Monday, March 4, 2013

Basketball Recap: Purdue 69 - Wisconsin 56 (yes, you read that right!)

Where do I begin? It seems that up is down and black is white.  In a game that I basically gave the Boilers 0% chance to win, they not only win but win by double digits?  The final score listed above looks like what you'd expect if the names of the teams were switched.  Heck, I predicted a 68-53 final score, I just had the order wrong.

Seriously, Purdue won?  Let me watch the game again (thanks!).  Yep, that happened.  The last two games I've had the pleasure of recapping just don't make much sense.  Despite it being Senior Day for five Wisconsin players (three of which are major contributors), a Bo Ryan Badger team lost for the first time on such an occasion. Purdue is now 10-8 against Bo, the only Big Ten team with a winning record.  This was also Painter's third win at the Kohl (not that one) Center.

More on this beast later - Chooch!

To pull this shocking win off, everything seemed to click for the Boilers.  DJ Byrd shot lights out (6 for 9) from three for 22 points, led the team with 8 rebounds, and plain out-hustled a lot of people.  Fellow veteran Terone Johnson also had a great game with 16 points, seven rebounds, and four assists.  The floater seemed to be falling on every shot, and the same could be said for little brother Ronnie.  They each shot about 50%, and Ronnie dished out eight assists and had five rebounds.  His free throw shooting was wretched, but the rest of the team was great.

Three-Byrd made the trip up north

As a whole, the Boilers rebounded well, winning the battle 36-26, and their ten offensive boards were a big reason they fought back from a twelve point deficit with a few minutes left in the first half.  A 21-3 run created a lead that the Badgers couldn't overcome.  A big reason for the rebounding discrepancy though was Wisconsin going ice cold from long range.  The Badgers only shot 6 for 28 (21%), and missed their final 18 attempts. That's quite uncharacteristic for Wisconsin to shoot so poorly, especially since many of those shots weren't terribly contested, but at least Purdue took advantage.

I knew this game would be strange, but I feared painfully dreadful, when I saw Bo Boroski was leading the officiating crew.  Purdue has trouble handling one Bo, but two?  I felt doomed.  Add to that the ear-bleeding that would result from listening to Dan Dakich as the color commentator, and two hours could seen like an eternity.  I especially liked how he made a sexist comment and called someone a gimp in the first thirty seconds of the game, which made it kind of hilarious to see how many stupid things he could say.  Would he make more dumb statements than Wisconsin could make three-pointers?  Today, definitely.

Bo seems to be in a great mood!

Other Dakich favorites included his "all that kinda cr... [crap, don't say "crap!"] - nonsense" save and saying how shocked he would be if Ronnie Johnson missed a third consecutive free throw late in the game.  Of course Ronnie missed it, and then a fourth in a row, so fortunately it shut Dakich up for a split second.  As much as I appreciate what Ronnie brings to the table, I think Dakich is president of his fan club, which is kind of creepy.

Other strange things from the game:
  1. Matt Painter actually smiled, and ESPN was fortunate enough to catch it on camera.  Maybe Erik can grab a screen shot to prove it happened.
  2. This was a game where IU was actually rooting for Purdue, since as I shared in my weekly power rankings, Wisconsin had the best chance of beating the Hoosiers for the conference title.  Since Michigan State also lost today, Indiana will at least share the regular season championship.  That sucks, but it's not a surprise.
  3. Sandi Marcius outplayed AJ Hammons, and it wasn't even close.  Chooch continues his unexpected and enthusiastic run, as he made all his shots to tally ten points, grabbed three offensive rebounds, nab three steals, and score 1,000 hustle points.  There were no silly mistakes, and conversely Hammons looked disinterested and unmotivated, and Painter kept him on the bench for the critical run.  Hammons was a black hole, shooting whenever he had the opportunity but only going 3 for 11, he didn't get a single rebounds, and twice had one stolen away from a weaker players who wanted it more.  He set lazy screens and even got his shot blocked twice on the same series. Chooch should start the remainder of the season, and I sure hope he's back for his fifth year they way he's playing now.  Maybe that will help motivate Hammons (who I'll give "team player" credit for very happily congratulating Sandi after the game).
  4. Painter virtually benched Anthony Johnson, giving him only four minutes.  He'd been averaging about 19 minutes per game the last four games.  I'm happy with that decision and hope it continues.
  5. The team played inspired basketball, but it's so maddening that they can't do so consistently. When down 12 points late in the first half, this team has given up in previous games, but for some reason they didn't quit today. Maybe it was a fluke, but it makes me excited for the future.

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