Travis Miller of hammerandrails.com joins me to talk Purdue football. Taking a look back at the spring game and how Coach Hazell is settling in. We also discuss the big news out of the Big Ten which are the football divisions along with the move to a nine game conference schedule. As always you can follow me on Twitter @thadvandeventer.
Tag Archive for Purdue
Indiana vs. Purdue Preview
In preparation for the IU-Purdue showdown on Wednesday, I spoke with Greg Rakestraw of HTSN and 1070thefan.com. Greg and I look at how both teams are playing now and the keys to getting a win Wednesday at Mackey Arena. Follow me on Twitter @thadvandeventer and @IndySportsCrew. Follow Greg @gregrakestraw.
We’re back!!! After a short time off due to the holidays and the birth of Graham, the Coach and I are back in the Man Room talking basketball. We had a ton of college basketball action to catch up on. Indiana and Butler are both in the top 10 plus other teams playing well. Listen and get ready for the weekly podcasts once again. Follow us on Twitter @thadvandeventer, @C_K_42, and @IndySportsCrew.
Statewide Round Ball Round Up
Just as we did last year at the start of each month we will run through the Division I college basketball programs in the state to get you caught up on where every program is. This month I waited an extra week as this completes the first full month of games. So lets get started.
The Hoosiers are ranked #1 in the nation and through their first nine games have shown no reason why they shouldn’t be. IU has won all nine games this year by an average of 31.7 ppg. The schedule has not been loaded with top notch competition but in the three games so far against BCS conference teams Indiana has handled all of them with double-digit victories.
Indiana has showcased numerous offensive weapons as they have five players averaging double figures. The Hoosiers lead the country in scoring with 89.1 points per game. Cody Zeller, the preseason National Player of the Year, leads the team in both scoring and rebounding at 15.4 ppg and 8.9 rpg. IU has one more game against a solid opponent left before entering conference play as they will take on Butler next Saturday in the Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Notre Dame is the only other ranked team in the state coming in at #22 right now. They have rolled through the first month of the season with a record of 8-1. Their signature win thus far is a home victory over then #8 Kentucky 64-50. The Irish dominated that contest and showed that Coach Brey’s squad has the tools to compete with top competition. The question that still exist for them however is if they are just a home team or if they are able to play the same way on the road.
ND is lead this year by the same guy that lead them last year- Jack Cooley. Cooley is averaging a double-double with 14.2 points and 11.3 rebounds per game. They have also shown a balanced offense having three other players scoring in double figures (Jerian Grant, Eric Atkins, and Michigan State transfer Garrick Sherman). For Coach Brey however this may finally be the team that can some noise in March. The Irish’s next game is against Purdue in the Crossroads Classic.
Butler has been a little under the radar to this point even though they are 7-2 with several good wins. Butler showed what they are capable of at the Maui Invitational. The Bulldogs beat Marquette on a last second Rotnei Clarke trey and pounded North Carolina on their way to the title game. There they lost to still undefeated Illinois.
The improvement this year has come from the additions of Clarke and freshman Kellen Dunham who give the Bulldogs the outside shooting they missed last year. Clarke (17.3 ppg) and Dunham (11.0 ppg) have allowed the offense better spacing opening the post and driving lanes for Andrew Smith, Khyle Marshall, and Roosevelt Jones. Butler has played a tough schedule so far to get prepared for their new conference the Atlantic 10. The Dawgs will get their biggest test next Saturday against #1 Indiana. This will be a good game for both teams as it will be an offense versus defense battle. Butler’s defense has been very good and very physical while as we talked about before IU leads the nation in scoring.
Matt Painter has a young team this season and they have started off slow. The Boilers are just 4-5 and coming off a very disappointing loss at Eastern Michigan. They lost that game 47-44 shooting a dismal 29.8% from the field. Purdue has been very up and down as you may expect from a young team. They have looked good in a few games (Clemson and UNC-Wilmington) while really struggling in others (Bucknell, Oregon St., and Eastern Michigan).
The biggest bright spot for Purdue is their work on the boards. They have out rebounded every opponent this year and rank eighth nationally with 44.2 rebounds per game. Terone Johnson and A.J. Hammons have been their most consistent scorers. Johnson is only Boiler averaging double figures at 13 a game. Hammons as a freshman is becoming a reliable post presence. He is putting in 9.3 points a game and six rebounds. Purdue only has three games remaining before the conference schedule hits so they have limited time to get it straightened out before going against the top league in the country.
