Tag Archive: JaJuan Johnson



A long while ago I posted my Big Ten 2011-2012 predictions.  Well after looking at them recently knowing for certain whose still at their school and what each school is bringing in, recruiting classes, I’m more or less dumbfounded at who I picked to finish where.  I gave some schools way too much credit and really slapped other teams in the face with my rankings.  So, I’m here today to share my revised Big Ten 2011-2012 mens basketball predictions.

1.  Ohio State Buckeyes

I still think it’s hard to argue that the Buckeyes are going to fall off the top.  Yeah so they’re losing one of the best 3 point shooters to ever play the game in Jon Diebler and a very solid defensive play in David Lighty.  But, the Buckeyes are returning their two top scorers and are bringing in 5 freshman that all received a 91 or higher grade from ESPN, including 4 ESPNU 100 players!  This team is going to be a force to be reckoned with this season.  They play games for a reason so we’ll see how they do.  Still expect high expectations from this squad as we all know Thad Matta is going to.

2. Wisconsin Badgers

I’ve moved Wisconsin up dramatically since my last rankings.  The Badgers are losing two of their top three scorers from last season but Jordan Taylor was only .3 ppg away from being the leading scorer for the Badgers….as a point guard.  Other than that the Badgers are bringing back a solid assortment of players including Josh Gasser, Mike Bruesewitz, and Ryan Evans.   As well as their recruiting class that’s pretty decent.  I don’t expect Wisconsin to lose many games at home this season, they do host the Buckeyes which will be very exciting to watch!

3. Michigan Wolverines

The Wolverines also received a very favorable boost since my last rankings.  After looking over their roster and incoming freshman I realized Michigan didn’t lose much.  Well, they lost Darius Morris but, are replacing him with Trey Burke.  Burke is a freshman but has the ability to distribute the ball more than effectively.  If you’re going to judge a player that hasn’t played yet at the point guard position look at Aaron Craft from Ohio State. True freshman last year for the Buckeyes. He was deadly and gave teams much difficulty.  Michigan is also bringing in shooting guard Carlton Brundidge (I see Carlton and instantly think of Fresh Prince of Bellaire).  Brundidge should be a valuable addition to the already decent shooting back court consisting of Zack Novak and Stu Douglas.  The Wolverines are going to surprise a lot of basketball fans that are expecting the same old no good, pushover Wolverines.  They’ll definitely be a fun team to watch!

4. Purdue Boilermakers

I’ve dropped Purdue down two spots. My reasoning? Simple, they lost two of Purdue’s all-time top 5 scorers! With JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore heading to the NBA due to graduating the Boilers are going to need some support players to step up big! Ryne Smith and D.J. Byrd to be exact. The Boilers do regain Robbie Hummel, whose been out due to knee injuries for most of the past two seasons.  I look for Lewis Jackson and Terone Johnson to step up and pick up the scoring loads that were lost from a season ago.  Defensively? I’m not worried about Purdue. They’ve always played tough, in your face, man-to-man defense that forces a ton of turnovers and I don’t see that changing any time soon.  This season for the Boilermakers is filled with many many question marks.  We’ll see how this squad performs but I still see them finishing with a moderate but successful season.

5. Indiana Hoosiers

Cody Zeller. IU's hot commodity

The Hoosiers also fall back a bit.  Let’s be honest. IU can’t do any worse this season than they did last year.  They’re not losing any of their top 5 scorers from last year and are bringing in an outstanding power forward Cody Zeller.  Zeller should help the Hoosiers out defensively and should be a factor on the offensive end of the floor as well.  Jordan Hulls returns and always seems to fire the Hoosiers up with his hustle play, which is underrated in my mind.  I love hustle players that produce as well.  I don’t see the Hoosiers going on the road to any of the top 4 on this list and beating them, except possibly Purdue due to their rivalry.  Expect good, not great, things out of the Hoosiers this season.  It’s almost a guarantee they’ll be much better than in seasons past.  Cheer up Hoosiers and enjoy a good season!

