I, much like many of you, did not think Indiana was going to win tonight’s basketball game. It’d be totally sweet! Bragging rights, a season sweep from both the men’s and women’s programs and an excuse to become the most annoying human alive.
But again, I didn’t think that would happen, and I was fine with that. I mean, beating one of Matt Painter’s best teams just once, even at home, would’ve been more than enough to make me happy with the state of the rivalry.
I went through three years of life as an Indiana undergrad watching Archie Miller basketball which, in case you need a reminder, featured approximately zero wins over Purdue. It took Mike Woodson just two (2) years to go 3-1 against the Boilermakers.
Tonight had to be one of his best coaching outings with the Hoosiers too.
First, Indiana was all but without Trayce Jackson-Davis on the offensive end in the first half. The Big Ten Player of the Year candidate, now that Purdue fans lack the ground to stand and get mad about me saying that, was held scoreless through the first 20 minutes.
Second, Woodson was rapidly running out of dudes to have stand next to Zach Edey in the post as seemingly every forward on the roster was one call away from fouling out of the game late.
So Jalen Hood-Schifino, of course, stepped up.
Hood-Schifino seemed all but unstoppable, finding every open man and taking the shots himself if he couldn’t. For two games now Purdue has absolutely lacked an answer for his midrange game.
Zach Edey is a fantastic basketball player and will in all likelihood be the National Player of the Year. But there was nothing he could do as Hood-Schifino poured 35 points on the Boilermakers, just one point shy of the Indiana freshman scoring record.
He outscored Purdue’s freshman backcourt duo, Braden Smith and Fletcher Loyer, by himself.
The story of Indiana’s rise through the Big Ten after a rough start was largely on the back of Jackson-Davis, who played himself into National Player of the Year conversations with each successive spectacular outing.
Tonight belongs to Indiana, as a team, but the Hoosiers just don’t do this without Hood-Schifino stepping up like that. That’s Woodson’s recruiting and coaching ability showing up, plain to see, in year two.
Credit to Purdue, Mackey is an incredibly tough place to play. Most Big Ten coaches would agree with that statement, and the hatred is especially potent for Indiana.
But it wasn’t enough.
Now that I’ve written enough about the game, let’s be That Guy.
Indiana has a larger alumni base both nationally and throughout the state.
Indiana went 4-0 against Purdue in basketball this year.
Bloomington is far better than West Lafayette, it’s not even a contest.
Indiana is better than Purdue.
It’s the Hoosier State. It always has been and always will be.