The Sycamores are in a similar situation as Purdue in that they have a young squad. Coach Greg Lansing is relying heavily on Jake Odum to steer his ship. Just as the Boilers, they have had their ups and downs early on. After dropping their opener at UCLA, the Trees won four straight games. They have dropped their last two however which were a tough overtime home loss to #25 New Mexico and yesterday on the road at Morehead State.
Sitting at 4-3 right now the Sycamores are starting to gear up for Missouri Valley Conference play. ”The Mayor” Jake Odum leads the team in scoring 15.1, assists 4.4, and steals 1.6. They will rely on him all season to put them in positions to win. Gonzaga transfer Manny Arop has been a nice addition as well even as he is learning to fit in. Arop is putting in 10.9 points and pulling down 6.4 rebounds a game. Moving forward in the MVC they will also need freshman Khristian Smith (from Pike High School in Indianapolis) to continue to improve as he is starting to score more consistently at 9.4 ppg.
The Jaguars have had a rough start to the season. Not only in the win-loss column but also on the health front. The Jags have started off 3-8, but have not been able to put consistent line ups on the court. Yesterday in their game at Western Kentucky, IUPUI made the trip with only eight scholarship players able to play.
The largest bright spot and possibly surprise has been Mitchell Patton. Patton is second on the team scoring 14.6 points and rebounding 5.7. He is struggling with a lower leg injury right now, but the improvement he has made from his freshman year to now has been impressive. Purdue transfer John Hart leads the team in scoring at 14.9 ppg. For the Jags right now the biggest thing is getting healthy. It is going to be tough but in a one bid league they need to focus on getting back on track and peaking at the right time for the conference tournament.
Billy Taylor’s team is off to a 4-4 start, but the Cardinals are still trying to find their offensive rhythm. They are only scoring 62.4 points per game. Finding buckets consistently has been a major issue for the Cards. Majok Majok has been a big contributor so far. He is averaging a double-double at this point with 13.1 points and 10.9 rebounds. The Cards are going to have to work inside out a little more to open opportunities for Jesse Berry and Jauwan Scaife. They have four games remaining before MAC play begins with a major test coming against Purdue on December 18. The Cards dropped their other big match ups this year against IU and Butler. A win against Purdue to boost their momentum into the conference.
The Purple Aces have been playing some good basketball even with an injury to star Colt Ryan. The Aces are 5-4 but have lost tough road games to Notre Dame and Colorado State. They also dropped a home contest to very good and underrated Murray State. Once completely healthy the Aces should be a player in the MVC this year.
Stud freshman D.J. Balentine is leading the team in scoring (12.1 ppg). Balentine was an Indiana All-Star last year and after a slow start has really taken off. With Colt Ryan (second on the team with 11.6 ppg) back, UE looks to get back on track. We will learn a lot about where they are at the final week of December as they will play at Butler the 22nd and at #16 Creighton the 29th.
The Crusaders are off to a solid start at 6-3. Bryce Drew has his team playing well even in their three losses. Losing at two NCAA tournament teams from last season in Saint Louis and New Mexico. Drew always lays out a non-conference schedule that is challenging for his team and gets them ready for the Horizon League.
Valpo returned their top two scorers from last year in Ryan Broekhoff and Kevin Van Wijk. So far this season they have not disappointed. Broekhoff is averaging 17.4 ppg and 7.3 rpg and will be a candidate for Horizon League Player of the Year. Van Wijk is a big key for the Crusaders. If he can stay out of foul trouble, Valpo has a solid team and will be able to win a lot of ball games. The Crusaders should be challenging at the top of a very competitive Horizon League.
The podcast is a little late this week and for that we apologize, but we have a lot of stuff to talk about. The Colts have the playoffs in their sights after a crazy comeback win at Detroit. Indy hosts Tennessee tomorrow. We also talk about the new Purdue football coach Darrell Hazell and the first quarter of the Pacers season.
Who? What? When? Where?
