Tag Archive: Robbie Hummel



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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As the 2011-2012 mens college basketball season is quickly approaching I’m starting to think more and more of which players I, and the rest of the world, should watch for.  So far I’ve only taken a look at the Big Ten and have come up with the top 21 players I think will have the biggest impacts for their teams.  Obviously the #1 player I believe will have the biggest impact and is the guy everyone should pay the most attention to.

Michigan Wolverines

Name

2010-2011 stats

Points/game

Rebounds/game

Assists/game

FG %

FT %

#1 Tim Hardaway Jr.

13.9

3.8

1.7

.420

.765

# 17 Zach Novak

*3Pt %=.385

8.9

5.8

1.6

.383

.831

Tim Hardaway Jr. I feel will have the biggest impact for his team in the Big Ten.  He’s young and committed to being a star.  I foresee his near 14 ppg last season to rise significantly as he’ll have to take on more of a scoring load for the Wolverines.  When this starts happening I see teams keying him and doing their best to take away as many scoring opportunities from him as possible forcing him to distribute the ball to his teammate Zach Novak.  As you can see Novak basically shot 39% from behind the arc for Michigan last season.  That’s one heck of an average  and if he can keep that up it’ll be a great season for the Wolverines and their fans.

Ohio State Buckeyes

Name

2010-2011 stats

Points/game

Rebounds/game

Assists/game

FG %

FT %

#2 Jared Sullinger

17.2

10.2

1.2

.541

.784

#11 William Buford

14.4

3.9

2.9

.462

.843

Jared Sullinger was possibly the best player in the Big Ten last season. He’s unarguably the best freshman in the Big Ten. He’s back for round two with the Buckeyes and I’m interested to see how he responds to such a successful first season with the Buckeyes.  He averaged a double-double last season and I don’t see that to change much.  However, his points per game may drop a bit for I see teams working on doubling him up when he gets the ball down low.  The only thing that worries me about Sullinger is his Field Goal percentage.  For a big man he shoots just over 50%.  This is absolutely something that he needs to improve.  Ohio State also has 5th year senior William Buford returning to help lead the Buckeyes.  With the anticipation of double teams on Sullinger I see Buford’s role in scoring to go up.  Aaron Craft, the Buckeyes point guard, will have many options, as he did last season, to distribute the ball to. Having these two guys back increases your chances to succeed significantly.

Purdue Boilermakers

Boiler fans look forward to seeing this image erased from memory when Hummel takes to the court this season

Name

2010-2011 stats

Points/game

Rebounds/game

Assists/game

FG %

FT %

#3 Robbie Hummel

*2009-2010 stats

15.7

6.9

2.1

.456

.902

#9 Lewis Jackson

8

3.2

4

.503

.716

#15 Jacob Lawson

Incoming Freshman

Robbie Hummel is undoubtedly a huge key to success for the Boilermakers this season.  When thinking back to last season if Robbie Hummel wouldn’t have gotten hurt I think the Big Ten would have turned out quite differently and Purdue would have made the Final Four.  It will definitely be interesting to see how Robbie comes out of his second tear to his ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament).  The Boilermakers will be leaning on his leadership and abilities no doubt.  Lewis Jackson also surprised many critics last season with his terrific play. He took much better care of the ball than in past years and also became a well accepted 3rd/4th option scorer.  I only see Jackson picking up where he left off and his skills and knowledge of the game are vital for the Boilermakers to have success this upcoming season.  As for Jacob Lawson, it’s been rumored that he’ll be the starting at center for the Boilermakers.  For those unaware Lawson too is coming off a knee injury he suffered last season (high school).  Lawson was the top ranked recruit Purdue has coming in and big things are expected out of him early.

Minnesota Gophers

Name

2010-2011 stats

Points/game

Rebounds/game

Assists/game

FG %

FT %

#4 Trevor Mbakwe

13.9

10.5

1.3

.582

.629

#7 Ralph Sampson III

10.2

5.4

1.6

.471

.739

Minnesota may struggle this season with the loss of Hofbarber.  With this well known fact to Tubby Smith and his team they’ll need both Mbakwe and Sampson III to step up big and take not only huge leadership roles but they’ll both need to take on an extra emphasis on scoring.  These two are no doubt impact players and should be fun to watch this year.  With Minnesota’s home court advantage it should be very interesting to see how these two can control games and put up big numbers to lead their Golden Gophers to victories.

