So the two people that actually read this were both wondering why I didn't blog about the Purdue/Michigan State game on Tuesday. And if you watched that game, you know how ugly and disappointing it was to be a State fan that day...so yes, I took some time off to lick my wounds, mostly because I knew that writing it after the game could be a bad move. I'm still not sure making any commentary is a good idea. I'm already bitter when playing Purdue anyway, for my own personal reasons that needn't be shared here. Suffice it to say, I really REALLY want to beat them....a lot.
The day started off really well. I actually went down to Purdue with my coworkers to shoot an interview and got to stay for the game! I was pumped...and then game started.
First, it made me nervous that we were playing AT Mackey. For some reason unbeknownst to me, MSU has not played well there over the past few years. I don't know if it's the crowd or the rims or the court or what...but it's just not a good place for us to be. Second, I was REALLY nervous that Robbie Hummel was back. Again, for whatever reason, that kid always has the game of his LIFE when he plays us. He's a huge part of their offense anyway and a great player (read: the bane of my existence) and with him being out with that injury, he was raring to go with such huge stakes. Tip: Never underestimate the power of emotion in the college game. Just don't do it. It's the reason why a movie like HOOSIERS is so successful. But I digress.
The first half was alright...the turnovers were ridiculous, but somehow they managed to hang in there and stay down by three. But what really bothered me was that they looked so far out of their game. Purdue is known for their intense defensive pressure (FG percentage defense is #3 in DI)...but that wasn't any excuse for not getting rebounds and taking poor shots. The second half was probably best described as a complete disaster. Purdue came out swinging and went on a 10-0 run to open the half and we just never recovered, weren't rebounding and weren't hitting shots. BUT here's where I get really heated.
That was probably one of the worst officiated games I have ever seen. I'm a firm believer that really, you can never TRULY blame the referees for winning or losing a game. No matter what the calls, you should be able to play through it no matter what. If they make a call at the end of the game that puts someone on the line or doesn't put someone on the line, you can always argue that the team should have put it away before that, etc. etc. However...I am big proponent of letting teams play. I think basketball is and should be a physical game and I would much rather watch action instead of little ticky-tack fouls being called constantly--and that's what happened on Tuesday. It was like the refs couldn't decide if they wanted to call it tight or let them play. They would miss huge foul and then call three handchecks the next time down the floor...then they called a bunch of fouls on MSU until the discrepancy was pretty significant and started calling little cheap shots on Purdue to even things out. It was awful. I understand that Big Ten games have been an issue this year--there have been multiple elbows thrown (and discussed ad nauseum by the media), but calling a game that way makes it impossible for either team to get into a rhythm and almost ALWAYS (as in this case) favors the home team. In this case, both sets of fans were extremely angry about calls--which in a way was good, because at least it was balanced.
Bottom line--Purdue outplayed my Spartans in every way. Period. It is a sad truth to accept, but it must be done. This concerns me a bit, because it was a huge game and huge atmosphere and they couldn't get it done. BUT...we have been making good strides, so I'm cautiously optimistic that this was just a bad game and we'll be back on track for Sunday.
Also, Chris Kramer flops. A lot. I'm not saying he's not a good defender, but he flops. All over. Constantly. It's annoying.
PS--Props to the Purdue crowd. I've never seen a game at Mackey and they were definitely up and ready to go. It is definitely kind of cool when your team is the one with the target on their back and everyone wants to be the one to bring you down....