College Football Recap Week 13 (or Notre Dame Edition)
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has taken the Fighting Irish to the National Championship game. In just his third year at the school, Kelly has turned the program around and changed the fortunes of the most recognizable college football institution in the country. The Irish were not expected to be in this situation at the season’s outset, but coach Kelly remade this team. The Irish became a physical team relying on the run game and defense. This was not Kelly’s M.O. coming to Notre Dame. He was known as an offensive guy who utilized the spread offense to out score his opponents. This season however he was smart enough to play to his team’s strengths and now they have earned the opportunity of playing for ND’s first national championship since 1988.
The Notre Dame defense has been one of the most surprising things in all of college football this season. The Irish defense has finished their regular season second nationally in points against average (10.3 ppg). ND has played this season in an old fashioned style depending heavily on the defense. Manti Te’o and the boys did not disappoint. The most points they allowed in a game was a 26 point effort by Pittsburgh in triple overtime. The play by the defense was without a doubt keyed by their leader Te’o. Te’o leads the team with 103 tackles and seven interceptions. He also has 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and two fumbles recovered. Without a doubt Te’o will be in New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony and his defense will be showcased in the title game.
Notre Dame coaches have had a great history of championship third seasons under the golden dome. Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian, Dan Devine, and Lou Holtz all won national titles in their third season guiding the Irish. Brian Kelly looks to join the pantheon of legendary ND coaches this year. Kelly has the Irish on the precipice of hoisting that crystal football. They are the only undefeated team in the FBS ranks and are awaiting to find out who their final opponent will be. Kelly has turned Notre Dame back into the winning program many have hoped for. They have the chance now to put his name down with the rest of the legends in South Bend including Mr. Rockne himself.
Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida is the location the Irish will take the field against the SEC Champion with the national championship on the line. Notre Dame has played in some big games but without a doubt this will be the biggest contest since 1993. Notre Dame will look to do what they did following the 1989 Fiesta Bowl and that is rush the field to celebrate an undefeated season and national championship.
Other Notes from the Final Week
The Ball State Cardinals won their sixth straight game to finish the season 9-3. BSU took down Miami (OH) on Friday 31-24. Pete Lembo has completely turned this program around and back to where it was a few years ago under coach Brady Hoke. Lembo’s Cardinals finished second in the MAC West and third overall in the conference. Now Ball St. will wait to see what bowl game they will get invited to and who their opponent will be.
Purdue beat Indiana for the second straight season. With their third straight victory, the Boilers became bowl eligible. They finish the regular season 6-6. Although Purdue beat IU again and will be going bowling, that was not enough for coach Danny Hope to stay on board. Purdue Athletic Director Morgan Burke announced this afternoon that coach Hope will not be returning and will not coach the bowl game.
The Marian University Knights have advanced to their second consecutive NAIA Football Championship Series semifinal. Marian beat fellow in-state NAIA power St. Francis 45-34. The Knights lost last season in the semifinal round to St. Xavier. Next Saturday Marian will travel to #2 rated Missouri Valley College with a trip to Rome, GA and the NAIA title game on the line.
Old Oaken Bucket Game
Anytime Indiana and Purdue get together it is a big deal. Doesn’t matter what sport or what the team’s records are this game means a lot. Saturday will mark the 115th time IU and PU have met on the gridiron. This game has several story lines for both squads just as last year did.
Purdue will be in the same situation they were last season- needing a win to become bowl eligible. The Boilers are 5-6 overall, but just 2-5 in the conference. There are a few differences in the scenario however. No matter what the outcome of the bucket game is and possible bowl game Danny Hope will not be returning to West Lafayette. After several mediocre seasons, dropping attendance, and not living up to expectations this season there is a swelling movement for Athletic Director Morgan Burke to find a replacement for Coach Hope.
The other difference is the failure to keep the program progressing upward. This season started with a lot of promise for the Boilermakers. They had a lot of experienced players back from their bowl bound team last year. Their defense has three guys that should be on NFL rosters next season- Ricardo Allen, Kawaan Short, and Bruce Gaston. The quarterback position had four guys available who all had started games. However this season through eleven games has been a disappointment. In a division that was up for grabs, Purdue needs a win to avoid finishing next to last.
Indiana comes into this game unable to reach a bowl game, but that does not mean this season has been a down year. The Hoosiers at 4-7, 2-5 have shown a lot of improvement in coach Kevin Wilson’s second year. No they are not yet to where Coach Wilson, the university, or the fan base wants the program to be, but four wins is a much better mark than their 1-11 posting last season. IU did win two Big Ten games in the same season for the first time since 2007. The Hoosiers were also very competitive in several conference games this season and let two non-conference games get away from them.
