• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

Ticket #1: IU vs. Purdue offers basketball drama

This is the 1st in a series of 18 stories examining the best events an Indiana sports fan would want to see in a lifetime.

Figure we'll never again see a chair fly across a basketball court when Indiana and Purdue meet for in-state bragging rights.

Is that a shame?

It depends on your perspective.

Expect drama to return in a rivalry that made national head lines when Bob Knight and Gene Keady stalked the sidelines.

Should you be there when it does?

You know that answer.

Now it's Purdue's Matt Painter and IU's Tom Crean running the basketball shows, and the recent one-sided results reflect the Boilers' rise to perennial Big Ten contender and the Hoosiers' fall to NCAA-sanction-caused conference patsy. The Boilers should still be strong, but IU appears set for a return to its winning ways, which should elevate these twice-a-year clashes into national showcases.

That will be good for all parties concerned.

Purdue will try to extend its run of dominance (it's won five straight and six of the last seven in the series, giving it a 112-84 edge). IU hopes its influx of new talent (can you say Cody Zeller?) will turn things around.

The dates for this season's games aren't set yet, but figure once in January and once in February.

Do you remember how it used to be? When Knight threw a chair because of his frustration over officiating or used a donkey (with the name of Jack …) to symbolize the typical Purdue fan, that generated must-see interest. When Keady met, if not surpassed, Knight's sideline ferocity, when Boiler players stomped on the IU logo after winning at Assembly Hall, that stirred the passion.

Now, well, Painter reserves most of his intensity for practice. Crean is basically Mr. Positive on the sidelines, which gives some the impression he's not demanding enough.

Don't be fooled. Both are ultra-competitive coaches driven to win. Now that the talent level is more even, expect thrills amid winter chills.

Even without a flying chair.