Dallas Colleges: Purdue Boilermakers

Heart of Dallas Bowl

December, 2, 2012
Purdue Boilermakers (6-6) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (7-5)

Jan. 1, 12 p.m. ET, Dallas (ESPNU)

Purdue take from Big Ten blogger Brian Bennett: Purdue will be playing in its second straight postseason when it kicks off the Heart of Dallas Bowl, but that wasn't enough to save head coach Danny Hope's job. Hope was fired on Nov. 25 after a 6-6 season, and assistant Patrick Higgins will serve as interim coach for this game.

Hope was confident this would be his best team at Purdue, and the Boilers got off to a decent 3-1 start that included a close loss at Notre Dame. But with an excellent opportunity to make noise in a probation-ravaged Big Ten Leaders Division, the Boilermakers lost their first five conference games, including multi-touchdown defeats to Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Penn State.

The team did rally to win its final three games to salvage a bowl trip, sparked by Robert Marve returning as the starting quarterback. Fans had been calling for that move for weeks, and Marve delivered despite tearing his ACL in the second week of the season and eschewing surgery.

Hope did make some inroads in increasing the overall team speed, and the offense boasts some exciting playmakers like running backs Akeem Shavers and Akeem Hunt and receiver Antavian Edison. Defensive tackle Kawann Short is a potential first-round NFL pick, while Ricardo Allen and Josh Johnson form one of the Big Ten's top cornerback tandems -- and they will be needed against Oklahoma State's high-powered passing game.

This team was talented enough to push Ohio State to the absolute brink in Columbus yet unfocused enough to fall behind 44-7 at Minnesota. How the Boilermakers respond and play against the Cowboys without their head coach is anyone's guess.

Oklahoma State take from SoonerNation's Brandon Chatmon: OSU coach Mike Gundy has done one of the best coaching jobs of his career as the Cowboys made Big 12 history with three different quarterbacks throwing for 1,000 yards or more. Wes Lunt, J.W. Walsh and Clint Chelf each had their moments this season as the starting quarterback for the Pokes and each signal-caller led OSU to a double-digit win over a Big 12 opponent.

The constant in the Cowboys’ offensive attack is running back Joseph Randle, the Big 12’s leading rusher with 1,351 rushing yards. His toughness, versatility and playmaking set the tone for OSU’s offense. It could be the final game for the junior, who may elect to leave early for the NFL after three seasons as a key member of OSU’s offense.

OSU’s defense had an up-and-down season, holding four Big 12 opponents to 21 points or less before allowing more than 600 yards of total offense to Oklahoma and Baylor in its final two games. Defensive tackles Calvin Barnett and James Castleman have been the tone-setters for the Cowboys defense. When they play well, OSU’s defense is noticeably better.

Keep an eye on the Cowboys defense on third down. In the losses to OU and Baylor, the Cowboys allowed more than 50 percent of third downs to be converted.

Once No. 1, Texas forgotten in final poll

April, 6, 2010
The Texas Longhorns made history they'll prefer to forget Tuesday with the release of the final ESPN/USA Today coaches poll.

Texas (24-10) became the only team in the history of the poll to have spent more than one week at No. 1 and not finish in the top 25. The Longhorns started the season 17-0, climbed to No. 1 on Jan. 11 and stayed there until Jan. 25.

The 2003-04 Florida Gators (20-11) and the 1999-2000 Connecticut Huskies (25-10) each spent one week at No. 1 and failed to finish in the top 25.

Texas had an opportunity to at least make a run at reclaiming a spot in the poll, but blew an eight-point lead in overtime and lost to Wake Forest in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.

The Baylor Bears (28-8), who gave NCAA tournament champion Duke all it could handle in an Elite Eight matchup in Houston, finished No. 10, the highest ranking in program history. Baylor moved up from No. 21 in the final regular-season poll.

Texas A&M (24-10) dropped two spots to finish at No. 25. The Aggies lost to Purdue in overtime in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Are Baylor, Purdue headed for rematch?

March, 26, 2010
HOUSTON -- Remember who beat Baylor in the first round of the 2008 NCAA tournament, the Bears' first entry in 20 years?

Yep, the Purdue Boilermakers, 90-79.

They'll meet again on Sunday with the South Region title and a berth in the Final Four on the line if No. 3 Baylor gets past No. 10 Saint Mary's and No. 4 Purdue upsets No. 1 Duke tonight at Houston's Reliant Stadium.

While both rosters have changed, many of this season's key players for both teams played in the 2008 game, including Tweety Carter, LaceDarius Dunn and Josh Lomers for the Bears.

Injured Purdue star Robbie Hummel didn't play a major role in that game, scoring nine points in 17 minutes. But, Chris Kramer, the hero in last week's second-round win over Texas A&M, E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson combined for 36 points.

The Boilermakers blew the 2008 game open in the first half on 50 percent shooting while knocking six 3-pointers to lead 46-27 at halftime.

Oh yes, Bears remember coaches' pick

March, 22, 2010
WACO -- Baylor Bears coach Scott Drew has been reminding those who might have forgotten that during the preseason the Big 12 coaches picked his team to finish 10th in the conference.

Oops, after tying for second place in the Big 12, the Bears are now one of 16 teams in the NCAA tournament still standing. Third-seed Baylor faces No. 10 Saint Mary's in Houston on Friday for the right to advance to the Elite Eight against either No. 1 Duke or No. 4 Purdue.

"I think everything happens for a reason, but at the same time when you see that and you know what type of team you have, especially as a leader of this team, I took it as disrespect," Bears senior point guard Tweety Carter said. "They just didn't give us any respect coming into this season. It's something that you've got to take."

Drew is quick to note that surely the Big 12 coaches took into consideration Baylor's loss of three starters in Curtis Jerrels, Henry Dugat and Kevin Rogers from a team that went 5-11 in conference last season -- although it rebounded to make the Big 12 tournament title game and the NIT title game. Baylor went 11-5 this season in conference play and has won a school-record 27 games. It has not lost a game this season by more than seven points.

Baylor advanced to its first Sweet 16 in modern history and pundits are giving the team a fighter's chance to get to the Final Four.

"I don't play this game to worry about what anybody else thinks," Carter said. "As long as this family here is tight, I'm all right. But, at the same time it comes up in the back of your mind that we've got to come out here and show them we're better than 10th."

Battle of the Brazos III still on course

March, 19, 2010
NEW ORLEANS -- The No. 5-seed Texas A&M Aggies looked strong Friday in their NCAA tournament-opening win over Utah State in Spokane, Wash.

The Aggies to widespread production starting with impressive freshman Khris Middleton, who scored a team-high 19 points and make 5-of-6 from beyond the 3-point line.

And so after Round 1, the anticipated Battle of the Brazos in the Bayou City remains a possibility. A&M and the No. 3-seed Baylor Bears both passed their first tests and are each one victory away from a Sweet 16 spot at Houston's Reliant Stadium, and two wins away from a monumental showdown to move on to the Final Four.

A&M and Baylor split the season series with each winning on their home floor.

The Bears are up next with a second-round matchup Saturday agianst No. 11 Old Dominion at 4:50 p.m. The Aggies will practice on Saturday in preparation for No. 4-seed Purdue, which plays on after a win over No. 13 Siena despite missing star Robbie Hummel.

The Bears are favored to make the program's first Sweet 16 and without Hummel, the versatile Aggies will be a tough out as they seek a second Sweet 16 appearance in four seasons.