Wisconsin Badgers

Name

2010-2011 stats

Points/game

Rebounds/game

Assists/game

FG %

FT %

#5 Jordan Taylor

18.1

4.1

4.7

.433

.832

# 14 Mike Bruesewitz

4.6

3.1

1

.471

.759

The Wisconsin Badgers are losing some key players from last season. Mainly Jon Leuer.  Jordan Taylor posted an impressive 18 ppg last season at the point guard position.  It’s going to be very interesting to see how he responds to losing two other top 5 scores from last season’s squad.  Taylor has the ability to get through the lane and to the bucket. He also has the finishing ability to drive opposing coaches crazy.  It’s no secret that Mike Bruesewitz is going to have to step his game up to support Taylor and Bo Ryan in hopes of obtaining the Big Ten Title and a deep run into the NCAA Tournament. Bruesewitz is mostly known as a hustle player and his determination and hustle helps boost his value for the Badgers.  If he can improve his game and mix his improved skills with his hustle and determination he’ll be a much more valuable asset to Bo Ryan and his teammates.

Indiana Hoosiers

Name

2010-2011 stats

Points/game

Rebounds/game

Assists/game

FG %

FT %

#6 Cody Zeller

*Incoming Freshman

#8 Christian Watford

16

5.4

1.1

.422

.843

#12 Verdell Jones III

12.5

3.3

3.2

.448

.672

Cody Zeller is one of the highest, top-ranked recruits for this incoming freshman class.  His impact on the Hoosiers could play a huge factor on how well the Hoosiers do this season.  Watford averaged 16 ppg and Verdell averaged 12.5 ppg.  If Zeller is even half the player people expect him to be I look for these numbers to drop just a bit.  However, I think Watford’s rebounds per game need to improve if the Hoosiers want consistent success, especially in Big Ten play, this season.  Verdell’s shooting percentage as a guard alarms me.  His low percentage explains all too well IU’s recent lack of success.  If Zeller plays halfway up to expectations, Watford increases his boards per game, and Jones III increases his shooting percentage by taking better shots and getting to the basketball Indiana  could pull off one of the biggest turn a rounds in any program’s history.

Illinois Fighting Illini

Name

2010-2011 stats

Points/game

Rebounds/game

Assists/game

FG %

FT %

#10 Brandon Paul

9

3.1

2.1

.399

.767

# 16 D.J. Richardson

8.4

1.8

1.9

.415

.758

The Fighting Illini lost a bunch of valuable assets from last year’s team.   Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson both have the ability to step their game up to the point where they lead Illinois to a very successful season. Both of these players being guards they’ll have to up their rebounds per game to help the weak inside game of this team.  These two players will also be forced to pick up the scoring responsibilities if they want team success this year.  One place to start, improve free throw shooting.  Shooting 75% from the charity stripe isn’t bad but both players need to step it up a few notches and take advantage of the opportunities presented to them at the free throw line.

Northwestern Wildcats

Name

2010-2011 stats

Points/game

Rebounds/game

Assists/game

FG %

FT %

#13 John Shurna

*3pt %= .434

16.6

4.9

2.6

.481

.707

As in the recent past Northwestern’s  success depends on the play of John Shurna.  Shurna has the ability to light up the score board from behind the arc. If he gets hot he’s almost unstoppable.  His field goal and three point percentages are both higher than 40% which is every coaches dream.  If Shurna and the Wildcats can catch a few more breaks they’ll have a chance to surprise many teams in the Big Ten this season.  Shurna, if healthy, is always a ton of fun to watch and I’ll be keeping my eyes out for him throughout the season.  Look for Shurna to turn to his shooting abilities to lead the Wildcats to some interesting upsets.

Michigan State Spartans

Name

2010-2011 stats

Points/game

Rebounds/game

Assists/game

FG %

FT %

#18 Draymond Green

17.6

8.6

4.1

.426

.683

With Michigan State losing most of its scoring from last season the Spartans are going to have to rely on Draymond Green to step up and take on the scoring load. 17.6 points per game is a lot but he, and the Spartans, are going to need more.  Michigan States Success depends on Green’s success.

