Crossroads El Clasico: Indiana Hoosiers vs Purdue Boilermakers Series History


bob knight chair

(Editor’s note: re-posting this and updating it from 2017 and 2018, in honor of the Purdue Boilermakers hosting the Indiana Hoosiers on Saturday, the first of the two meetings between the two teams this season)

While there is no rivalry in B1G basketball as high stakes and as passionate as El Clasico (the name of the series between Real Madrid and Barcelona), the Purdue Boilermakers (11-6, 4-2) and #25 Indiana Hoosiers (12-5, 3-3) rivalry often comes close. Typically, the two teams are more than just regionally relevant, but nationally as well. In a given year, we often see at least one of the two teams influencing the NCAA Championship odds here as we head towards the final stretch run of the regular season.

el clasico

The NCAA Tournament kind of atmosphere will certainly be present Saturday afternoon, as Purdue just announced this contest as a black out game.

 The school is asking fans to wear black when they come to Mackey Arena for the 2 p.m. ET tip-off. It will be televised nationally on FOX with Gus Johnson, Jim Jackson and Andy Katz on the call.

Mackey Arena, which seats 14,804 people, is one of the loudest arenas in America, reaching 122.3 decibels two years ago. Should fans wear black, it will create a visually-stunning display for a national television audience in a game that is typically one of the most watched in college basketball.

Additionally, the school is asking fans to download the BoilerBall Lights app on ITunes or Google Play to be a part of the pregame light show during the Purdue intro video and starting lineups.

Pictured below:

mackey arena purdue

El Clasico is the matchup of the two sides that traditionally rule La Liga, Spain’s top futbol/football/soccer division. In recent years, Atletico Madrid have risen up and inserted themselves into the conversation, essentially breaking up the usual duopoly.

The first meeting, in Barcelona on October 28, ended in a 5-1 rout by the hosts. As ugly as it was for Los Blancos, the result could have been even uglier had the Catalan club decided not to take off their foot off the gas and instead run up the score. The next edition, in Madrid, will be on March 23rd. Barca are currently top of the table, five points ahead of Atletico. Sevilla, another Spanish club consistently relevant and often near the top of the standings are five points behind Atletico in third.

Real, reeling from the losses of Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo, got off to a disastrous start. They have since rebounded, and now sit fourth, 10 points out of first place, and 29 behind Barca on goal differential.

real madrid

Real Madrid leads the head to head results in competitive matches with 95 wins to Barcelona’s 93, while Barcelona leads in total matches with 113 wins to Real Madrid’s 99. It’s a fierce rivalry, about as spirited as it gets. It’s seen more than its fair share of big moments, and passions run off-the-charts on both sides.

The same holds true with Indiana and Purdue.

The Mackey Arena game day experience is second to none, especially if you’re a neutral or a tourist making their first visit to the West Lafayette venue. No matter who the Boilers are playing that night, you will hear chants of “IU SUCKS!” from the gold and black faithful.

It’s very reminiscent of Fenway Park, where Boston fans will chant “YANKEES SUCK!” no matter who the Red Sox are playing that day. After the two teams get together at Mackey Arena this weekend, the next meeting comes February 19th in Bloomington. with

fc barcelona

Purdue leads the all-time series 118-89, and they also have the upper hand in B1G Tourney championships (1-0), All-Americans (46-42), B1G championships (23-22) and consensus first team All-Americans 25-15.

The last B1G title won by Purdue, which put them ahead of their arch-rivals, was actually clinched with a win over Indiana on Senior night, February 27th, 2017. It was an electric atmosphere to say the least.

On the flip side, Indiana has the advantage in national championships (5-0), NCAA Tournament appearances (39-29) and B1G Player of the Year awards (6-3). In freshman sensation Romeo Langford, IU may add to this list. Although one of his chief competitors is Purdue guard Carsen Edwards.

purdue basketball

The series has seen a ton of huge moments, including Gene Keady’s 400th win, the 2002 “Duel in the Dome” before a crowd of 32,055, Kelvin Sampson’s finale at the end of the massive 2008 scandal, the 2005 double OT instant el clasico and the Bobby Knight tirade of 1991.

You also have the “sucker punch” and “jackass” incidents (like we said this is a series of severe acrimony), but the real signature moment is depicted in this post’s featured image.

We’re speaking, of course, of the Bobby Knight chair-throwing incident, February 28th, 1985 in Bloomington. Knight, whether you love him or hate him (and pretty much all opinions on him are very strong, but if you’re a decent person you most likely hate him) gave us the defining image of the crossroads el clasico.

We call it crossroads el classico because it’s the battle for the “crossroads of America” state and the name crossroads classic is already taken.


Although the two sides do not battle for a trophy in men’s basketball, there are trophies at stake in several of the other sports.

Football battles for the Old Oaken Bucket. In women’s basketball, it’s the Barn Burner Trophy. In volleyball, the Monon Spike, and in women’s soccer, the Golden Boot.

The Crimson & Gold Cup is awarded points to the winning team in each of the schools’ 18 shared sports. At the end of each academic year, the total points are tallied and the winning school is awarded this specific title.

Enjoy the Crossroads El Clasico!

Prediction: Purdue Boilermakers 74, Indiana Hoosiers 67

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC and Chicago, regularly appears as a guest pundit on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

He also contributes sociopolitical essays to Chicago NowFollow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.

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  1. Robert G. Powell says

    Purdue’s basketball arena is named Mackey to honor a former Purdue Athletic Director. “Red” Mackey was a star football player for Purdue years before he became the A.D. at Purdue University. Also, he was a star football player for New Albany High School the same high school Romeo Langford played basketball for. GO IU!

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