6. Illinois Fighting Illini

Yes, I realize the Illini are loosing 3 out of 3 of their top scorers from last season.  They’re also loosing Jereme Richmond to the draft.  Richmond had a lot of talent and even more potential to become and Illinois great, but left early for the draft. This could hurt the Illini. However, Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson are coming back and look to lead this team.  The Illini are also bringing in an NCAA top 15 recruiting class according to ESPN.  This class includes 4 ESPNU 100 recruits.  Not only are they ESPNU 100 recruits they also fill positions the Illini needed to fill! They’ll be tossed into the mix early but one can expect them to learn and handle it well.  This will absolutely be more of a learning season for Illinois but it’ll still be more successful than the other half of the conference, no doubt.

7. Minnesota Golden Gophers

It wouldn’t surprise me if the Gophers creep up just a little bit and possibly tie with Illinois or IU.  I believe the former is bound to happen though.  But, for this post I have them ranked at 7.  Minnesota returns their leading scorer Trevor Mbakwe but lose Blake Hoffarber.  Al Nolen is also gone from the mix but thankfully Ralph Sampson III is returning too.  The Gophers are returning a decent lineup but are adding two ESPNU 100 incoming freshman. Both play shooting guard and should split Blake Hoffarber’s spot last season.  They won’t be quite the leader Hoffarber was but they’ll split his scoring and be valuable 3rd option scorers.  I still think the Gophers have much growing to do but think they’ll be alright this coming season.

8. Michigan State Spartans

The Spartans dropped significantly from my last prediction post.  I didn’t realize how many players Michigan State lost (Kalin Lucas, Durrell Summers, Korie Lucious, Delvon Roe, and some others).  The fore mentioned players were all valuable to the Spartans, and they still somehow accomplished underachieving dramatically last year.  Tom Izzo is bringing in a small class as well, but it does include an ESPNU 100 shooting forward Branden Dawson.  I predict it’s going to be a very stressful, learning season for the Spartans and their fans.  What makes it worse is that it starts with the Carrier Classic against #1 ranked North Carolina on November 11!  Get ready Spartan fans, this could be a long season for you.

9. Northwestern Wildcats

John Shurna will undoubtedly lead this team.  With Michael Thompson gone whose going to fill the distraction + productive role for the Wildcats? Drew Crawford? Incoming freshman PG Tre Demps? Honestly I have no idea.  I do know one thing though, Northwestern always seems to play teams extremely tough at home.  Including an upset against Purdue a couple seasons ago.  We’ll see how they finish but I don’t expect them to make the NCAA tournament but could see them having a presence in the NIT.

10. Nebraska Cornhuskers

They’re losing their top scorer from last season, Lance Jeter, who averaged 11.7 ppg.  That’ll force Jorge Brian Diaz to step up and put up bigger numbers for the Cornhuskers.  Losing 2 of their top 3 scorers + only a decent recruiting class + playing in a new conference = very moderate/disappointing season.  I still like their odds compared to Penn State and Iowa though!

12.  Iowa Hawkeyes and Penn State

I skipped to 12 because this is a tie to me.  Both teams have very little talent returning from last season. The talent they do have returning can be great team leaders and producers but in this conference it takes more than just one guy for a team to finish high.  Mix in the inexperienced incoming freshman and you have recipes for disaster.  Again, I don’t have much hope for these two teams, unfortunately for Iowa and Penn State faithful.  Even more unfortunate I’m probably correct with these assumptions.

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Purdue


It’s very disappointing to write this post, as I’m a Purdue fan.  However, I think I have to bite the bullet and explain why Purdue was eliminated and failed to make the Sweet 16.