Team Name Rank
Iowa Matt Gatens # 19
Nebraska Jorge Brian Diaz # 20
Penn State Tim Frazier # 21

These three teams need these players to step up and lead them on their journey this upcoming season.  In order for these teams to have any success they each need their main/star player to have strong seasons in hopes of making it into the pool for the NCAA Tournament.

For your liking to compare these players in their play last year (or otherwise specified).

Name 2010-2011 stats Points/game Rebounds/game Assists/game FG % FT %
#1 Tim Hardaway Jr.

13.9

3.8

1.7

.420

.765

#2 Jared Sullinger

17.2

10.2

1.2

.541

.784

#3 Robbie Hummel

*2009-2010 stats

15.7

6.9

2.1

.456

.902

#4 Trevor Mbakwe

13.9

10.5

1.3

.582

.629

#5 Jordan Taylor

18.1

4.1

4.7

.433

.832

#6 Cody Zeller

*Incoming Freshman

#7 Ralph Sampson III

10.2

5.4

1.6

.471

.739

#8 Christian Watford

16

5.4

1.1

.422

.843

#9 Lewis Jackson

8

3.2

4

.503

.716

#10 Brandon Paul

9

3.1

2.1

.399

.767

#11 William Buford

14.4

3.9

2.9

.462

.843

#12 Verdell Jones III

12.5

3.3

3.2

.448

.672

#13 John Shurna

*3pt %= .434

16.6

4.9

2.6

.481

.707

# 14 Mike Bruesewitz

4.6

3.1

1

.471

.759

#15 Jacob Lawson

Incoming Freshman


It’s no secret that the Big Ten is one of the most brutal conferences to play in. Whether it be football or basketball there always seems to be that under dog that surprises everyone at home against the top ranked team in the conference.

 

In this post I’m going to lay out the toughest places to play in the Big Ten.  I’ll state that the numbers that I’ve found could be a tad bit off but are none the less accurate and are from the recent past (starting at 2004 or even later). However, the teams overall history and home court advantage/presence was taken into thought when writing this post.  Without further ado here’s my list of the Big Ten toughest places to play!

1.  Wisconsin. 

The Badgers hold a modest 85-35 conference record dating back from 2004 to the present.  The only other team to match that many wins in the same time is Ohio State.  I’ve been to a game inside the Kohl Center and the noise level is crazy! What’s even more impressive about the game I attended in Wisconsin was that there was literally a blizzard going on.  Fans still showed up to support the Badgers in a close win last season (2010-2011) over the Purdue Boilermakers.  The fans make the home court advantage for the Badgers and they show up game in and game out regardless of weather and lay into the opposing team with heated hatred (but respectful) and support for their home team!

2. Indiana

Indiana has a terrible recent record in the Big Ten (32-56). But, that’s during the Tom Crean and Kelvin Sampson eras.  Which, to say the least, have been overwhelmingly disappointing for IU fans for the past 5 seasons.  However, contrary to the recent past of IU’s basketball program it’s hard to argue that Assembly Hall in Bloomington is one of the toughest, and many could argue the toughest, arenas to play in.  IU has possibly the most loyal fans of any college basketball team out there and they show that every game that’s played in Assembly Hall.   Regardless  of IU’s lack of success recently they play their best and even better than their abilities when they play in Assembly Hall.  That’s why I rank IU so high. 

3. Michigan State

The Spartans boast a very respectable 79-41 conference record in the past seven seasons.  During this time they’ve posted six 20+ win seasons and one at 19 wins.  What Tom Izzo has done at Michigan State is remarkable and when visiting the Breslin Student Events Center you can bet your butt it’s going to be a tough battle! Sparty and his fans bring their all every game and let the opposing team know it.  Earning them the 3rd toughest place to play in the Big Ten!

4. Three way tie between Ohio State, Illinois, and Purdue.  I couldn’t decide on which team really deserves the 4th toughest place to play outright.  I’m leaning more towards Purdue and Ohio State but Illinois sneaks in there with it’s crazy student fan section! 

