Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Matt Painter Story Would Have Grossed $200 Million in 1997

If this were a movie, Mizzou would be Julia Roberts, Purdue would be some objectively more-attractive but less charismatic woman who has a habit of getting under people's skin, and Matt Painter would be ... actually, Matt Painter might just play himself (he is rather dreamy). How we know it's not a movie: Julia Roberts always gets the guy. Instead, it was Mizzou left crying at the alter, while Painter and Purdue are left professing that their love is stronger than ever, an absence makes the heart grow fonder moment if there ever was one.

So Purdue fans are permitted a sign of relief, for a coaching change is always a little traumatic whatever the circumstances; it's even harder when your childhood sweetheart decides you're just not putting in the necessary attention. But these little spats have a way of festering over time. Painter is no longer one of the lowest paid coaches in the conference. The bar has been raised for him just as two All-Americans graduate, and with a few years of lackluster recruiting. Loyalty is nice, but fans have been known to be just as fickle as coaches when things get tough. The next two seasons of Purdue basketball may put their relationship to the test again, and don't be surprised if next time, it's the fans saying "it's not you, it's me.