.5 favorite, but underdog Purdue led by Fred Akers pulled off a 15-14 victory. It was their only Big Ten win that year and proof that anything can happen in a rivalry game. With the death of the bucket this year, we’ll never know if lightening could have possibly struck twice?
Santa started making deliveries this week, getting a head start on Christmas morning. The electric scooter arrived in Florida for my granddaughter. A Gamemaker2 program showed up on my grandson’s computer, and a kids table & chairs set is on the way for my youngest granddaughter. However, I did not get any of my holiday wishes granted yesterday. Santa, dressed in cream & crimson, did not deliver a basketball win at Florida State, a Bucket Game this year, or a top spot in the BIG10 Football Championship. The Buckeye Santa, also dressed in red & white, swayed conference representatives to allow his team to play for the title against Northwestern. Honestly, they deserve it after their 42-35 victory over Indiana and an undefeated record.
It was not a good day for I.U. or P.U. athletics as Covid once again has taken its toll. The Old Oaken Bucket rivalry (See Post #867) has existed since 1891 but games in 1895, 1896, 1903, 1906, 1907, 1918, 1919, and now 2020 did not happen due to various circumstances. The game this Saturday would have been the 100th consecutive in the series but has been officially cancelled. Overall, Purdue leads 74-42-6, but the #8 Hoosiers had hoped to narrow that wide gap as a heavy favorite. Thanks to Covid, The Boilermakers may have dodged a bullet! Up next for I.U. will probably be Iowa if Champions Week goes as planned. As we all know, nothing is certain in these viral times!
Santa is still coming to town, although there will be only one limited family get-together. My wife’s daughter and husband will be over for a dinner gift exchange next week, but all other family meetings will be limited to phone or Zoom. Kauai was cancelled and any travel into San Francisco for the other daughter is delayed. We will get together with my son’s family in mid-January with a trip to Florida and The Keys. We’re still waiting to see what happens with any home construction delays and the cruises we have scheduled for 2021. Santa is putting us in a new Florida home this year.