Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Purdue Basketball: Enormous Expectations

Eric Gordon. Really?

Numerous times last season I put on my best face and tried to control my paralinguistics enough to convey sincerity and approached an Indiana fan. I had one question for them. How much will it take?

Indiana had arguably the best guard in the nation in Eric Gordon, and they only had him for one season. There was no doubt that Gordon's time in Bloomington was fleeting, and the Hoosier faithful would only get one chance at...whatever it was they wanted? So I asked, "How much will it take to make you happy?"

Was it a national championship? a deep tournament run? a Big Ten title? What result could leave them satisfied after entering a season with limitless potential.
Interestingly enough, not too many of them had an answer. And all told you so's aside, I don't think the aftermath could have been much worse.

Now's time to pose the question to the Boilermaker faithful: What will it take to leave us fulfilled this basketball season that kicks off Friday with Mackey Madness?

To say that Purdue fans are pumped about the upcoming season would be quite the cliched understatement. Taken within the context of the abysmal football endeavors to date, the basketball horizon is mouth-wateringly exciting. Take a look at these tangibles
  • Multiple nationally televised games
  • Non-conference matchup with Davidson (possibly twice)
  • A berth in the preseason NIT
  • Hosting Duke in the Big Ten - ACC Challenge
  • The lone Indiana game is at Mackey
  • Games against five different Indiana schools
  • A season ending game at potential Big Ten powerhouse Michigan St.
Then we can enter the realm of the borderline ridiculous
  • In a May 2008 visit to Las Vegas, the Caesars sports book had Purdue at an 8/1 opening to win the national title, second to North Carolina's 4/1. I've seen it higher at 20/1
  • The highly touted arrival of Lewis Jackson
  • The immeasurable pressure of surpassing last year's over-achieving squad.
All of this reminds me of an anecdote for Cubs fans: the optimist sees the glass half full, the pessimist half empty. The Cub fan is just waiting for the glass to tip over.

While I don't think the pessimism in West Lafayette is anywhere near that level of futility, it does remind us once again - as if Boiler fans needed to be reminded - be cautious.

What do we want? My enormous expectations tell me I'll take a win over Florida Southern for now.

1 comment:

Daniel Camden said...

Its an exciting time to be a Purdue basketball fan. This team has the ability to be very good, but there are still some issues that may stop it from becoming "elite" and have a Final Four run in them. Depth issues along the front line are the most apparent.

This will be a fun year, and hopefully another step in the process. The '09 recruiting class will add good depth inside and will allow the '09-'10 season to be the one where big things may happen. And the Final Four also happens to be in Indianapolis that year.

But, I'm definitely going to enjoy this season. Your list of things to be excited about did exactly that. I can't wait!