  1. Purdue played shitty defense Sunday night.  VCU shot about 60% from the field. Purdue played with zero authority on either end of the floor. Their is no way VCU should have scored 94 points! Purdue’s defense is what carried them through the season and led to their 26 wins.  Along with playing with zero authority Purdue played without a sense of intensity or urgency.  They also looked extremely slow and it seemed as if they had their feet stuck in cement for the entire game.  They played like they were scared as well as lost.
  2. Not only did they not play defense they didn’t make easy layups or open shots.  Yeah they shot 45% from the field but there were way too many times when Purdue had easy layups that they missed, and they didn’t have anybody crashing the boards because they should’ve been easy 2-pointers.  Disappointing to be a Purdue fan tonight.
  3. Just like on the defensive end Purdue played with zero intensity or authority on the offensive end.  JaJuan Johnson didn’t go hard to the rim and expected to get calls.  They didn’t deserve them the way they “attacked” the rim. I use attack lightly because that’s the complete opposite of what they were doing.
  4. Overall, Purdue played lousy basketball
  5. E’Twaun Moore didn’t show up.  He only scored 10 points on 5 field goals. He didn’t attempt a free throw and was 0-3 from behind the arc.

    Moore's subpar 10 point game isn't how the senior expected to leave Purdue

  6. JaJuan Johnson needed more help from his Senior pal E’Twaun.  Johnson had 25 points but wasn’t a presence on the defensive end of the floor like he was all year.
  7. Ryne Smith couldn’t do it by himself.  He had 20 points but needed help from his teammates to set him screens to get him more open looks.
  8. Just a thought here: If I was Robbie Hummel I would kill E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson.  The senior leader was in tears at the end of the game and I strongly believe that Robbie cares more than Johnson and Moore combined.
  9. Moore and Johnson leave Purdue as two of the top 5 scorers in Purdue history

    Moore and Johnson may have been seeing dollar signs, they sure played like they didn’t care and without heart (I can’t say that too positively though, I’m angry/disappointed/heated, I’ll most likely retract these harsh statements later).

  10. VCU played one hell of a game and I take nothing away from the Rams.  I’ll be on your side the rest of the way.  Good Luck to the VCU Rams.

Although this is a disappointing loss I look forward to next year.  Robbie Hummel says he’ll be back and I like the guys already on the squad, plus we have some really good looking freshman coming in.  Yeah, we lose E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson but they’re moving on to bigger things and I think their hearts might be in other places now.  I wish them both luck in their future endeavors.

Rodriguez's double-double helped VCU topple Purdue enroute to the sweet 16

Thoughts on 1st Round thus Far


The first two actual days aren’t even at a close yet and its already been a crazy 2nd (round of 64) round.  Here I’m going to share my thoughts on what made certain teams successful up to this point and what hurt some teams.

Morehead State

Kenneth Faried led the Eagles this season with 17.5 ppg.

Whoever called Morehead St. over Louisville is either lucky or knew something the rest of us didn’t know.  I’m running a poll and not one person picked Morehead St to advance.  I didn’t watch this game (and if I did I was too busy celebrating St. Patricks Day).  I was certain that Coach Pitino would have his guys motivated and ready to go for in the state match up.  I guess I was wrong. But that’s why I love March Madness!I’m sure Dick Vitale is shaking is head after picking Louisville to go the Final Four!

Richmond

I’m sure a lot of people had Richmond and honestly that wasn’t too much of a surprise.  The Spiders knocked off my Boilermakers at the beginning of the season (at a neutral site) so I knew the Spiders could play some ball.  I look forward to seeing them advance to the Sweet 16.  Richmond needs to stay hot from behind the arc against Morehead St. I think if they can do that they’ll advance pretty easily to set up a possible match up with Kansas.

Cincinnati

Yancy Gates has been the Bearcats go to man all season. In order for Cincy to be successful Gates needs to bring his A game

The Bearcats played one heck of a game yesterday.  I watched parts of and was very impressed.  Yancy Gates took his game to a new level and helped is team advance to the next round.  I find it funny that this victory for the Bearcats was considered by most an upset.  They are a 6 seed playing an 11.  Personally I had Mizzou winning and after that game I realize that I was very wrong.  The Big East match up against Uconn should be fun to watch.  If I remember correctly the last time these two teams played Uconn rallied late in the game to come back against the Bearcats in Cincy.  Look out for the Bearcats in the next round.  I think they’re playing well enough to possibly catch an exhausted Huskies team off guard and pull of the so called upset.

