Nov 22, 2023 - Sports

IU, Purdue and Pacers: Indiana's Thanksgiving sports feast

The Purdue Boilermakers hold up the Old Oaken Bucket after a win over the Indiana Hoosiers last year at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington.

Purdue won the Old Oaken Bucket last year. It'll be on the line again Saturday. Photo: Justin Casterline/Getty Images

It's sports week in America.

Why it matters: There's probably going to be a game, or five, on in your home.

  • Thanksgiving week sports broadcasts drew record viewership last year, in a climate where TV audiences are otherwise tuning out.

Zoom in: The biggest game around here comes Saturday when IU football travels to Purdue to play for the Old Oaken Bucket at noon on the Big Ten Network.

State of play: It's a weak Thanksgiving serving, featuring two 3-8 teams coming off losses (in IU's case, a devastating one against Michigan State) and finishing disappointing seasons.

  • In one bright spot, Purdue quarterback Hudson Card is expected to play against IU after missing last week's game at Northwestern.

The intrigue: This could be IU coach Tom Allen's last game.

  • Allen has a dismal 33-48 record over seven seasons and the university could fire him — at a cost of a $20.8 million buyout in his contract.

What we're watching: The Butler men's basketball team plays No. 19 Florida Atlantic at 2:30pm Thursday in the ESPN Events Invitational.

  • Plus: The No. 21 IU women's basketball team plays No. 19 Tennessee at 6pm tomorrow in a game nationally televised on Fox.

Meanwhile, the Indiana Pacers play the Toronto Raptors at 7:30pm Wednesday and then the Detroit Pistons at 8pm Friday, both at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

💭 James' thought bubble: The Pacers' typical day-after-Thanksgiving home game can make for a festive night out downtown.

  • The Circle of Lights celebration starts at 5pm Friday, with the monument lighting scheduled for about 6:50pm.
  • Then the Pacers tip off just a few blocks away — you might even have time to grab food.
  • I've done both before and had a great time.

Zoom out: The Colts play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 1pm Sunday at home during a huge week in the NFL, which has added a Black Friday game.

The bottom line: It's going to be hard to escape sports — and you might not want to.

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