Ohio State ties Wisconsin with the best conference record since 2004-2005 season with a 85-35 record.  Illinois has a 70-50 and Purdue boasts a humble 63-37 conference record (since 2005-2006).  I’ve been to a couple games in Mackey Arena and I have to say the student section is insane! The atmosphere is awesome and makes the game heck for an opposing fan/team and much more enjoyable for home fans and the team.  I’ve never been able to attend a game at Ohio State or Illinois but I can only imagine how the atmosphere would be inside those arenas. 

If I had to choose a team out of this bunch to hold the #4 spot alone I’d go with Purdue.  For those who didn’t know Purdue has the most Big Ten Titles with 22 and is the ONLY team in the Big Ten to hold winning records against ALL other Big Ten teams. Yes, that takes talent, however, you need some advantage, motivation, and help and the Boilermaker fans give them that edge every game inside Mackey Arena. 

7.  Another tie between Michigan and Minnesota

It’s no doubt that these two schools are incredibly difficult to beat at home. With Michigan’s increasing success and young talent obtaining victories in Crisler Arena (please correct if spelling is off there) will become even more difficult.  But, what makes home court advantage home court advantage? The fans.  These two schools’ fans are incredible and give them a slight advantage every home game.  I’ve ranked these two arenas so low due to the lack of rich rich history.  However, that can change and it wouldn’t surpise me if it does.  I also have Minnesota here because they always seem to be upsetting top of the conference teams at home. Last season (2010-2011) they upset Purdue and the year before Robbie Hummel tore his ACL during this game in Williams Arena aka The Barn.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see more upsets happen in these stadiums in the near future. 

9.  Northwestern and Penn State…..yes another tie.

It’s difficult to distinguish who should be where after a certain point with these rankings as I can personally see either team in any of these ties holding the same spot.  However, neither of these teams have boasted incredible conference records. Especially at home.  Though, Northwestern is unarguably improving and have some special upsets in the recent past and have held many, thought to be, power schools close.  Penn State is on the same page as Northwestern to me.  This could all change with Ed Dechellis and Taylor Battle leaving the program.  Dechellis resigned as Head Coach and Taylor Battle graduated. This could effect fan morale and fan support.  However, that’s the future and not history….which this post is focused on. 

11. Believe it or not another tie!

Iowa and Nebraska.  Iowa is no doubt rebuilding it’s basketball program and has a decent fan base. But, I’m not sold that they have much, if any, home court advantage behind their backs. As for Nebraska this will be their first season in the Big Ten.  They don’t have much experience against Big Ten schools and I’m not convinced that they’ll have much of an advantage at home against many schools in the Big Ten.

That’s all I have for this post. I hope you enjoyed it and I’m more than open to hearing any comments or thoughts!

Thanks for reading everyone


Painter decided to stay at Purdue. He signed a contract through the 2018-19 season. Other terms were not disclosed.

After a few days of anticipation for Purdue fans Matt Painter has finally made his decision to stay in West Lafayette as Purdue’s mens basketball coach. Purdue and Matt Painter agreed to a contract extension through the 2018-19 season, with $2.3 million guaranteed each year plus incentives for performance.

Painter gave the Purdue faithful a scare after meeting with Missouri AD Mike Alden to discuss the commitment of the Athletic Department towards it’s mens basketball program. According to the Kansas City Star Missouri was offering Painter a 7 year $2 million contract.  Purdue then countered with another offer making their intentions clear that they wanted Painter to stay in West Lafayette.

Purdue didn’t help the situation for fans by releasing news that they contacted Greg Lansing of Indiana State. However, I think Purdue was playing the same game Painter was in a way.  They made it known that they wanted Painter (Painter obviously was playing the market for more money) but Purdue also made it clear that they would move on without him.  I think Purdue’s Athletic Director and other Athletic Department Officials played this right.  They made a statement making it clear they “WANTED” Painter but didn’t “NEED” Painter.

Some reports and rumors claimed that Painter would leave for more money and a greater commitment towards winning a National Championship from the Missouri Athletic Department.  I’m sure many fans, I know one for sure, that may be angry with Painter for even considering leaving Purdue.

Purdue fans have something to cheer about knowing that their coach Matt Painter is in West Lafayette until 2018-19.