Michigan

Tim Hardaway Jr. is Michigan's leader. Look for him to give his team a lift against the Blue Devils

How about those Wolverines! Or should we ask what happened to Tennessee? I know they were going through all that crap about Coach Pearl but come on.  A 9 seed getting beat by 30 points in the 1st round is unacceptable.  Good job Selection Committee, another terrible job.  Give props to Michigan though for coming out and shooting the ball very well and playing some good tough defense.  I don’t have much hope for Michigan against Duke but boy will I be rooting for the Wolverines.

Purdue

Of course I have to mention Purdue.  The game is currently on and they’re about 4 minutes into the first half.  I’m interested to see how they play without Kelsey Barlow.  As of right now they are playing really shitty.  I’m not pleased with their 4-2 lead going into the under 16 minute time out.  I’m sure my Boilers will pull through and end up winning but they’re making it tough on themselves with poor shot selection.  They are settling for jump shots which is by no means their game.  They need to work the shot clock and either get into the paint and kick out for the open 3 or drive to the rim and draw some fouls.  That way I can watch the game in a sense of ease instead of anticipation and nervousness….that would be great.  As the game progresses I have a feeling Purdue will settle down and start going inside to JaJuan Johnson, which has been their game and success all year. 

Terone Johnson's name will be called to fill in Kelsey Barlow's place. So far the true freshman has played well and stepped up to the occasion.

It’s currently halftime during the Purdue game and I’m please with their 16 point lead.  Lewis Jackson and Terone Johnson have stepped it up and have played well this half.  Which is great news for the Boilermakers. Keep in an eye for John Hart to get some minutes as both teams start wearing down as the game goes along. I guess Hart was injured after hurting his ankle yesterday in practice.  Disregard anything I said about Hart being an impact this game.  Purdue won impressively but I’m very critical of their play.  I feel like they played too sloppy and could have taken care of the pace and ball better.  Hopefully they can clean their act up in the next round(s).

Purdue does too


Purdue has also met the following criteria to have the best shot of winning the National Championship:

  1. Have a 10 game win streak at some point during the season
  2. Average double digit margin of victory (MoV) wins
  3. ranked in the preseason top 10

Purdue preseason rank: 8

Purdue MoV: 17.88

Purdue Record: 25-5 (14-3 Big Ten)

Purdue RPI: 6

The Boilermakers are a very intriguing team. They are arguably the hottest team as of right now and have put together quite an impressive season.  After losing Robbie Hummel there were a lot of questions as to how the Boilers would respond. Are they going to pack it up and wait til next year when Robbie’s back? Who is going to be their third scorer? Those are just a couple questions many fans and experts had.

I’ll admit that I did not expect Purdue to play as well as they have of late.  I predicted earlier that Purdue would win the Big Ten, I was close but I have to say my heart wasn’t 100% confident in that prediction.  But Matt Painter and his crew has stepped up to the plate and have answered most of the questions we all had.

However, one question still remains for me.  Who is the third go to guy?  Throughout the season different key players have risen to the occasion and helped propel Purdue to a victory.  DJ Byrd had an amazing game at Wisconsin, but the Boilers barely fell short.  Ryne Smith has continued to knock down threes shooting .448% from behind the arc.  Lewis Jackson, who I used to get nervous about when he was handling the ball, has come up big in multiple games.  Not only as a scorer but as a team leader.  Terone Johnson has done some great things as well with his solid defense and streaky 3 point shooting.  Two guys I think everyone should keep an eye out for in the tournament are John Hart and Kelsey Barlow.  Barlow has the ability to lock down any offensive great and hold them scoreless.  The kid can also jump and has a very quick first step.  If he can get close to the hoop you know he can throw it down.  But, sometimes he can play lackadaisically and doesn’t have much of a jump shot (at least he hasn’t shown it yet if he does).  John Hart is that player that comes form nowhere and hits big shots.  My dad knows a lot about basketball and really likes this kid.  He knows talent when he sees it. I think Purdue’s lack of a solid 3rd scorer is actually a good thing, as long as everyone keeps taking turns stepping up and helping out Moore and Johnson

