Purdue opens up its 2013-2014 season tonight against Northern Kentucky. The build up to this season has been interesting; for whatever reason, fans have continued to put bigger and bigger expectations on this year's team. It hasn't even played a regular season game yet, and fans are calling for 25 wins and a Sweet Sixteen appearance. It was 22 wins and a first round exit a few weeks ago. And a month ago, it was borderline NIT/NCAA.
What has changed? Sure, Purdue has played two exhibition games, and it won them both. Although the win against University of Indianapolis certainly wasn't what you would call impressive, struggling to put a far more inferior opponent away in the second half.
But that's what fans do: They make predictions and have expectations, sometimes albeit, unreasonable ones. Purdue fans are hoping for anything that can take their minds off of the disaster that is Boilermaker football. They are just begging, pleading for some kind of success for Purdue. They know it won't be in football this year. They are hoping it will be in basketball.
And we'll see. Obviously tonight's game will be missing Purdue's biggest player. And probably its best. That's when he puts his mind to it, that is. So tonight, similar to the previous two games, won't be the team you will see in a week from now. But it gives players that are battling for minutes more chances to shine, hoping that when Hammons returns those players can add another element to this team that might not have been there if the 7-footer didn't get suspended. That's the hope at least. Another hope is that Hammons comes back with a chip on his shoulder, ready to prove to everyone that he is a different player and person. But that's getting ahead of ourselves. One game at a time as they say. I don't think I am getting ahead of myself, however, when I say that Purdue will roll tonight.