IU managed to stick around most of the night, but never seriously threatened Purdue and the Boilermakers eventually put the game away and won 67-54.
Caveat: for the first time in at least 20 years, I didn't get the chance to watch an IU-Purdue game live (either in person or on TV). Professional commitments made it impossible. I've seen the highlights, but I haven't watched the game at all. So my observations are purely box score based, and I appreciate any additional insight in the comments about how the game looked.
- This wasn't a highly productive offensive game for either team, but IU's offense was particularly ineffective, posting a season worst .79 points per possession. IU shot 35 percent from the field. The turnover and offensive rebounding numbers were decent, but IU shot only 7 free throws (although free throw shooting continues to be a strength--IU was 7-7). I'm sure Purdue's defense was stifling, as usual.
- My hope for the game was that Jeremiah Rivers would be able to stifle E'Twaun Moore, and obviously that didn't happen. Moore had a great game. I don't know how long Rivers guarded him, but I saw JR get toasted in the highlights on one drive to the basket.
- Not much in the way of strong offensive performances. Every IU player who shot the ball with any frequency was well under 50 percent.
- What happened with Jordan Hulls and Kelsey Barlow? Sounds like some minor altercation about who was going to give the ball to the official or something? When asked about it, Barlow said: "Some people just aren't mentally tough and can't take it," Barlow said. "I just told him to give me the ball so I could give it to the ref and he thought he was hard. I was like, I've never met a little kid that thought he was that hard, but I'm not going to say anything to him, so whatever." We will see how tough Kelsey is when he actually has to shoulder some of the load instead of talking trash while Purdue's good players do the dirty work.
Well, I suppose the game went about as most IU fans expected. As I outlined yesterday, Mackey has been a tough out for even the best IU teams against weak Purdue teams. The 1981 NCAA champions and the 1992 Final Four team both lost at Mackey to Purdue teams that didn't make it to the NCAA Tournament. It's a tough place for everyone, but it has been particularly so for IU even when the program has been at its strongest. Unfortunately, the missed opportunities against Iowa and Michigan State have crippled IU's postseason hopes. Without having seen it, at least on paper it seems that the team wasn't intimidated by what always is an ugly atmosphere and didn't allow the game to get out of hand. I'll never accept a moral victory against Purdue, but this outcome probably isn't much different than what an NCAA-bound IU team would have faced up there. On to Michigan.