Purdue fans can take time away this week from the gathering of pitchforks, lighting of torches and mapping of routes to Danny Hope's house to think about something slightly more pleasant: the 2011-2012 basketball schedule.
Rejoice, Boiler Nation, as Mackey Arena should remain the home of an undefeated team for the calendar year of 2011. The early schedule includes a slew of directional schools and the Puerto Rico Tipoff.
No team invited to the PRT should be much trouble for Robbie Hummel and company. The field is, as follows: Alabama, Colorado, Iona, Maryland, Temple, Western Michigan and Wichita State. Only Temple made the NCAA tourney last season. Purdue should consider itself the favorite in San Juan. Screw the Tide.
The Boilermakers get Miami in the Big Ten/ACC challenge and it will be in West Lafayette. The Hurricanes finished ninth in the conference last year and shouldn't pose much of a threat to what should be a 10-0 record.
After IPFW (now 12-0, if you're keeping track), the conference slate begins. After avenging last season's loss to Iowa and beating Illinois, the Boilers will enter the 2012 calendar year unblemished, probably with a single-digit ranking.
The Big Ten schedule can be grueling and no one in their right mind would expect a team that lost two NBA players to graduation to maintain an undefeated record. I don't know where or when (other than to say that at least one loss will come at the hands of Michigan State), but Purdue will lose a handful of conference games.
The Boilers will finish around third or fourth in the conference. They'll earn a four, five, six, seven-type seed in the tourney and win a game or two.
That's what Purdue has done in both major sports this decade. It's got us up to let us down. The 2011-2012 basketball season will be no different.
That is, unless the trend continues and a major player tears an ACL. Then we'll be let down a little earlier.