Boilermakers made strides in the rebounding department in a literal sense in
2012-13, the 2013-14 season will be about figuratively rebounding from a
sub-.500 campaign that left a bad taste in the mouths of players and staff
There seems to be some debate about Purdue's choice to continue playing basketball after finishing the season 15-17. I guess my position is fairly simple: if the administration backs the action and the coaches and players want to play, why not? The thought that the program would be better off by not playing just isn't logical.
Purdue and Indiana have played 198 times in the rivalry. I've been fortunate to have been part of 70 of those games and Indiana holds the advantage with 37 wins over that period dating back to the 1978 season.
Here we are in early January, and the Boilermakers are one game under .500 on the season. It will be a fight to finish above that mark this year, to be honest. There's no doubt in my mind that this team has improved. It's just too bad it wasn't able to win some of those close non-conference games, as those losses may negate a postseason opportunity.
The Big Ten begins tonight for the Boilermakers, and the first three games should be telling. Illinois, Michigan State and Ohio State are a combined 34-6. The Illini come to Mackey Arena tonight as a 13-1 team, with its only loss coming to a ranked Missouri team.
I'm not real sure what the exact significance of the Notre Dame game is, but it appears to be important for a number of reasons. The two schools haven't met in a regular-season game in nearly 50 years, so that alone makes it historic in my viewpoint. The reasons the two programs haven't played each other have been discussed over the years, and none of them make much sense. If the two schools can meet every year in football or other sports, why not basketball?
It is very rare to witness what happened in Clemson, S.C., on Wednesday night. Competitive teams rarely trail by 20 points at half on their home floors. To be honest, it was probably a perfect storm. The Boilermakers were focused, Clemson not so much. Still, in my career, I haven't seen that happen more than a handful of times.
I have to admit, I didn't expect this type of start to the season. On the other hand, I don't know what I expected. It's just so rare to lose three of four at the beginning of the year, including a loss at home.