With the 2019-’20 college basketball season wrapping up, it’s a great time to look back on the decade for the Big Ten. While the league didn’t win a national championship during the 2010s, it did send a variety of teams to the Final Four and had plenty of quality play.
So, in that mindset, BTP is looking at the most memorable games for each Big Ten team during the 2010s. These aren’t necessarily the most significant or the most fiercely contested games. Rather, they’re the most memorable. So, just because a game came in the postseason doesn’t guarantee it a spot on this list.
But before we jump in, a few other notes on our criteria. To qualify for this list, a game needed to happen sometime between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2019. I realize that cuts between two seasons, but that’s the criteria we’re using. A team also didn’t have to win a game for it to make this list. For instance, Michigan’s loss to Louisville in the 2013 title game was certainly memorable, even though the Wolverines didn’t come out on top.
With that, let’s look at the 10 most memorable games for the Purdue Boilermakers over the last decade.
The Most Memorable Purdue Games During The 2010s:
-Purdue at Minnesota (February 24, 2010) — Purdue 59, Minnesota 58
I hate to open this list on a sad note, but this game needs to be included on this list. Heading into Purdue’s matchup against Minnesota in late February of 2010, Purdue was on fire. The Boilermakers were sitting at 23-3 overall and 11-3 in Big Ten play. after winning nine straight, including six games against top 100 KenPom opponents. Purdue not only looked like a Big Ten title contender, but looked like a team capable of making the program’s first Final Four since 1980 and a run at the national championship.
Unfortunately, disaster would strike against the Golden Gophers as star forward Robbie Hummel went down with injury. The team would win the game, but suffer a devastating blow for its long-term goals. This game also marked the start of a really unfortunate set of events for Hummel over the coming years. He would never quite be the same and Purdue suffered as a result. The team would still go on to make the Sweet 16, but fans will always wonder what would have happened if he never got hurt.
-Purdue at Penn State (March 6, 2010) — Purdue 64, PSU 60
By the time Purdue got into January, fans knew it would be a special season. The Boilermakers opened the 2009-’10 season with a 14-0 record and eventually reached 24-3 overall before stumbling against Michigan State in late February. However, fans would finally get the biggest celebration on March 6th, when the team clinched its first Big Ten regular season title since 1996. The game itself was relatively competitive with Purdue controlled things throughout. It would be the first of three Big Ten titles for the Boilermakers during the decade.
-Purdue vs Texas A&M (March 21, 2010) — Purdue 63, Texas A&M 61 (OT)
This one is sure to bring back some memories. After putting together a great regular season and winning the Big Ten title, Purdue went into the postseason hoping for some March magic. After beating Siena in the opening round, Purdue would face a really good Texas A&M team in the Round of 32. The game would go back and forth in the closing minutes before things were pushed into overtime. Purdue would end up grabbing a narrow 63-61 to advance to the program’s second Sweet 16 in as many years.
-Ohio State at Purdue (February 20, 2011) — Purdue 76, Ohio State 63
This marks the biggest upset on the list and likely Purdue’s biggest upset of the decade. The Boilermakers were a really good team in 2010-’11, but were undeniably at least a step or two behind an absolutely loaded Buckeye squad. Ohio State was 25-1 overall entering the game and would go on to finish 34-3 overall. Things were close early on, but Purdue controlled the entirety of the second half and grabbed the win. E’Twaun Moore scored 38 points.
-Purdue vs Kansas (March 18, 2012) — Kansas 63, Purdue 60
This is another disappointing one, but a game that deserves mention. Not because it meant something huge nationally, but because it marked the final appearance for Hummel and a legendary group of Boilermakers. The run between 2007 and 2012 is still among the most successful in program history and it came as the result of players like Hummel and Moore. The game itself was highly competitive throughout and it actually looked like Purdue might win in the closing minutes only to have Kansas steal things. The Boilermakers would spend the next few years struggling to get back to this level of play.
-Indiana at Purdue (February 28, 2017) — Purdue 86, Indiana 75
This one is significant for a few reasons. To start, anytime Purdue knocks off Indiana, it’s going to be a notable one for fans. However, more importantly, this win clinched Purdue's second Big Ten regular season title of the decade and improved the Boilermakers to 24-6 overall and 13-4 in Big Ten play. Caleb Swanigan had 21 points and 10 rebounds in the win.
-Purdue vs. Iowa State (March 18, 2017) — Purdue 80, Iowa State 76
After winning the Big Ten regular season title, the only question for the Boilermakers would be whether the team could translate that success to the Big Dance. And after beating Vermont in the opening round, Purdue followed that up with a huge win over Iowa State to advance to its first Sweet 16 since 2010. Purdue controlled much of the game with Vincent Edwards leading the way before almost giving things away in the last few minutes. Purdue was able to do just enough to close things out and move on to face Kansas in the Sweet 16.
-Purdue at Northwestern (March 9, 2019) — Purdue 70, Northwestern 57
After losing a massive amount of contributions during the offseason, few expected Purdue to do much in 2018-’19. But after an explosion from Carsen Edwards, the team took off and suddenly found itself in position to win the Big Ten title on the road against Northwestern. The Boilermakers would end up cruising to an easy win for the program’s third Big Ten title of the decade. A notable accomplishment in what figured to be a down season.
-Purdue vs. Tennessee (March 28, 2019) — Purdue 99, Tennessee 94 (OT)
Talk about some swings of emotion in this one. For the first 30 minutes, Purdue was in control. However, as the game neared its completion, Tennessee took off on a 19-2 run and put the Boilermakers on the ropes. The teams would exchange the lead multiple times in the closing minutes before things pushed to overtime. In the extra session, Edwards and Purdue would do just enough to grab a narrow five-point win. It would mark the program’s third straight Sweet 16.
-Purdue vs. Virginia (March 30, 2019) — Purdue 80, Virginia 75 (OT)
This is probably the most painful game for this list for Boilermaker fans and rightfully so. Nonetheless, it deserves to be mentioned here. It was an epic matchup between two great squads where Purdue just came up short. But not even just that. The result game in the Elite Eight and Purdue . . . well, should have won. The Boilermakers were in complete control as regulation ended thanks to an epic performance from Edwards, who would finish with 42 points on the evening. Unfortunately, the team would make some crucial mistakes to allow Virginia to push things to overtime. There, Virginia would grab the win and eventually go on to win the national championship.
Disagree with our list? Tell us your picks in the comments below.