Monday, March 19, 2012

Tough way to go out

Purdue played better than Kansas on Sunday Night.

But as the basketball gods were seemingly watching over Robbie Hummel and the Boilers in the first half, they turned their backs in the final minute and Kansas took advantage.

With all that Hummel has endured in his five years at Purdue, it was a shame it lost - it really was.

With all the bad luck Hummel and Purdue has faced in recent years, you would think some would go its way.

Well, it didn't go Purdue's way and everyone is sitting around asking: What went wrong?

Everything focuses toward the final minute. The one on one with Lewis Jackson, where he just stood around for the first 20 seconds of the shot clock and dribbled for the final 13 or so, resulting in a turnover, was surely a bad possession.

But Lewis Jackson did have some opportunities to make a play on that possession.

First, with a jumper, I believe on the baseline. And second, Robbie Hummel cutted backdoor and was open for a wide-open layup. Jackson struggled the entire night, missing layups that he made all year(something he improved significantly from a freshman and sophomore to last night).

But last night he played like a freshman and it cost Purdue a trip to the sweet-sixteen. That's why I question Painter's play call to give him the ball in that circumstance. Sure, Purdue was in the bonus and would be shooting on any foul, but he missed at the rim numerous times and the refs weren't going to call any ticky-tack fouls at that point.

Give it to Hummel in the post and see what he can do, or even Terone, who was strong late. Hummel got his shot with under ten seconds and it looked good, but it feel off the front rim.

I think one more thing to point out that I found a huge part of the ending of this game came when Purdue was up 60-57. Kansas had the ball and there was a huge battle for the ball, and Hummel finally secured the rebound, where he was mauled. Let me say that one more time: mauled. That would have sent Hummel to the line in the bonus, where he could have put the Boilers up 5 with a little over a minute, I believe. I thought that no-call was huge.

In the end, the success of the years Purdue team was tremendous. It frustrates Purdue fans that we lost, and probably more importantly how we lost. But that's sometimes how it goes. Purdue played great. That's all you can ask for. For our bigs to shutdown one of the best players in the country was incredible. Trust me, I've watched probably around 10-12 Kansas games this season, and Thomas Robinson is a beast.

Next year will be interesting. With 4 incoming freshman plus Donnie Hale coming off his redshirt, there are a lot of unkowns. I do know that we will have talent. With T.J and A.J. coming back we have a good nucleus of guards. Obviously, with Jackson leaving, the point guard spot is handed straight over to Ronnie Johnson. And from all accounts he should do a great job, but can he come in from day one and produce? Senior D.J. Byrd will help this young team gel as he surged into another player this year. The big question is how the front-line will play? Sandi Marcius made some great strides in the past couple games. Travis Carroll will need to improve. How will Jacob Lawson develop? Do Hammons and Simpson have the determination and drive to make that next step and play in the Big Ten? These are all questions that no one knows the answers to. Purdue will certainly have the talent, but with being so young, it is hard to have expectations.

I do, however, expect Purdue to surprise some people, again.