E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson after their Senior Night Win over the Illinois Fighting Illini

Unsurprisingly the Boilermakers success lies in the Hands of the two senior superstars, E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson.  JaJuan Johnson is averaging 20.5 ppg and 8.0 rpg.  Johnson’s ability to knock down any shot from every spot on the floor makes him literally impossible to stop.  Not only is his presence felt on the offensive end of the floor.  JaJuan is also averaging 2.4 blocks/game.  Including a 7 block game against Michigan State on February 27th.  In that game he also scored 20 points and had 17 rebounds!  I think Johnson should win the Big Ten Player of the Year and should be considered for the National player of the Year.

E’Twaun Moore on more than one occasion has shown his ability to put the ball in the bucket in pressure situations.  He has also shown that he can take over a game and pretty much win it single handedly.  He did so in 38 point performance against then #3 Ohio State.  I think Moore is catching his stride and at a very good time.  We need him to stay hot and help his buddy Johnson lead the Boilers to a hopeful Final Four run.

Before the season started when Robbie Hummel was still healthy everyone had Purdue making the Final Four and a possible championship appearance.  I would like to take a second to recognize Matt Painter’s efforts this season.  He took a team that was demoralized when their star player went down for the season and led them to a 25-5 record and a possible repeat of co-conference champs (need a win against Iowa and Wisconsin to beat Ohio State this weekend) and thoughts of a possibly still making a Final Four run.  I think Matt Painter should also be recognized for consideration for Big Ten and National Coach of the Year.  During a brief conversation with my dad last night he pointed out that Purdue, with the likes of the two senior superstars/supporting cast/and Matt Painter, still have a “legitimate” shot at winning the National Title.  As I said earlier, I’m not sure I agree with my dad and Jay Williams who think they have a shot to win it all.  However, I hope they’re right and I have confidence that Purdue will make it to the Final Four!

And this is for all you Purdue fans out there that still back your team 100% and still have hope! Enjoy! (thanks dad)

Jimmer Fredette and BYU


As I watch Brigham Young University and San Diego State University a couple of thoughts on how far I think each team will go in the tournament come to mind. BYU and SDSU haven’t quite impressed me as much as they have everyone else.  I mean no disrespect towards either team in my analysis, I just want to point out some weaknesses that I think will catch up to them come tourney time.

BYU:  From watching BYU against SDSU I noticed that they rely way too much on the 3 point game.  With 3 minutes left in the game they’ve already chucked up 22 three’s, granted they hit 14 of them at this point.  I know that’s their style of play and they know they can knock down three’s consistently.  What worries me about this is the obvious, all teams at some point have an off game and have a cold shooting night.  I’m not convinced yet that BYU and stick in a game with their post players.  I think if they got far enough in the tournament and went cold they would have trouble with any of the teams in the Big 12, Big East, or the Big Ten.  Another note about BYU’s 3 point game is that they take a lot of bad 3’s, especially Jimmer.  This can obviously hurt them against fast transition teams that like to run.  With long rebounds landing in their opponents hands a lot of fast break points could potentially be scored on them.

I know that playing tough, in your face, defense is tiring for 40 minutes.  But at times I noticed BYU taking breaks, not hustling back, and sometimes playing lackadaisical D.  For obvious reasons you know why this could be bad.  Especially after a missed 3 and a long rebound not getting back on D will kill you.

