February 29, 2008

Can Bluffton Beat Bishop Luers

A nice article in the Berne Tri-Weekly about the Adams Central (0-20) vs. Bluffton (22-0) game on Wednesday.

[Bluffton Coach Wayne] Barker was asked what separates a team from going undefeated, as his team has done thus far, and a team that manages to go an entire season without tasting victory.

"We've been lucky at times, and I don't mean to discount our players' talents, because we've got good players, but there have just been times that we've been fortunate," he said.

Perhaps Coach Barker was just being generous in the interview, and sensitive to Adams Centrals' fans. But, in fact, Bluffton has been lucky, taking a couple of very close games it might not have taken on another night. There was a nice article in the Banner a few years ago about Big Wells County Games of the past, it's the type of article local newspapers should pursue more often to help their bottom line. Luers isn't a Wells County team, but Wells County residents are students there. This will be one of those Big Games.

Anyway, it's perhaps dangerous to assume that Bluffton will get past South Adams and Luers will get past Woodlan to face each other on Saturday, but let's be dangerous. Can Bluffton Beat Bishop Luers? Can number 1 defeat number 3? Bishop Luers is averaging nearly 73 points a game and has won their last eight games. Bluffton is averaging about 60 points a game and has won all their games. But to whom did Luers lose? Luers lost three games on the season 1) 4A South Side by 2 points, 2) 3A Indianapolis Howe by 16 points, and 3) 3A Harding by 10 points. All three are tough teams above the 2A level with winning seasons.

Luers had only three games all season at the 2A, 1A level (2A Woodlan, 1A Canterbury and 1A Blackhawk). Luers crushed Woodlan 69-46 and Canterbury 82-42. Bluffton, on the other hand, had only 1 4A contest this year (9-12 Connersville) compared to Luers 7 4A match ups. Bluffton had 11 games against 2A and 1A opponents. In fact, of all of Bluffton's 22 wins this season only Leo (11-10), Northfield (12-8) and Southwood (12-9) are over .500 this year... Leo barely qualifies at 11-10 and counts as one of Bluffton's lucky wins. Of Luers' 18 wins, 11 were against teams that are over .500. Luers, despite the three losses, seems far more battle-tested that Bluffton.

Lastly, in that article above about "Big Wells County Games of the Past," take note of the 1965 game between Ossian (17-1) vs. Garrett (17-1). The game that had to be moved to the Coliseum in Ft. Wayne because the Ossian Gym could not hold the over 8000 fans who showed up to watch. Ossian could not stop Chuck Bavis (who went on to star at Purdue with Rick Mount) and ended up losing in a blowout (87-56).

Who in the Bluffton lineup is going to stop the Mr. Basketball bound DeShaun Thomas.

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