Purdue Basketball 2021-22: The Start of Something Big – Hammer and Rails - Techy Hunters

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Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Purdue Basketball 2021-22: The Start of Something Big – Hammer and Rails

July 1st is a significant day in the college sports calendar. It is officially the turnover of a new year with the College World Series (ending tonight) marking the final event of the old year. Given all the trials and tribulations of the 2020-21 sports year, 2021-22 feels like a breath of fresh air. Football is only weeks away with the promise of a much needed reset. Volleyball has high expectations. The largest expectations are for Purdue Men’s basketball, where the Boilers are one of the favorites in online basketball betting.

I am going to be insanely optimistic: Anything less than a 25th Big Ten Championship and a foray into the tournament’s second weekend feels disappointing. I would say a trip to New Orleans, but as we have seen, we can never count on anything there, even when leading by 3 with 5 seconds left in an Elite 8 game.

This weekend marks the start of that journey. Zach Edey, Jaden Ivey, and Caleb Furst are in Latvia right now getting ready to play in the FIBA U19 World Cup. Purdue has had players in the last three editions of this event and all three players left West Lafayette with at least one Big Ten title and Sweet 16 appearance. Yes, you run the risk of injury, but you run the risk of injury by even stepping on the practice court (again, as we have seen). All three of these guys are getting valuable experience that will pay dividends as the season goes on.

Edey might even get to go to Tokyo and play in the Olympics. Team Canada won its opener against Greece in qualifying last night and should at least make the semifinals. If they qualify, it looks like Edey would go as a team alternate at minimum and be used as a practice player. Given that there are 8 active NBA players on Canada’s roster, even the practice experience is huge.

Then there is the continuity Purdue has, which is extremely difficult to achieve in college basketball. Everyone is back except for Aaron Wheeler, whose play was up and down the past two seasons. He could be very good at times, but Purdue replaces him with two top 50 recruits that will slide into his minutes quite easily. Furst getting seven games to play with Ivey over in Latvia certainly helps too.

It seems the only thing that can get in Purdue’s way is Purdue’s name. The heartbreak of being Purdue is very real. We all know if it. It can be fresh wounds like Virginia in 2019 or old scars like Kansas State in 1988. We’ve seen 41 years of March heartbreak. We’ve come agonizingly close. We’ve seen everything derail the glory we desperately want, be they events under our control or freak injuries. No matter how good Purdue looks no matter how highly rated we get, there is always that sense of dread. The one time I allowed my guard to drop Kehei Clark made a bullet pass.

But it is July, so we can dream. This is one of the most exciting times it has been to be a Purdue basketball fan. The prospect of a third Big Ten title in six seasons seems very real. March will be March. We have a schedule, we have expectations, and we have the expectations.

Let the ride begin.



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