As BSD put it, now we wait. PSU’s chances were almost lock status at about 5 PM today, but it’s March. Things can happen quickly and that they did. Dayton and Xavier lost, Maryland took it to Wake Forest, and Penn State ran into a Boiler team that looked just a bit angry about the finish to their season.
I’ve just come to accept that we simply don’t have the desire to play defense. Purdue does. You can tell just by how Painter coaches them. That’s why I generally enjoy watching them play. Painter gets them to exert so much energy on the defensive end. They play so physical that they dare the officials to call everything. The officials can’t keep up and Purdue then wears down their opponents. I don’t think DeChellis is a moron or doesn’t know how to coach defense. I just don’t think he can get these kids motivated. How many times have we fell behind this season? When has Battle made big defensive plays or stops? Usually when the game’s on the line (the thefts against Kelly (Iowa) and Joseph (Minnesota) come to mind). I’m not trying to criticize Battle, especially with how many minutes he plays, but we simply have no defensive intensity as a team. Pringle has always been lazy on defense. Cornley’s just too short in the post and too slow on the perimeter. Jones, while much improved, is still a little soft and gets pushed around too easily. Morrissey’s way too slow to man up. Brooks is just a lost cause at this point. David Jackson is probably our best defender, but I certainly wouldn’t call him a lockdown guy or a guy like Kramer that can fire up the rest of the team. We could really use a Titus Ivory.
Purdue came out on fire. They were focused, and Painter had them ready to go. It would’ve been nice if we didn’t make it so easy for them to start. Uncontested jumpers were a common sight in the first 12 minutes of the game. Each shot you could just see Purdue’s confidence soar and at that point, it didn’t matter what PSU did on defense. All-in-all, I bet Purdue put up one of the best efficiencies as a team so far this season, although the numerous missed shots and turnovers at the end might negate that. With 5 minutes to go, Purdue was 30-49 from the floor, 12-20 from 3, and they only had 3 turnovers. Ridiculous performance from the Boilers. Hummel’s 20 points today makes PSU’s home W over Purdue look like a complete fluke. Not good for the committee.
PSU tried a few times to make a run, but Purdue always answered. PSU’s biggest opportunity to make it a game was before halftime. They cut PU’s once 20 point lead down to 14. If they got a stop and a bucket, I would’ve said they would’ve had a shot. Instead, they all collapsed on someone out on the perimeter of all places and let Calasan wide open under the hoop. They didn’t score on the final possession and PU was up 16. Jamelle Cornley didn’t quit, but it was just a lost cause. I thought Purdue would bring their A game, but I didn’t think their A game was at this level. If they play like that, they’ll at the very least make it past next weekend.
So what do we do now? Pray. I really couldn’t believe the Big Ten would really get 8 teams in and it looks like we’re going to the be the odd man out. DeChellis and the administration better be ready to take account for that putrid OOC that EVERYONE knew crippled their dance chances back in July.