We Are, Once Again, #1

For the third season in a row, and the third season in program history, Purdue is the #1 ranked men’s college basketball team in the country.  Following their victories over #11 Gonzaga, # 7 Tennessee, and #4 Marquette while winning the Maui Invitational last week, the team moved up from #2 to take the top spot, becoming the first Big Ten program to do so in three consecutive seasons.

Their next big test will come in three weeks, when they battle Arizona, the current #2 ranked team, on a neutral court in the Indy Classic.  Hopefully they will retain their #1 ranking when I head to Mackey on December 21st to see them battle Jacksonville.

College Basketball Tipoff

The men’s Purdue Boilermakers kicked off the 2023-2024 season last night, the 126th in school history, so let’s take a look at the results of the now 20 men’s college basketball games I have attended in my lifetime. You’d think it would be more, since I was a big fan and we had a great team while I was in school, but for some reason I only made it to two games while enrolled in college. The other 18 have been post-graduation, with the latest three coming last season thanks to a trip to Bloomington and the Big Ten Tournament being at the United Center.  Anyway, without further ado, here are the standings for those 20 games.

All-Time Team Records – Men

Team Won Loss Winning Pctg
Virginia Commonwealth Rams 1 0 1.000
North Texas Mean Green 1 0 1.000
Indiana Hoosiers 1 0 1.000
Butler Bulldogs 1 0 1.000
Purdue Boilermakers 12 7 0.631578947368421
Northwestern Wildcats 2 3 0.400
Illinois Fighting Illini 2 3 0.400
Vermont Catamounts 0 1 0.000
Penn State Nittany Lions 0 1 0.000
Ohio State Buckeyes 0 1 0.000
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders 0 1 0.000
Long Beach State 49ers 0 1 0.000
Iowa State Cyclones 0 1 0.000
Houston Cougars 0 1 0.000

The Big 18

Not even two months since the Big Ten announced their “Flex Protect Plus” model, which incorporated UCLA and USC into the football schedule for 2024 and beyond, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.  The conference grew again yesterday when Oregon and Washington, formerly of the PAC-12, would join the conference starting with the fall 2024 semester.  The move further extends the reach of the Big Ten on the West Coast.
On the field, the move gives the Big Ten additional content to sell to their media rights providers and an additional footprint in the west to help cut down on the travel requirements for student athletes.  Off the field, the Big Ten Network will get the opportunity to expand into multiple markets in the Pacific Northwest.  Meanwhile, the PAC-12, who also lost Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah to the Big 12 this week, looks to be on the verge of collapse, with only four schools remaining as of now for the 2024-2025 school year.

With the 2023 college football season about to start in about a month, the schedule-makers will need to revamp their approach to account for the new schools.  Do they simply add Oregon and Washington into the mix?  Split the 18 schools into three divisions of six teams each?  Two divisions of nine?  I imagine we will find out sooner rather than later while waiting for the next pair of dominos to drop.

Running It Back

Last month, after winning nearly every accolade available this past season, Zach Edey announced that he was entering the NBA draft while maintaining his college eligibility.  Tonight, he announced he was returning to Purdue for his senior year.  The 7’4″ center has very little left to prove in college basketball, at least in the regular season.  I assume avenging March’s loss in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, not to mention dropping both meetings with IU, will fuel his game for the upcoming campaign.

Off To The Pros?

Earlier this week, Zach Edey announced that he was entering the NBA draft while maintaining his college eligibility.  After winning nearly every accolade available this past season, there is little more for him to prove in college basketball (except maybe a decent showing in the Tournament).  The big question is going to be how his game translates to the NBA, where the center position has become less and less prominent over the past decade.

If I had to guess, I’d say Edey winds up back in West Lafayette for another go-around.  My guess is he would be a second round pick, at best, and that he’d end up spending more time in the development league than on an NBA roster.  He can probably make more money through NIL deals back in school.  But, only time will tell.  The NBA draft is June 22.

The Finalest of Fours

Following a tournament filled with upsets, more history was made last weekend when the last two number one seeds fell, leaving the Elite Eight without a single number one seed for the first time ever.  My Final Four predictions are all completely toast, so there’s nothing left for me this weekend.  If anything, wrapping up the tournament will be a detriment to my fan experience, since it means Gene Honda will be in Houston Monday rather than at Guaranteed Rate Field for the home opener.

How Sweet It Is

The Sweet Sixteen kicks off today following an opening weekend with upsets galore, completely wrecking my bracket.  Half of my Final Four was wiped out, including my champion.  Ugh.

This region is a wreck, with only one team remaining in the Sweet Sixteen, and that team I had losing in this round, so this one was a dud.

Things look much better on this side of the bracket, as the only Sweet Sixteen team I had that didn’t make it is IU and, honestly, I’m ok with that.

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2022-2023 Final Standings

Purdue’s season came to an unexpected early end last night, as they became just the second #1 seed in the history of the men’s NCAA Tournament to lose to a #16 seed.  Thanks to last week’s Big Ten Tournament, I made it to three men’s basketball games this season and one women’s game.

2022-2023 Team Records – Men

TeamName Won Loss Winning Pctg
Indiana Hoosiers 1 0 1.000
Purdue Boilermakers 2 1 0.667
Penn State Nittany Lions 0 1 0.000
Ohio State Buckeyes 0 1 0.000

2022-2023 Team Records – Women

TeamName Won Loss Winning Pctg
Indiana Hoosiers 1 0 1.000
Purdue Boilermakers 0 1 0.000

It’s Time To Go Dancing

The nation’s attention turns to the college hoops scene for the next few weeks as the NCAA tournament kicks off later today.  I’m not in any pools this year, so most of these selections have no ultimate bearing on my life, aside from personal pride.  I do happen to have a hotel room booked for Houston for Final Four weekend just in case, so fingers crossed.  So, without further ado, let’s take a look at this year’s selections.

Alabama enters the tournament under a cloud of scandal, as their star player was recently involved in the murder of a young woman.  Because of that, I have second seed Arizona going to the Final Four.

Fun fact: the first college basketball game I ever attended was Purdue versus Houston at Market Square Arena back in 1993.  Both teams are top seeds in this tournament.  It pains me to have Indiana going as far as I do, but they were a formidable opponent this year, so I see them giving the field a run for their money.  In the end, though, I have Xavier going on to Houston.

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25 Rings

What was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Purdue men’s basketball team, following the loss of Jaden Ivey, Trevion Williams, Eric Hunter, Sasha Stefanovic, and Isaiah Thompson, turned into the program’s 25th Big Ten Conference championship.  Matt Painter and company last won a share of the conference title in 2019 and last won it outright in 2017.

Their 25 titles are the most amongst all Big Ten schools.  Indiana, of course, is second with 22 championships.  After closing out the regular season against Illinois tomorrow in West Lafayette, Purdue comes to Chicago next week as the #1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament at the United Center.  A deep run should guarantee them a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament as they try to reach the Final Four for the first time since 1980.