Archive for January, 2011


Minnesota @ Purdue Round 2


This Saturday the Boilermakers host the Gophers.  Purdue almost came away with a win at Minnesota on January 13th.  However, Purdue couldn’t quite pull out the win and fell short 70-67.  I look for Purdue to redeem itself this weekend as they host the Gophers.  The Big Ten is a very tough conference to win on the road and teams play really well and are tough to beat at home.

I will actually be at the Purdue game. I’m making the 5 hour drive from southern Wisconsin to visit my sister and to cheer on the Boilermakers as they take down the Gophers.  I’m also bringing my best friend who coincidentally is from Minneapolis, Minnesota.  We’ll be sitting in the student section and in my spare time I’ll be making sure he’s not being killed for wearing Gopher apparel.

But this game is very important for Purdue.  Yeah, it would be awesome going to see this game live just after a win in Columbus against the #1 ranked Buckeyes but that didn’t happen.  For me I’ll be looking to see how the Boilers react after such a blowout loss on Tuesday night.  This is only my second Purdue game that I’ll catch in person and I’m really looking forward to it.  But, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t just a little bit nervous to see how Purdue plays.

Don’t be mistaken.  I still have confidence in my Boilermakers and still think with a little help from the rest of the conference (mainly Minnesota and Wisconsin) and winning out I think the Boilers still have a chance to be co-conference champs…again.  I think coming back home will be good for the Boilers and a good game is in store.  I look for Purdue to put on a defensive show and shut down the Gophers.  I think it will be a slightly low scoring game unless both teams decide not to play defense.  I predict the Boilermakers to walk away with a 65-53 win.

I “CAN’T WAIT!” to get to West Lafayette to watch my Purdue Boilermakers get back on the right track!

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What should I do? should I admit that I was wrong about Ohio State? Should I admit that I’m terribly pissed off at Purdue’s performance Tuesday night in Columbus? Should I admit that I don’t think Michigan State is as good as I thought they were going to be? Should I admit that I absolutely hate Ohio State and have no other wish than for ESPN and other commentators to stop blowing OSU’s dicks? What should I do? Should I switch my blog’s topic to college football? Should I just completely give up on making predictions altogether? Should I just give up blogging and save everybody’s time? What should I do?

I’ll tell you what I’m going to do.  I’m going write a post about who, at this point in the season, I think should be in consideration for Player of the Year.  That’s what I’m going to do.  There’s 3 guys that really stand out to me at this stage of the season.  Jimmer Fredette, Kemba Walker(obviously), and JaJuan Johnson!

Jimmer Fredette just put on what is possibly the greatest show I’ve ever seen on a basketball court.  I haven’t seen much of Jimmer but that’s mainly due to BYU not getting much air time here in Wisconsin.  But, to my pleasure I got to watch him single handedly take down San Diego State Wednesday night.  The kid was amazing! He put up 43 points making it his second consecutive 40+ point game.  I personally had never seen such a performance from one player.  After looking at some of his stats I’m flabbergasted at just how good this kid is.  Some might argue that BYU isn’t really in that tough of a conference or this and that.  You know what? To score 26.7 points per game (before the stats of the SDSU game were added) you still have to put the damn ball in the bucket.  Fredette does just that.  He scores.  Whether it’s from the charity stripe (.900%), making jump shots or layups, or even from behind the arc (.410% from 3 point land) he puts the ball in the hoop.  He’s making his name a household name with his 40+ points nights.  I wouldn’t expect him to put 40+ from here on out every night but I wouldn’t be surprised if he put up a few more 30+ point nights.  Jimmer Fredette is a freakish scorer on the 9th ranked team in the nation and is currently 20-1(6-0).  If he doesn’t deserve Player of the Year then maybe one of these next two guys does.

Kemba Walker.  What hasn’t already been said about Kemba Walker?  I wanted to write a post solely on Kemba earlier this season but never quite found the time to get around to it.  Kemba is currently second in the nation in scoring with 24.4 PPG, only behind Jimmer Fredette from BYU (obviously mentioned above).  He’s also shooting .395% from behind the 3 point line and is sinking .831% of his free throws.  But what’s most impressive about Walker is his ability to take over a game and win the game for his Uconn Huskies.  On more than one occasion Kemba has been the star by hitting big last second game winners.  He’s also in a few games taken over earlier in the game and put up big numbers to give his Huskies comfortable leads that led to victories.  Kemba just might be the most deserving player of the Player of the Year award just from his last second heroics.  Between Kemba and Jimmer I have a tough time deciding who I think should win the award.  I sure wouldn’t want to be one of the voters this year.

