Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Purdue goes here at #6 despite it being equally likely they finish in any spot from #3 to #8 because, quite simply, there just isn't that much known.  What we know is Lewis Jackson is will be very difficult to guard, won't be a good shooter, but will have success using his incredible quickness to get into the paint and either score, get fouled, or set-up his teammates.  We also know Purdue will play very tough man-to-man defense.  But that's it.  Everything else is a question mark of varying degrees.

We almost know that Robbie Hummel will be good - and he'll have to be considering he's really the team's only consistent offensive threat - but can you say that about a guy coming off not one but two major knee injuries?  I caught a little bit of one of the Boilers exhibition games and he looked like the same old fundamentally sound, mid-range jump-shooting put it on the floor and go around a slower big guy player that he always was, but that was against sub-par competition and who's to say that knee doesn't weaken as the season goes along and the minutes pile up, or just plain gives out again?  If he's healthy all year he's an all league player, but if he has issues, Purdue has issues.

I don't even know who is going to score here besides Hummel and Jackson, because nobody else has ever had to with JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore around.  Ryne Smith will certainly be around to hit a bunch of three-pointers, but I'm not sure if he can create his own shot and without Moore helping on the perimeter and Johnson drawing doubles (although if Hummel is healthy he probably will) he's going find fewer open shots.  The rest of the team is a collection of unknowns, at least as far as offense goes.

On paper they're talented:  junior D.J. Byrd, sophomore Terone Johnson, and freshman Anthony Johnson were all top 100 type recruits coming out of high school and others - juniors Kelsey Barlow and John Hart, sophomores Travis Carroll and Sandi Marcius and freshman Jacob Lawson all have things to offer but have some major question marks.  Byrd looks like he's on the Brian Cardinal express train to annoying hustleplayerville, Barlow is a freak athlete and great defender but his offensive game is lacking, Carroll is a big lumbering oaf, Marcius is a communits, Lawson is a great athlete but very raw offensively, and Hart started last season strong but didn't look like nearly the same player after returning from injury mid-year.

I expect the key for the Boilers - outside of Hummel's health of course - is the development of either Anthony or Terone Johnson.  Anthony redshirted last year but was the higher regarded recruit coming out of high school and did score 9 in Purdue's first exhibition game.  Both are supposed to be pretty good athletes who can score, and if either or both develop into a true weapon on that end of the floor Purdue will shoot up into the top 4 in the conference - once again, assuming Hummel's knee.

You know I probably could saved time and just typed Hummel Hummel Hummel Hummel Hummel Hummel over and over again for this preview.

DWG Over/Under Conference Wins:  9.5

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