This game still holds a lot for Indiana. Indiana has a chance to win the Bucket for the second time in three years and three out of six. They can keep Purdue from going to their second straight bowl game. More importantly than that for the bigger picture another IU win shows the continued progress under Coach Wilson and can help keep the recruiting momentum going. The Hoosiers are in the mix with several highly touted recruits that could be big difference makers for the program. The key to those recruits are that most of them are in-state prospects. That advantage could be a big factor in a turnaround.
Saturday will hold a lot of importance in the future of both programs. These teams seem to be headed in different directions, but this game can sway the momentum. Purdue is looking for their third straight win and possibly four if they can get to a bowl game. Indiana is trying to get to three conference wins for the first time in five years. On Saturday, things will be sorted out on the field but the outcome will be a factor for the future.
After a short time off, the Coach and I are back in the Man Room with tons of stuff to talk about. October is an exciting sports month with football, baseball, and basketball all at the forefront. This week we talk Colts, college football, college basketball, and even some World Series chatter. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @thadvandeventer, @C_K_42, and @IndySportsCrew. And subscribe to all Indy Sports Crew podcasts on iTunes.
Who? What? When? Where?
College Football Recap Week Eight
The Notre Dame offensive line showed their strength again yesterday. As is the case most of the time, the line does not get as much recognition as they probably should. We cannot overlook the play though of Braxston Cave, Mike Golic Jr., Chris Watt, Zach Martin, and Nick Martin. The Irish line has become one of the strengths of this team. The identity of this team has been a throwback of running the football and great defense. The offensive line proved its worth yesterday by opening holes that lead to 270 rushing yards and a Notre Dame win over BYU 17-14. That may not seem overly impressive on the surface, but when you look closer to see that the Cougars had a rushing defense rated in the top five nationally in rushing yards given up and rushing average this Irish line had a great day yesterday.
The Indiana State Sycamores won their fourth consecutive game yesterday beating Western Illinois 23-7. There are a few reasons why this win sticks out. The Trees have won three games during this streak on the road, they have taken down two of their biggest competitors in the conference race (North Dakota State and Southern Illinois), and most importantly all four victories came in conference games. ISU now sits atop the Missouri Valley Conference standings at 4-1. With three games remaining, Indiana State has the opportunity to come away with a conference championship and make it to the FCS playoffs. Both of these ideas would have been dreams a few years ago, but with coach Trent Miles at the helm this program has turned the corner. Keep your eye on the Sycamores and especially RB Shakir Bell as they push to reach their goals.
Purdue was leading at Ohio State and looking for their third consecutive win against the Buckeyes until just :03 remaining in the 4th quarter. That was when backup OSU quarterback Kenny Guiton threw a 2 yard touchdown pass to Chris Fields to cut the Boiler lead to 29-27. The Buckeyes then converted the two-point conversion on another Guiton connection this time to TE Jeff Heuerman which sent this game to overtime. Ohio State scored on their first possession of the extra session and followed that up by stopping Purdue on four straight pass attempts to escape with the victory. This is a tough loss for Purdue for a few reasons. It is their third straight loss which puts them at 0-3 in the conference. It is also their fourth loss already this season which means they will now have to win at least three of their final five games just to become bowl eligible.
I know that this post is designed to be a recap, but I can’t help myself here in looking ahead to next week’s match up of Notre Dame vs. Oklahoma at Memorial Stadium in Norman, OK. The Fighting Irish and Sooners worked out a home-and-home series which in this age of scheduling was great news to see. This season ND has started 7-0 for the first time since 2002 and is very much in the national title hunt. Oklahoma is 5-1 and cannot afford another loss if they want to have any chance of sliding back into the championship picture. This game is also intriguing because it is the classic match up of offense versus defense. Oklahoma’s offense is fifth in the country averaging 44.7 points per game including 115 points combined in their last two games both wins. Notre Dame has hung their hat on defense so far this season and rank second nationally in giving up only 9.4 points per game. Prime time Saturday night will be a huge game on the national stage for both teams. Oklahoma trying to prove that they can win a big game and deserve to be one of the top programs in the country. Notre Dame is trying to ride this recent wave of success and continue on with what they believe has the chance to be a magical season.