If it’s better to burn out than fade away . . .

Kelvin Sampson has orchestrated it perfectly.

Though it is still relatively quiet here, it won’t be for long. This is the biggest Purdue-Indiana game since . . . well, you tell me.

The Hoosiers and Boilermakers are back-to-back in the rankings, with the media and coaches disagreeing about who belongs ahead.

There’s the E’Twaun Moore v. Eric Gordon re-match. In the high school state final last year, Moore’s East Chicago beat Gordon’s North Central.

Indiana needs this game to stay in the Big Ten title chase. Purdue merely pulls a few more lengths ahead if it wins.

Pretty much everyone who is anyone who has ever plied his mind to writing about college basketball is here. I look down the row and see Pat Forde of ESPN, Dick “Hoops” Weiss of the NY Daily News, Rick Telander (one of my all-time favorite writers) and Bob Kravitz of the Indy Star. That’s just within a few feet of me.

The thought in these part continues to be that this is the last time Sampson will coach Indiana. He walked by me in the hallway earlier, looking as calm as can be. Give him that much: his face is often so full of grace, and it is even convincing.

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