BoilerUpload - Purdue-IU: Flipping a Rivalry (2024)


They stormed the court. It's not subtle. Not when you're paying attention, but sometimes time has a funny way of warping things. The past looms so large that the present seems small in comparison, perhaps not even there at all, and the future just a murky horizon without definitive outlines or shapes.

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There they are. The present and the past. The present is an IU fan base storming the court in Assembly Hall. The score was 79-74. It was the second straight victory for IU against Purdue inside its home venue. It was part of 3 of 4 wins for IU against the program that's supposed to be the little brother.

There's a lot of similarities between Assembly Hall and its crowd and Purdue's Mackey Arena. It is two of the best atmospheres in all of college basketball.

But Purdue doesn't storm courts anymore.

It also doesn't have any of those banner hanging up.

The past hangs above both programs.

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"Probably my first one, and I didn't play - which probably helped us win," Matt Painter says, holding court at his media scrum ahead of #2 Purdue's trip down to Bloomington the next day. "No, that wasn't a joke. We were down 18, 17 at half, and we came back and forced it into overtime and we were able to win in overtime. And Coach Knight always didn't guard a guy or two - I do the same thing - his version of a zone, right?"

Painter was asked about his favorite moment in his long career with the Purdue-Indiana rivalry. Matt Painter, of course, has now been on both the player's and coach's side of the rivalry at Purdue. He has a lot of memories of Purdue and Indiana going at it. But he's stuck on his first game, one he didn't participate in.

"But they left a couple of our guys open and a guy off the bench, and probably our fourth and fifth starter, left em open, and they made a couple key shots. And we were able to pull off the win."

Back then, 1989-90, the state of Indiana ran through Bloomington. That was a young, but talented Indiana team as Painter would say. They would run the conference for the next three years. But not that year.

"Getting back to Mackey Arena," Painter would continue his story. "So it's my first experience of that. And we couldn't get off the bus because the students were shaking the bus. Which was a little scary but when you're 19, that's a good moment, right?"

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Matt Painter has been around a while. He grew up an Indiana kid, in the shadows of Bob Knight. He wanted to go to Indiana because he knew what being a Hoosier meant to the sport.

But time, time works its way through everything. It allows for change, gradual, gradient, and one player turns to another player, and one coach turns to another, and thirty some odd years later, the players who are now where Painter was - wearing Purdue jerseys and heading to Bloomington - don't register all that past behind them.

"When you think about it, it's a little different for me," Trey Kaufman-Renn is telling me on Monday. I mean this literally - he's a thinker, a philosophy major. He thinks a lot, but he's not a historian as he'll show. When he was growing up in Sellersburg, In., he wasn't even thinking about Purdue or Indiana. He was a Louisville kid. He could tell you about Kentucky-Louisville, not the Big Ten. But it's more than that. See, Kaufman-Renn has been at Purdue for three years which means he's just on the other side of 20. IU isn't a rival to overcome. That's what Purdue is supposed to do. His team has been #1 every year of his career.

"It's a little different for me because that's all I think of when I think of Purdue," Kaufman-Renn told me. "I only think of them [Purdue] as being top five - almost like a blue blood. Because as long as I've been here and the years before, we've always been a good team."

The truth is the rivalry has come full circle. IU has the banners, but Purdue has the present. The expectations are with Purdue. That's why IU fans stormed last year, and the year before that, and if it pulls off the upset this year, they'll storm again.

A few decades ago, Painter couldn't get off the bus because of expectations. Now he's driving the bus, and in some ways, still stuck inside of it because of the expectations. Ones that he's created with his players.

The present is Purdue's, on Tuesday, it'll try to get one step closer to claiming its wanted future.

BoilerUpload  -  Purdue-IU: Flipping a Rivalry (2024)
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