The win over Louisville was intoxicating, lifting everyone’s spirits to a new high. Keady gave the team Sunday off, and Monday’s workout was limited to weight lifting.
Along with rest, the week brought more respect for the program. Purdue was now ranked second in the latest wire service polls, behind Arizona, and was No. 1 in a computer ranking service published by the Chicago Sun-Times. Those ominous days of December seemed a long time ago now. The team was riding a 16-game winning streak, tying a school record, and stood alone atop the Big Ten with its 6-0 conference record.
The challenge now was to avoid a hangover from all the excitement and get back to work – an unusual concern for a week that would end with a game at Indiana.
The rivalry between these two schools is perhaps the premier rivalry in all of college basketball. It dates back to 1901, encompassing 150 games and some of the greatest names in the history of the game. Purdue has won 90 of those games, and can boast of the fact it has won more Big Ten games and championships than the Hoosiers. But Indiana has the loud argument of five national championships, three in the previous 12 years, to back its claims for superiority.