Late in Purdue's 84-61 beatdown by – not of – the Spartans, a month ago, Michigan State forward Brandon Dawson and his Boiler counterpart Travis Carroll battled for position underneath the basket and some claim that Dawson threw a punch at Carroll.
It's not that big of a deal to me,” Painter said.
It wasn't that big of a deal to the Big Ten Conference either, as it handed down no discipline on the matter. However, Purdue fans took to social media and let the Spartan Nation know how they felt. And they were not alone in their venom.
“We had some guys after that, that wanted to fight,” Painter said. “Literally wanted to fight.”
That display of Boiler bravado meant little to Painter, however.
“We get beat by (23) points,” Painter explained, “if they want to fight so much, why can't they get a rebound? Why can't they keep their man in front of them?”
That story line has been a common theme for this Purdue (12-11, 5-5 Big Ten) team in many of its games this season. As often is the case, Painter's team mishandles situations, according to the coach.
“What I was upset about is how we handled some things that went against us,” Painter said. “Our guys can sit in the huddle and say what they want, but let's see if they can do something. Play the game the right way, be physical and try and give ourselves a chance to win.”
Painter lauded No. 12 Michigan State (19-4, 8-2) for displaying the trait that Purdue teams have been known for, but is lacking this season.
“Michigan State just took us to the wood shed,” Painter said. “Just out-toughed us and just out-manned us. They got into us.”Prior to this season, Painter said that he believed that junior guard Terone Johnson had the potential to be an All-Big Ten player. However, due to how the Boilermakers' season has gone, he no longer holds that opinion.
“Right now (Terone) is not because we are 5-5,” Painter responded when asked about Johnson's worthiness of all-conference mention. “People say 'Who are you voting for?' And I say 'Who is winning?'”
Painter said that at the end of the season, his votes are going to be directed toward players from the top of the league standings, for example, Ohio State.
“I'm into winning,” Painter said. “(Ohio State's) Aaron Craft ? He's a guy that I'd vote for every single time. Guys like (Ohio State's) Deshaun Thomas, (Michigan's) Trey Burke, and (Indiana's) Cody Zeller. Those guys aren't first team All-Big Ten, they are first team All-American.”
The coach explained that the only way that he allows himself to vote for a middling or lower-tier squad is if the player is having a uniquely special season. However, even that would only be for third team recognition. And he said that none of his players qualify in that regard as of today.
“If my guys want my vote,” Painter explained, “we've got to win games.”