First I want to say congrats to Michigan State for winning this game. You guys won, and should have. The most astounding number to me was the rebounding difference, and this was in part because Michigan State went harder for them, but also because of some lucky bounces. I also have to give a lot of credit to State’s defense which was physical and tight-nosed all day long.
Objectively, many Boiler fans will say “IF” Hummel played we would have won. I’m not going to say it, nor do I actually believe that. Today was solely the inability to make any shots on offense. Quite seriously, can someone PLEASE remove the sewer lid from the Boilermaker’s basket? This was the worst shooting performance of the year at least visually. Moore and Johnson combined for a less then inspiring 7 of 27 shooting. Let’s think about that number for a minute shall we? These numbers had absolutely nothing to do with Hummel playing or not playing. Over half of the shots Moore missed in this game where either the type of in the lane floaters, or ridiculous spinning in and out three pointers. Did any one else’s heart break on the last two 3 pointers he attempted which went 90% of the way in and rolled out? I know I did, I was just simply lost for words. Even JJ couldn’t hit his typical pull up jumper at the end when we trailed 48-44, a shot he has been consistent at since the word go. Also, where’s Keaton Grant? It’s kind of like where’s Waldo, but finding Grant is a tad more important for the Boilers. He only took 3 shots, only 3. He hit 2 of them and his stroke was looking good. This was his time to take more shots, we needed him and he decided not to be aggressive. And, this is a plead straight to Lewis Jackson, please SHOOT the ball. I know this kid can hit shots when he has his feet set and with room to shoot, but he simply wouldn’t shoot the ball or drive with it. The few times he decided to attack the defense off the dribble other guys where open because of the double team…we must have more of this. Also, I have to stress the Boilers need to fight harder for rebounds, and I will admit there were many NON-calls in favor of Michigan State for going over the back, but the refs where allowing both teams to physically play and unfortunately it played more to the advantage of MSU for the boards.
Now, I have ripped my team enough, and despite the negativity there where positives. The first one I have to state is about P. Bade. I have been on this kid the last few weeks, but he actually impressed me today. Forget his stat line which shows almost nothing, but this kid played smarter today. He wasn’t committing the stupid fouls like he was in the past and did a fairly good job of feeling in for JJ when he sat in the first half. I also feel horrible for Barlow who multiple times tried to pick the Boilers off the ground by driving to the rim and got hammered with out a call. Welcome to the Big10 kid! Another HUGE positive and the only reason we lost by as low as nine was our DEFENSE!!! It was spectacular and this was even with being out-sized all game long. Let’s face it when Kramer who is 6 foot 3 and guarding MSU’s power forward with at least the height of 6 foot 9 there is a size advantage. Even with this MSU could never pull the lead to double digits because as a team Purdue forced 22 turnovers. We also held them to 2 of 9 from down-town and 40% overall from the field. Considering we got out rebounded 44 to 16, a margin of 28! This is a sign we are still a force to reckon with. Any other team in the nation who would be out rebounded by this margin would get blown out of the water… If I remember correctly this is exactly what happened to Villanova last night. Turnovers are also a positive for us as we only committed 12 the entire game. The Player of the Game for the Boilers was non-other then Chris Kramer. He pretty much led our team in scoring basically 11 while JJ had 11 and Moore somehow ended with 12, led them with effort, and led them with heart. There was nothing else this kid could have done, and I bet you he will have about 50 bruises come this time tomorrow.
We have two games coming up which the Boilers have to win, and quite frankly should win. Today’s game came at a horrible time because of the loss of Hummel, but I have to reiterate the loss of Hummel did not destroy us in this game. When the shots don’t fall, they just don’t fall. Keep in mind we shot 15-50, only 30% from the field and got out rebounded by 28, BUT still only lost by 9 points against a top 15 team in Michigan State. Many people including Purdue fans will say this proves Purdue can’t win without Hummel, the season is done, or blah blah blah. It’s not the case; in this game the numbers tell the story. Luck was clearly not on the side of the Boilers and we left TOO many open shots out of the basket to win this game. Hummel or no Hummel this was a loss, and a loss is all it was.
I hope for the life of me the players and Painter realize we should have won this game and it fires us up to finish the regular season. I still see a good run in the tournament and at this point I have no reason to believe with Purdue’s ball-hawking defense, grit, heart, and experience a trip to the sweet-16 is out of the question with a possible run further.
HOLD THE PHONE In the midst of everything I forgot to mention one all important accomplishment by Chris Kramer. He has now become the ALL-TIME leading steal man for this program. Considering Purdue has prided its-self on defense through-out its history this is an amazing accomplishment for Kramer and I am happy he was the one to do it.