I’ve thought about loyalties and staying faithful to a program but let’s get real. Painter was making $1.3 million a year. A sound living.  But, there’s more to it. You have to think about other resources being given to Painter and his staff.  Another blog I read made a good point.  I can’t remember exactly how he stated this but it went something like this.  Let’s say a Purdue assistant (who is predominantly in charge of recruiting) is getting paid $90k and is providing for his family and has to travel as much as they do.  Some would say 90K is a lot of money and I would agree.  But traveling costs a lot of money.  If another program comes and offers this same assistant to do the same exact job(s) and pays them $150k, what would you do?

I’m pretty sure any honest American would take the pay raise.  I know I would.  All in all I’m not mad at Painter.  Personally, I think he wants what is best for himself, his assistants, his players, and the Purdue basketball program.  To get that he needed a high level of commitment from the Athletic Department and when terms are released I think we’ll hear something about that too.

Purdue has already started with a higher level of commitment towards athletics.  They are currently in the process of constructing facilities that are top notch for their athletes.  The best news of all to come of this is that Robbie Hummel will definitely be back for next season.  Purdue fans can still be excited and confident about their basketball program.


Matt Painter continues to leave Boilermaker fans wondering the future of their beloved basketball program

Painter met with Missouri Athletic Director Mike Alden today in Orlando, Florida where he was on vacation.  Painter did not leave on the private flight back to Missouri with Alden.  Also, no decisions have been made by Painter and his future.  It is known that Painter left Orlando shortly for West Lafayette.  This could be bad news for Boiler Nation.

Painter not leaving for Missouri could mean a few things.  1) He wants to talk to his players about him leaving.  Most coaches do not just up and leave without talking to their players.  No matter how hard it is to tell them you’re leaving.  2) It’s also known that Matt is meeting with Purdue officials.  However, he is not meeting with Purdue AD Morgan Burke.  To me this means he’s not willing to talk more offers and has most likely already made his decision.  3) Painter has to get his things and move his family.  It seems hard to believe that he would leave but according to sources close to the Kansas City Star the odds favor Painter taking the Missouri job.  4) All this talk means nothing and Painter wants to get back to work in West Lafayette and get more money out of Purdue.

My feelings are that Painter is leaving.  There’s no reason why he should be taking this long to make a decision. Even if he is just trying to get money from Purdue.  He’s coaching at his alma mater and is comfortable with where he is at this point at Purdue.  Once Purdue put more money on the table he should have accepted it if he was going to stay.  The simple delay in his decision makes me wonder about his loyalty to the Purdue program.

I’m not really worried about losing Painter.  There’s a ton of new young coaches that are looking for big time jobs.  I’ve mentioned a few already but I’ll reiterate a few I wouldn’t mind seeing at Purdue if a coaching change is needed.  Shaka Smart (VCU), Brad Stevens (Butler, most likely wouldn’t leave), Steve Lavin (St. John’s), Greg Lansing (Indiana State), and there are a bunch of others that could be a good fit for Purdue. The coaching situation is the least of my worries for Purdue right now.

Robbie Hummel's leadership, athleticism, and intelligence will be sorely missed if he decides to leave Purdue for the 2011-2012 season

What really worries me is what’s going to happen if Painter does leave with Robbie Hummel.  I personally haven’t heard any rumors of Hummel leaving and I don’t think he will.  But, it’s hard to argue that crazier things have happened.  Robbie has a strong relationship with Matt Painter.  He was recruited by Painter and is praised by Painter.  It’s no doubt that Robbie loves Purdue, you could see that when VCU routed Purdue in the round of 32.  Hummel was seen on the sidelines with tears in his eyes while watching Purdue get bent over.  It was hard to watch a kid my age balling his eyes out on the sidelines while his two senior buddies were able to play.  Matt Painter and Purdue not only let down their fan base but also Robbie Hummel.  A kid that has totally committed himself to something greater than he, at this point Robbie Hummel > Purdue basketball program (in my opinion).  The kid works harder than any other player and is probably the most athletically gifted and intelligent.  He’s basketball smart and can make extraordinary plays.  It worries me that Robbie might leave if Painter does.  Where he’ll end up? I have no idea.  Maybe he’ll declare for the NBA draft or leave for Missouri too.  Everyone knows that Hummel can still play and it’s not hidden that his teammates this year really needed him on the court.

