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Sunday, May 19
The Indiana Daily Student


COLUMN: Rivalry means more for Yogi Ferrell and Raphael Davis


Purdue senior guard Rapheal Davis spoke to the media Thursday about playing an in-state rival from the south — IU.

With his scraggly beard and black-rimmed glasses, Davis went on about the same old things one always hears from players about the rivalry. The game is bigger than us. It’s about our legacy. All of that stuff.

Then he was asked about what makes IU’s senior guard Yogi Ferrell a tough matchup.

The two are both seniors. They’ve faced off five times. He wasn’t going to prop Ferrell up.

“I can’t give him the satisfaction of answering that,” Davis said.

The comment was all in good fun — the two are friends. They’ve worked out together in the off-season, and both come from Indiana.

But Saturday the two will meet in Assembly Hall for what may be their last meeting as players of IU and 

Ferrell won the first two meetings as a freshman with Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo and Christian Watford at his side. Since then, Purdue has won three straight. Last season, IU lost both in an old-fashioned physical beat down and a gritty last-second contest.

Ferrell didn’t sugarcoat either loss. After the 16-point loss in West Lafayette, Indiana, on Jan. 28, 2015, he wasn’t afraid to honestly address the differences between the two teams that night.

“We’ve just got to stop being so soft,” he said. “We think it’s gonna be easier than it is. Especially guys who haven’t been here and played in the Big Ten, they think it’s easier than 
it is.”

Three weeks later, the game was neck and neck before Ferrell rushed a self-proclaimed bad shot with six seconds left that resulted in a 4-point loss. He didn’t deny the truth of that one either.

“At the end of the day, our fight didn’t match theirs,” he said.

Losses in this rivalry sting a little extra. Sure, it’s a different era. Many of these guys come from Indiana or Illinois and have been playing high school or AAU ball together since they were young. Many of them are friends and get along.

Yet the same things that make them friendly also make the competition fiercer. It’s easier to lose to a stranger than the guy who is going to hold bragging rights over you all off-season.

It’s the same thing for the coaches.

At Big Ten Media Day in the fall, Purdue Coach Matt Painter said he and IU Coach Tom Crean have a good relationship. They get along.

But they aren’t going to be buddy-buddy.

“That’s the way it is,” Painter said. “That’s the way it’s supposed to be, right?”

So Saturday, when the up-tempo offensive Hoosiers and the large and physical Boilermakers meet for the 204th time, there is plenty on the line.

Yeah, there is history. But there is also the current stakes. It’s the No. 17, Purdue, and No. 22 teams in the nation fighting for their places in the Big Ten standings. These are two teams thinking about larger goals this season than just a rivalry.

But as coaches always like to say, this game is more than just about the players. It’s about their legacies. All of that stuff.

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