The AntiChrist treatment is coming for Chris Kramer, Robbie Hummel and the rest of the Purdue Boilermakers. They understand. On Thursday night they will enter Assembly Hall, the epicenter for all things Indiana Cream 'n Crimson, and morph into villains. They will be booed, cursed, criticized and demonized.
Forget peace, harmony and good will. Rivalry rules when Purdue and Indiana meet, and there's no place for silly sentiment.
“It does get personal,” Kramer said. “With the rivalry, there's so much emotion and intensity.” Playing the bad-guy role, Hummel said, just ratchets up the passion.
“It will be a lot of fun. I enjoy going down there. I hope we get a W.”
Kramer and Hummel embrace the hostility because they grew up watching it, Kramer from Huntington and Hummel from Valparaiso. Both were recruited by Indiana. Kramer never had much intention of becoming a Hoosier. Hummel's college choice came down to Purdue and IU.
Kramer attended some IU games because former Huntington North standout Sean Kline played there.
“I wasn't an IU fan, I was a Sean Kline fan,” Kramer said. “I went down there a few times. I went into the locker room and talked to coach (Mike) Davis. I knew Coach Davis wasn't going to be a good fit for me, so I never had any interest in IU.”
Kramer does have an interest in winning at Assembly Hall. Purdue has lost eight straight times there. Its last victory in Bloomington came in 1999.
“As a senior, you're kind of selfish because you want to win at every Big Ten arena,” he said. “We have to get focused because we're going into a really hostile environment.”
Some might think the rivalry is diminished because of IU's recent struggles. The Hoosiers are 9-11 overall, 3-5 in the Big Ten compared with No. 8 Purdue's 18-3 and 6-3. Don't be fooled, Hummel said.
“Last year's game (at Mackey Arena) was very intense, and the year before that it was a huge game in Bloomington,” Hummel said. “The rivalry is not diminished at all. It's one of the most intense games you'll play. It's still Purdue-IU and we're treating it that way.”
IU has lost two straight games, but it came close to twice beating Illinois and has already surpassed last year's six overall wins, just one in Big Ten play.
“There's no reason to overlook them,” Kramer said. “The way they're playing you've seen glimpses of what they're about to become. Losing (freshman guard) Maurice Creek hurt them, but they've battled back. Coach (Tom) Crean gets them to play hard. Look at Verdell Jones, Christian Watford, Devan Dumes. You can go down the list. They have good players. You've got to bring your ‘A' game.”
A rematch at Purdue is set for March 3.