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53 Reasons: Secret scrimmages

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Dayton's Sean Finn, right, blocks a shot by Purdue's Joe Marshall during the first half in Indianapolis, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2001. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Dayton's Sean Finn, right, blocks a shot by Purdue's Joe Marshall during the first half in Indianapolis, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2001. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Dayton’s Sean Finn, right, blocks a shot by Purdue’s Joe Marshall during the first half in Indianapolis, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2001. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)


 

The 2015-16 college basketball season is just around the corner. In honor of the Flyers winning 53 games the last two seasons (and because I couldn’t come up with 2,015 reasons), I’m counting down 53 reasons (in no particular order) to look forward to the season.

Follow the blog between now and the season opener against Southeast Missouri State on Nov. 13. I will have four to five updates per week.

I’ll post links on Twitter (@DavidPJablonski) and on my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/DavidPatrickJablonski.

No. 10: Secret scrimmages

Fans can’t watch it. Archie Miller can only talk about it in general terms, at least if he’s following the rules. There won’t be any stats or video highlights.

Having said all that, this probably doesn’t belong on the list, but the secret scrimmage Dayton is playing against Purdue on Sunday at the University of Indianapolis will serve as a building block for the 2015-16 season. So what the heck. It’s on the list.

The rules about these scrimmages aren’t clear because Purdue coach Matt Painter did talk about playing Dayton with local media last week.

“I think Archie Miller has done as good a job as anybody in the country the past three or four years,” Painter told the Lafayette Journal & Courier. “His teams are tough and they’re hard-nosed, but they’re quick at each position, not just their guard positions. We wanted to get somebody in that mold, and they were looking and we were looking.”

According to the Journal & Courier, this is the first secret scrimmage for Purdue. UD played Illinois last season in Indianapolis. Although the scrimmages are not announced on the teams’ schedules, ESPN publishes a list of them by contacting officials working the games. VCU played Virginia on Saturday, and Davidson played Tennessee. Bowling Green played Ohio State.

If you’re confused about the point of the secret scrimmages, here’s a good article from Cox Hub explaining them.

Long before the NCAA intervened, “secret scrimmages” were a way for two teams to play in total privacy. In fact, the term has roots in the fact that most teams never publicly divulged who they would be scrimmaging, specifically to help maintain that privacy.

Ironically, that privacy has little to do with who won or lost or even who played well – tidbits that media members now race to report in hopes of exposing the “secrecy”. It’s actually far more about protecting information like game plans, play calls, and line-up variations.

Playing Purdue gives the Flyers a chance to test 6-11 center Steve McElvene against Purdue’s 7-0 senior center A.J. Hammons. He averaged 12.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.8 blocks last season, earning All-Big Ten Second Team honors.

Purdue finished 21-13 last season. It ranks 24th in the USA Today preseason coaches poll. That’s its first national ranking since 2010-11. It returns four starters from a team that reached the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2012 and finished third in the Big Ten.

In real games against Purdue, Dayton is 1-3. The Flyers won the last matchup in 2001, 83-72 at Conseco Fieldhouse. Purdue beat Dayton 62-61 in the 2000 NCAA tournament.


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