Welser Wonders: Will Purdue's Run End?

    
February 14th, 2008
What makes college sports so great is the fans. And who enjoys dressing up like an idiot more than college students? Or was that just me during my college days? My hat goes off to the little fan club of Stanley Pringle of Penn State. The guys wear full body size boxes of Pringles. Not only does it make me want to eat Pringles, but it’s just plain fun. Maybe I just don’t look in the crowd enough to notice or I’m too quick to flip to a different game when they show the crowd shots, but why don’t more people do this type of thing? There are tons of great names out there, although maybe none which lend themselves to such brilliance as the Pringles, but if Pringle can do it, so can the two Mayo’s in the NCAA. However, that has little to do with what “Welser Wonders…”

 

…when Eddie Sutton will get win number 801?

I would say ‘if’ Eddie Sutton is going to get win number 801, but ‘if’ doesn’t start with a ‘w’ so it doesn’t quite work with this arrangement. It was largely believed that once Coach Sutton got number 800, his temporary team of Dons would relax a bit and start reeling off a few victories. But that didn’t happen.

 

There are only five games left in the regular season for San Francisco, but the good news is four of them are at the friendly confines of War Memorial Gym and three of those are against teams that are 2-7 in conference right now. The Dons should be able to get a victory against Portland, Loyola Marymount or Pepperdine to get Coach Sutton up to at least 801. Really the team could be considered somewhat lucky to get a couple road wins at Portland and Pepperdine earlier in the season. Otherwise right now we would be wondering if Coach Sutton was even going to get the two wins he needed.

 

…what the deal is with the SEC?

Kentucky’s non-conference portion of the schedule went so poorly that even a 6-3 record in conference play has them well outside of the bubble. Getting absolutely slaughtered by Vanderbilt on Tuesday doesn’t help either. Mississippi, after winning their first 13 games, is 3-5 in conference play and in danger of missing out on dancing if things continue to go how they have been recently. Mississippi State is in a similar position as Kentucky. The Bulldogs started out really slow, but have since won 11 of their last 13.

 

Mississippi State should be in right now, but they could lose that with a poor showing in February and early March. Tennessee and Vanderbilt are pretty much locks and Arkansas and Florida have a pretty good shot. In all likelihood we are looking at five teams and it will be a fierce battle down the stretch. There are a ton of important games left in the SEC, but none may end up being as big as the hardwood version of the Egg Bowl on February 20th. Mississippi State won the first leg at home by 20 and Mississippi needs to defend the home floor if they want to stay in the race for an NCAA Tournament bid.

 

…who the winless teams are in conference play?

Memphis gets their fair share of publicity for being undefeated. Duke, Drake, Cornell, Davidson and Oral Roberts are added to the list when you talk about undefeated teams in conference play. But what about the other end of the spectrum?

 

Independent New Jersey Institute of Technology, better known (sort of) as NJIT, is currently 0-25. The closest the Highlanders have gotten to a win is a couple nine point defeats. They only have four games left and that best shot to avoid a winless season is hosting Chicago State on Saturday. North Florida, The Citadel, Northwestern, Rice, Colorado State and Oregon State are also winless in conference play.

 

Oregon State fired their coach already this year and Colorado State is in rebuilding mode with a new head man. The only other major program on that list is Northwestern. Coach Bill Carmody is a great offensive mind, but it might be time to try something else in Evanston after eight years. Northwestern has never made an NCAA Tournament and certainly Bill Carmody cannot be totally blamed for that failure. The high academic standard is an old excuse. The basketball team only needs to look across the street to the football squad to see that it can be done. Nobody expects consistent top 25 seasons out of Northwestern, but this team should be able to go dancing at some point. But it probably won’t be with Coach Carmody leading the way.

 

…when it will end for Purdue?

 The Boilermakers were supposed to be a decent team, but now they are looking at a Big Ten title. And don’t give me the Big Ten is down junk. This is a team that just beat Wisconsin in Madison. That doesn’t happen everyday. Even teams like Iowa and Penn State have had decent moments. It is very impressive to be on top of the Big Ten with an 11-1 record.

 

Purdue is a young team and they just keep getting better and better. Freshmen Robbie Hummel and E’Twaun Moore have already become superstars in the Big Ten and will be taking the rest of the nation by storm soon enough. Purdue might be a little slim in the paint, but the size of their guards puts plenty of mismatches in their favor. Most of that is in the form of 6-8 Hummel. The guy can make opposing power forwards look incompetent on defense if that is how the match-ups work out.

 

The big game left is against rival and fellow one-loss team Indiana. The winner of that game will likely be the Big Ten champions and earn a nice seed in March.