Purdue AD issues statement on football program


Purdue AD issues statement on football program

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke is looking for a strong finish after the school's football team got off to a disappointing start.

He issued a one-paragraph written statement on Monday acknowledging that even though this season's results have not matched the university's high expectations, he hoped to see stronger performances as the Boilermakers fight to become bowl-eligible over the last four regular-season games.

``Everyone around our football program has high expectations for the 2012 season,'' Burke said. ``We have worked very hard over the past four years to improve our personnel, facilities and every phase of our program, which is evident.''

He did not mention coach Danny Hope by name, but it's clear he expects to see better performances in November.

Hope was not available for comment Monday, though he is expected to hold his weekly news conference Tuesday.

The fourth-year coach and hand-picked successor to Joe Tiller, the winningest coach in school history, agreed to a two-year contract extension in December after leading the Boilermakers to a bowl game for the first time in his tenure. The deal runs through Dec. 31, 2016, and Hope is 19-26 since replacing Tiller.

After three injury-plagued seasons, Purdue was expected to contend for the Big Ten title this season.

Players and coaches embraced the expectations, talking repeatedly about playing in a New Year's Day bowl game, representing the Leaders Division in December's conference title game and putting Purdue football back on the national map.

It hasn't worked out.

Purdue blew two chances to get back into the national discussion, losing on a late field goal at Notre Dame and getting blown out at home by Michigan in the conference opener.

And things have gone from bad to worse.

Following a strong 3-1 start, Purdue has lost four straight Big Ten games, with three losses coming by 16 or more points, including Saturday's 44-28 setback at Minnesota.

The Boilermakers host Penn State (5-3, 3-1) on Saturday. Purdue then heads to Iowa and Illinois before hosting rival Indiana in the Old Oaken Bucket game.

Hope said Sunday he planned to bench starting quarterback Caleb TerBush in favor of sixth-year senior Robert Marve, who is playing with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. And that may not be the only lineup change.

Whatever happens on the depth chart, it's clear Burke is looking for better play on the field.

``Our student-athletes, alumni, fans, coaching staff and administration all expect to see the program move forward and take a step up the postseason ladder,'' he said. ``Currently, our performance has kept us from reaching our goals. But we have a third of the season left to play, and our focus is to achieve that consistency over the remaining four games. We need to press forward, converting potential into results and having fun playing Boilermaker football.''

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Wizards drop to precarious position in close Eastern Conference playoff race

Wizards drop to precarious position in close Eastern Conference playoff race

As if they needed a reminder, the Wizards saw firsthand on Wednesday night just how much can change in a short period of time in the Eastern Conference playoff race where just two games separate the No. 3 and No. 6 teams.

That No. 6 team is now your Washington Wizards, who began the day in fourth place but lost their first game in four days on the same night both the Cavs and Sixers won theirs. 

The Wizards lost to the Spurs on Wednesday and managed only 90 points, their fewest since Jan. 22. It was a lackluster performance in a game the Wizards needed to treat with urgency. 


The Spurs sure did.

"We've gotta have a better mentality coming into games," guard Bradley Beal said. "The Spurs were fighting for playoff seeding just like we were."

The Wizards have now lost six of their last 10, yet all those games have come against teams currently holding playoff spots. Considering John Wall reamins out with a left knee injury, it's hard to fault them too much when they are staying afloat just fine in the big picture.

The problem is that the closer they get to the end of the season, the more these losses are magnified. They amount to missed opportunities, some bigger than others.

That was not lost on Beal, who considered the alternative. If the Wizards had beaten the Spurs, they would be sitting in fourth, two spots higher, and just a game-and-a-half out of third.

"Every time we have a chance to move up, we take two steps back," Beal lamented.


The Wizards are in a high stakes part of the standings where plenty is in the balance. They are fighting for home court advantage, something they would get in the third or fourth spots. And who they match up with will be paramount.

By falling to sixth, the Wizards are currently in line to play the Cleveland Cavaliers. Though the Pacers and Sixers are also good teams, they don't have LeBron James. Avoiding him and the Cavs would be ideal for the Wizards.

Beal has even bigger worries than that. He noted after the loss in San Antonio that they could fall even further if they aren't careful. They are now just a game-and-a-half up on the seventh-place Heat. 

"We've gotta realize what's at stake, man. The way we're going, we could keep dropping and mess around and be eighth. We've gotta do whatever it takes to win," he said.

The Wizards should be fine, if the previous two months are any indication. But Wednesday night was another example of how precarious things are for them this season in the tightly-packed Eastern Conference.


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Game 74 Capitals at Red Wings Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread


Game 74 Capitals at Red Wings Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Detroit Red Wings

Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Mich.

When: 7:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Red Wings will be broadcast on NBCSN.

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Red Wings game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


The Capitals (42-24-7) take on the Red Wings (27-35-11) Thursday, March 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET in Detroit.


The Capitals-Red Wings game will be broadcast on NBCSN. Coverage kicks off on NBC Sports Washington with Capitals FaceOff at 6:30 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 7:00 p.m. Check back with NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Extra and Caps Overtime at 10:30 p.m. for postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:30 p.m. — Capitals at Red Wings (on NBCSN)
10:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime


Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Red Wings game:

Alex Ovechkin -  Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Andre Burakovsky - Lars Eller - T.J. Oshie
Jakub Vrana - Travis Boyd - Brett Connolly
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Christian Djoos

Philipp Grubauer starts with Braden Holtby as backup

Scratches: Evgeny Kuznetsov (upper body injury), Alex Chiasson, Jakub Jerabek


You can watch the Capitals-Red Wings game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.