As for Purdue’s program.  If Painter leaves and Hummel stays I think they’ll be fine.  If both leave they may be in trouble for a few years.  Coaching changes always hurt recruiting and transfers usually follow as well.  However, with the leadership ability of Lewis Jackson and Robbie Hummel I think Purdue will remain at the top of the Big Ten.

Only time will tell what is going to happen to Purdue but in the long run (next season and years to come) I think Purdue basketball will be just fine.  Hopefully this fall Purdue football can give us something to think and talk about until basketball season starts once more.

 

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

Kelsey Barlow Suspension


It’s crazy how fast stories spread around the college basketball world come March.  I love it.  I was promptly informed that Kelsey Barlow had been suspended yesterday from about 12 people within a 20 minute time period. It was nuts. My phone rang non stop.  It began that Barlow was suspended for “conduct detrimental to the team”.  I’ve recently heard more details that he was suspended for failing 3 drug tests within a month time span. I’m not 100% this is the reason but it comes from a reliable source.  I also want to give a few thoughts on how I think this will affect Purdue and their chances at making a run to the Final Four.  I’ll have a piece on Kyrie Irving’s return as well later tonight.

1st of all I think Purdue will be just fine.  Yes, Barlow averaged 19 minutes a game and was a lock down defender but here’s what most people saw.  Kelsey Barlow was a turnover machine.  I can’t remember how many times I yelled at Coach Painter through my TV to get Barlow off the court and Lewis Jackson back in.  I think Barlow is a tremendous athlete and has the potential to blossom into a terrific player someday (and personally I do hope that is with Purdue).  I’ve heard rumors all season that he was a distraction to the team.  I don’t know if that’s true or not but if so that will be good for the Boilers.  When it’s a one and done deal you need to be focused with as little distractions as possible.

Terone's ability to finish at the hoop will help the Boilers with their run in the tournament

Purdue still has Terone Johnson, who I think will be Purdue’s next E’Twaun Moore.  I thank God that Barlow isn’t a post player (Forward or Center) that’s where Purdue really lacks depth.  Terone has the ability to do something Barlow didn’t show that he could do.  Terone can hit jump shots! Sure Barlow could get up there and throw down some ferocious dunks and pump up the team once ever 6 games but, T. Johnson has stepped up huge knocking down 3’s, making smart decisions with the ball, and getting into the lane and getting to the free throw line. Plus he finishes at the rim.  Terone is also a very solid defender.  Maybe not as good as Barlow but he can do his job and play team D that’s needed for Purdue to be successful.  That’s all I really ask out of the young guy.  Play solid defense and make a few shots here and there, and Terone has done that and most of the shots he has hit have been huge.  I actually look forward to seeing Terone get some more playing time.

I haven’t heard the status on John Hart in a while but I’m sure he’s well rested and will be ready to play Friday.  For some of you who aren’t familiar with hart I’ll give you a brief history.  Last season (as a redshirt freshman) Hart came off the bench against the Fighting Illini when Purdue was struggling to get anything going.  Hart had played very few minutes and Painter was making a

John Hart could prove valuable with increased minutes due to the Kelsey Barlow suspension

statement to the older guys.  Soon John scored and all of a sudden there was a stoppage in play.  The coaches had forgotten to put Hart on the roster for that game.  He went on to scored 14 points and lifted the Boilermakers to a victory.  He has the ability to score in bunches and has a good perimeter jump shot.  Hart also scores at good times when either Moore or JaJuan are being shut down or off the floor.  Hart is also a very solid defender. He reminds me of Lewis Jackson, shorter with a good build and solid perimeter defensive skills.  Look for Hart to be a factor in the tourney.

Purdue fans should also keep in mind the adversity Purdue has played against all year.  Raise your hand if you thought Purdue would have finished the season 25-7 and earn a 3 seed after Hummel went down.  Not many of us did, I didn’t. I knew we would still do well but didn’t have these expectations.  Purdue plays what they call “TEAM” basketball.  It’s not just one player like BYU, SDSU, and Sometimes UNC with Harrison Barnes.  Of course we have our two stars but everybody knows their role and contributes when needed.  That’s what makes Purdue a good team and a tough team to beat even without Hummel or Barlow.  So for all you Boilermaker fans out there continue to BOILER UP and HAMMER DOWN on all who may get in their way!

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)

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?

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.