My last guy is from Purdue.  It’s a well known fact that I’m a Purdue fan.  Some might say this is a “homer” blog, whatever the hell that means but hear me out.  JaJuan Johnson is leading the Big Ten in scoring with 20.6 PPG followed by Taylor Batter of Penn State with a 20.2 average.  Let’s take a closer look at JaJuan.  Tall, lanky, center that’s put on some muscle since coming in as a freshman 4 years ago and is a scoring force on the blocks, in the paint, with his mid range jumper, his turn around fade away, his nice little hook shot, his bringing the roof down dunks, and his 3 point shooting.  Yeah, I said it. His 3 point shooting.  As a center JaJuan is shooting .357% from 3 point land.  He’s a center shooting better than most guards from behind the arc.  Most of his looks from 3 point range aren’t always wide open shots either.  Teams have to extend their defense out to him and he’s knocking down 3’s with very little separation at all.  His ability to shoot from anywhere on the court this year is amazing and phenomenal.  I also want to point out that without JaJuan Johnson I don’t think Purdue has even 12 wins this season (that’s with Hummel out as well).  He’s the most important player on our team and has consistently showed everybody why he’s our go to guy in the crunch.  His toughness and determination has led the Boilermakers to their good start (with the exception of their game against Ohio State).  Johnson is the essence of the Player of the Year.  He leads his teams to victories and does it on a very consistent basis.  Like I said, without JaJuan Purdue at best has 12 wins thus far this season.  Do I think JaJuan will win the Player of the Year title? Probably not. But I think he should definitely be considered for the award.  He deserves it just as much as either Jimmer Fredette or Kemba Walker.

There you have it.  My top 3 players in the running for the Player of the Year award.  Don’t like it? Don’t read it.  What should I do now?

Purdue @ Minnesota


It’s only right that I write about my Boilermakers loss to the Gophers last night (Thursday Jan. 13th).  If you’re expecting me to admit that I was wrong about Purdue or about how disappointed I am with this loss to the Gophers you can forget that.  Sure I’m a bit upset/disappointed that Purdue lost last night but I’m not worried or mad about the loss.

I claimed earlier that the Big Ten Champ is going to have a couple if not a few losses this year.  The Big Ten is very tough this year and Minnesota is a really good team.  I actually give credit to the Golden Gophers last night.  This is the second game in a row that they’ve completely shut down E’twaun Moore holding him to 2-14 from the field last night.  That’s very impressive considering Moore and JaJuan Johnson are both in the top 5 for scoring in the Big Ten this season.

Now I’ll admit that I was frustrated with some missed calls that went the Gophers way last night.  But, I’ve also played enough games of football and baseball to know that a few calls won’t determine the outcome of a game.  Even though they could potentially help a team out and possibly swing the momentum in a team’s direction.

Minnesota’s Blake Hoffarber was also on fire.  Putting up 26 points on the night, “It felt like the rim was just a little bigger than normal” -Hoffarber.  The kid literally couldn’t miss it seemed like.  It wasn’t like Purdue wasn’t contesting his shots.  They had a had in his face almost every time he shot and no matter what the ball was just falling in.  There wasn’t much anybody on Purdue could do to stop him.  That’ll happen from time to time and when it happens you just have to respect the player it’s happening to and be happy for him.

I think this was a good test for the Boilermakers, even though they failed.  However, I sometimes think a loss can be a good thing.  It can wake a team up or just open their eyes to the competition around them and cause them to pick their game up. I hope this is what happens to Purdue in this case.  But, for that to happen E’twaun Moore definitely can’t go 2-14 from the field.  He had some good looks that just didn’t fall so I don’t see this becoming a problem at all.  It was just a cold night for Moore, which happens to everybody on occasion.

I look for my Boilermakers to bounce back on Sunday against West Virginia.  I saw them play in West Lafayette on new years last year and Purdue blew them out by 18.  I was so hungover but I’ll never forget that game for the rest of my life.  I expect a good game but see Purdue getting back on the winning track.  I also think Minnesota will continue to climb in the standings and put on good showings against some of the conference’s big dogs.  The Golden Gophers will definitely make things very interesting this year in the Big Ten.

Wisconsin @ Michigan State


It certainly was a cold night in Michigan Tuesday night.  As the Wisconsin Badgers traveled to neighboring state Michigan to face the Michigan State Spartans in a Big Ten battle.

Michigan State started off rather slow and the Badgers jumped out and took an early lead that lasted up until the final remaining minutes of the game.  It looked as if Bo Ryan and his Badgers were going to accomplish their sixth straight win over the Spartans.  Suddenly the Spartans made some huge baskets and tied the score as the final seconds came to a close sending the game into overtime.

