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Painting the town… oh nevermind

Tomorrow will bring dread or relief in West Lafayette, Ind., as Matt Painter will announce his intentions. He will either stay head coach of the men’s basketball team at Purdue or he will accept the same position at the University of Missouri.

Logic says that Painter is simply trying to get leverage for himself and his assistants, and Mizzou is a willing accomplice. If Painter were really on his way out, Cuonzo Martin might not have jumped at the Tennessee opening. After all, as the Lafayette Journal and Courier notes, Martin and Painter share an agent.

Indiana fans remember quite well the dalliance Bob Knight had with New Mexico in the Spring of 1988. Knight reportedly was headed back to Bloomington to say goodbye to his team and to then-AD Ralph Floyd. Only thing was, he stayed, and he remained in Bloomington for 12 more seasons.

But, that was then. This is now. That was Bloomington, Indiana, back when it was on par with Chapel Hill, Durham, Lexington and Westwood as the centers of the basketball universe. Purdue might have a nice program, and West Lafayette might be a nice place to live, but it’s not that many rungs above Mizzou and Columbia.

Add a strained relationship between Painter and his AD, and maybe this makes a little more sense than once thought. I know Purdue is going to give a longing look towards Brad Stevens at Butler (not sure if he’d take the job) and towards Shaka Smart at VCU, but how do you recover from a rising star leaving what he said was his dream job?

Bernie Miklasz says it looks good for Missouri. And while Miklasz is wildly optimistic (he is a bit of a homer, and I don’t know how good his connections are in the college hoops world), some of this makes sense.

Purdue came back today with a sweetened contract that would also bump up the pay of his assistants. Miklasz said Painter was not overly impressed. It’s going to take something to convince him to stay. At least the Purdue students are rallying in support of Painter.

Eleven students? Eh, it’s a start.

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