Even though I’m a Jimmer Fredette fan the kid needs to get the ball out of his hands.  He runs the point and sometimes forces his own shots, which aren’t necessarily good shots.  He’s an amazing player and can score at will it seems but I just think if he didn’t have to run the point and create so many of his own shots BYU would be better off.  To counter that point Jimmer has probably the best court vision in the Mountain West Conference.  In such a big game Fredette put up 25 points and 9 assists! Those are career highs for some guys in different games.  I won’t take anything way from Jimmer but if BYU had the option to set off the ball screens for him he might have a few more open looks.

SDSU:   I haven’t been caught up in the hype of San Diego State all year.  Yeah I find their 27-2 record to be extremely impressive but who have they really played?  I’ll get more into that point for both squads later.  Personally I thought SDSU was too reliant on Kawhi Leonard and D.J. Gay to score.  Last year Purdue proved that only two guys couldn’t get the job done (E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson).  Leonard only averages 15.2 ppg and Gay 12.1, and Malcolm Thomas adds another 11.6 a game.  That’s only 3 players averaging over 10 points a game.  If you add those point totals up between the 3 of them you get 38.9 points per game.  Not that many.  I’m almost positive for SDSU to get far in the tournament these three will have to pick up their point averages per game.  If they can do this and take advantage of the way they share the ball as a team (14 assists/game) I think SDSU may have a chance to show me and all their other nonbelievers up.

I was not impressed with San Diego State’s defense.  I realize they were playing Jimmer Fredette and the high scoring BYU Cougars but I think they could have played better defense.  Too many time Fredette would split two defenders and get himself a 3 point play opportunity.  There was apparently a lack of communication on the defensive end of the floor.  I’m not going to question SDSU’s effort or hustle, it was there, I just don’t think they executed their game plan and it cost them a game.  If they continue to lack communication they will suffer and be knocked out fairly early from the tournament.

BYU and SDSU:   I still question The Mountain West Conference’s toughness and strength of schedule.  Yes, most of the teams have good records but I’m not completely sold that they all play tough non-conference schedules.  For SDSU I only see two solid non-conference victories: Gonzaga, at the time ranked 12th and Wichita State.  Not all that great of a resume.  I just don’t feel as if SDSU deserves as much credit as they have. I would like to see how they would do in lets say the Big 12 or even the Big Ten.  From what I saw today SDSU would be and above average (just above .500) in either of those conferences.  As for BYU, they have what I call 6 solid victories (SDSUx2, UNLVx2, Arizona, and Utah State).  I think they have a more impressive resume but I would still like to see them matched up in either the Big 12 or Big East (I think BYU’s style of play fits a tad better here than in the Big Ten).  With how crazy the Big East this season I think it would be very interesting to see how they would finish.  But, to each teams credit they beat the teams they’re supposed to beat and I can respect that.

I’m really looking forward to see how each team does in the tournament.  I think BYU is very deserving of a 3 seed at the worst, possibly a 2 seed.  As for SDSU, I’m not as convinced and think they deserve a 5 seed.  With these seedings and no idea of what possible match-ups may arise I’m going to go on my gut feeling and make some predictions as to how far I think each team will go.  I think BYU has the better shot making it deep in the tournament. However, with the possibility of them having a cold shooting night I don’t think BYU make it to the Final Four.  I see BYU making it to the Elite 8.  SDSU, I can’t say enough how unimpressed with this squad I am.  Honestly I don’t think they’re that good and depending again on match-ups I think SDSU makes it to the Sweet 16 but wouldn’t be surprised if they do get that 5 seed and they’re the 12:5 seed upset game of the year.


Hey Everyone,

It’s been a few days since I last posted.  Since my last post I attended the Minnesota vs Purdue game in West Lafayette.  I had a blast.  Purdue came out a little slow but you could tell Purdue was getting back to their old ways, playing solid tough defense and making shots to keep a slim lead.  At halftime the Boilers were up by 3 but I had confidence that they would open it up in the second half and send the gophers back to there little dams disappointed.