Michigan State ended up winning 64-61 in impressive fashion. The Spartans so far have been a team of huge confusion.  Now their record sits at 11-5, not bad, but they dropped what should have been a rather easy game against Penn State earlier this week.  I’m not taking anything away from the Nittany Lions, as I’ve said they’re a team that can make things interesting in the Big Ten.  And, I continue to respect and have high regards for the Spartans. Tom Izzo always has a tough team and they know how to win big games.  And boy did they need a big win tonight against Wisconsin.

The Spartans did an excellent job on the defensive side of the ball all game long and held Jon Leuer to only 10 points the entire game.  I think this was their key to success tonight.  As a Purdue fan I wasn’t quite sure which team I wanted to win tonight and decided that seeing a good game is what I wanted to see.  I got what I wanted and was also able to do a bit of scouting for some upcoming games against the Boilers.  I think both teams could give Purdue some trouble with their big men and lack of depth at the big man position.  However, I think match-ups at the 1-3 positions are going to be fun to watch.  I still think Michigan State will finish second (Possibly tie for first) in the Big Ten and Wisconsin in the top 3.  Overall I saw really good things from both teams tonight. Yes, they both have much room to grow and improve but by Big Ten tourney time I think Wisconsin will still take that title and I look for both teams to make deep runs in March!

Big Ten Brutes


It’s no lie that the Big Ten is a tough conference.  The Big Ten currently has 5 teams ranked in the top 25 (ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll) and 1 team receiving votes.  To me this is impressive.  Only the  Big East has more ranked teams with 8, and that’s out of a 16 team conference.   I would be surprised to see the Big Ten  pick up any more ranked teams starting conference play.  The Big Ten is going to beat the crap out of each other…literally.  As for the Big East, I see them losing ranked teams as conference play continues.

When I look at the Big Ten a few teams stick out to me.  Of course Purdue, Michigan State, and Ohio State.  Some might be questioning my mentioning of Michigan St.  Yes, it’s true that they’ve only posted a sub par 9-4 record but remember their strength of schedule.  Tom Izzo even said that he was concerned with the amount of miles he was putting on his team traveling wise earlier this season, let alone the opponents they were playing (Duke, Uconn, Syracuse, and Texas who are all ranked).  Michigan State is and will continue to be a tough team to beat.  A lot of people seem to be selling Purdue short still.  That’s fine, I like flying under the radar.  Flying under the radar with a #10 rank isn’t heard of very often.

Ohio State.  Here’s where I’ll probably upset some readers but it’s my blog and this is how I roll.  I don’t see Ohio State holding on to their #2 ranking or even maintaining a top ten rank.  I think Sullinger is relied upon too much by the Buckeyes and this will hurt them come conference play.  The Big Ten is full of top notch big men and I think this will get to Sullinger and frustrate him.  Let me not fail to mention that Ohio State hasn’t played anybody! I see the Buckeyes flopping like a fish out of water once they get into conference play.

I also want to mention some teams to keep an eye out for in the Big Ten.  Illinois(#20), Wisconsin, Michigan, and Northwestern.  Illinois and Wisconsin always find themselves at the top of the conference making runs at the conference title.  Bo Ryan will have his Badgers ready to go every Big Ten game especially at home.  Illinois, let’s face it.  They figure out ways to win better than any other team in the Big Ten.  That’s what they do.  Michigan and Northwestern, well they make me nervous every time my Boilermakers play them. They have players and the ability to upset any team any night.  These two teams are no push over wins for anybody.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see either of these teams finish in the top 5 of the conference.

And…let’s not forget the ferocious Minnesota Gophers.  Currently ranked 21st I see them not winning the conference but making things interesting.  I think the Gophers, led by Coach Tubby Smith, have the potential to beat just about anybody.  They too make me nervous when they play Purdue.  After all, it was at Minnesota where Robbie Hummel tore his ACL! The Boilers ended up winning that game but it was ugly.  Penn State also has the potential to stir things up and make things interesting in the Big Ten.

Due to the tough schedule of the Big Ten I think this year your conference champion will have anywhere from 3 to 4 losses.  Plus, basketball (like all sports) is a funny game and anything can happen.  Here’s how I think the Big Ten will play out:

1-Purdue, 2-Michigan State, 3-Wisconsin, 4-Illinois, 5-Northwestern, 6-Ohio State, 7-Minnesota, 8-Indiana, 9-Michigan, 10-Penn State, 11-Iowa

I also see the Big Ten sending 7, if not 8 teams to the big dance.  Because of how this conference will pan out I think the seeds that these teams earn won’t represent how good they actually are.  And going on a gut feeling I see Wisconsin winning the Big Ten Tournament.