I was very pleased with the Boilermakers and had a great time watching them win the game.  However, tonight is the game I’m really excited for. I had a gut feeling that Purdue was going to win easy at home against Minnesota.  I was kind of right, they won but it wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be.  Tonight, however, will be a tough one. The Boiler senior class is currently 2-1 at the Kohl Center.  The Boilers seem to know how to win in Madison and I’m hoping they do the same.  Oh and have I mentioned that I will be decked out in my Purdue gear in the Wisconsin student section for tonight’s game? Well I will be and I hope I don’t get killed after Purdue pulls off the win.

I have much confidence after seeing my Purdue Boilermakers in person on Saturday and was able to see how they responded to Coach Painter during timeouts.  Being at the game gives so much more information about teams than watching on TV and I saw a lot of things that I really liked.  Purdue knows whats on the line tonight.  They need this win to maintain any chance of staying up with Ohio State.  They’ve had success in Madison at the Kohl Center and I look for it to be a much closer game than the rest of Wisconsin and America thinks it’s going to be.  I have much faith in Coach Painter and the senior class to get this team fired up and ready to go tonight.  JaJuan Johnson has already said they let one go against Ohio State in Columbus and they don’t want to let any other games go.  They understand the importance of this game and I think America will be in for a treat tonight.

Prediction: Purdue in a close game given the circumstances and importance of the game. Purdue 69 Scotty 67

What Should I do?


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.

Purdue Ballamakers


Purdue basketball is my most favorite thing in the world.  When I was a young basketball player defense was my game.I could stop anybody I was put on and had fun doing it. I personally relate to Purdue’s style. I could also shoot pretty well, something Purdue seems to be struggling with lately but defense is Purdue’s identity.  That’s what Purdue basketball is known for, solid pressure D.

This year was supposed to be the Boilermakers year. I thought they were under ranked with their preseason ranking before Hummel re-tore his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and I was for sure Purdue was going to win the National Championship.  But, that’s the great thing about Purdue basketball.  Once Hummel went down everybody dropped Purdue from their list of teams that could make a final four run in March 2011.  However, Purdue fans still knew they had a chance.  Matt Painter coaches team basketball and it shows. Purdue is currently ranked 17th in assists averaging 17.7 assists/game.

We also still have JaJuan Johnson and E’twaun Moore.  It’s no lie to Boiler nation that the Boilermakers are better with Hummel but not down and out! Both Johnson and Moore are averaging over 19 points/game.  Two scorers averaging almost 20 points a game? that’s not too bad at all.  All they need is a little bit of a supporting cast right? So far, that’s been Purdue’s biggest problem.  We haven’t had somebody step up consistently and show that they’re the go to guy when Moore and Johnson are being held in check.  Sure, Hart and Barlow have shown signs of being that guy but neither have stepped up every game thus far.  And then you have Terone Johnson, our own little diaper dandy.  With more experience he’ll be a great player but he’s no Josh Selby from Kansas.  He’s not going to be able to win us a ball game single handedly. I don’t think he quite has the composure just yet to do something like that.

Now, I’m not saying that Purdue is going to crash and burn because they don’t have that 3rd role scorer.  There’s still time. Like I’ve said, Hart and Barlow have shown glimmers of hope and Terone is going to be great and is a very good option as a scorer now.  The two guys that we really need to step up and make buckets this season are our outside shooters; D.J. Byrd and Ryne Smith.  They need to pick it up and start shooting consistently to take some pressure off Johnson inside and by shooting well from the outside the defense will have to step out and guard and won’t be able to pack the lane.  In turn this will open up more space for Moore to beat his man off the dribble and open up cutting lanes.

Purdue’s success solely relies on their ability to play solid defense (which I know they will) and on Byrd’s and Smith’s consistency from the outside.  Smith showed great potential and guts in the conference opener against Michigan scoring 17 to go along with Johnson’s 22 and Moore’s 20.  If Smith can continue to produce like this I look forward to Purdue putting up big numbers and becoming a favorite to win the Big 10 and to make a run to the final four in March!