Posted on: April 12, 2010 2:58 pm
Purdue's JaJuan Johnson will declare for the NBA Draft without hiring an agent, a source confirmed to CBSSports.com on Monday. A separate source said classmate and teammate E'Twaun Moore could join Johnson this week, though another source cautioned that Moore "still hadn't made up his mind."
An official announcement on bother players is expected later this week.
This is devastating news for Purdue on the surface. But it should be noted that both Johnson and Moore are juniors who have never before entered the draft, meaning there is no downside to doing this as long as they keep their amateur status intact. They could simply withdraw by the May 8 deadline and return for their senior seasons. Unless they get some sort of guarantee from an NBA team, that's likely what they'll do, the source said.
Johnson and Moore led Purdue to the Sweet 16 this season.
Their return would likely ensure a preseason top five ranking.
Posted on: March 9, 2010 12:36 am
Edited on: March 9, 2010 12:39 am
Fairfield blew a nice lead.
Saint Mary's did not.
Here's Tuesday morning's Gettin' In.
Teams that punched tickets Monday: Old Dominion, Siena, Saint Mary's and Wofford each earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament on Monday. That means nine of the 65 spots in the field are claimed.
Best game: Fairfield was up 13 with less than 18 to play Monday night, and bubble-watchers everywhere were debating whether Siena could get an at-large bid after the sure-to-come loss in the MAAC tournament title game. My opinion: No, the Saints probably wouldn't have received an at-large bid given that they own zero top 50 victories. But guess what? It doesn't matter now because the Saints stormed back, forced overtime and recorded a 72-65 victory that made them the MAAC's automatic qualifier. Now they'll sit back and wait for the selection committee to give them a No. 12 seed, then we'll all pick them to beat some No. 5 seed.
Team whose dream remained alive: North Texas was nearly upset in the Sun Belt quarterfinals, but the Mean Green easily handled Denver in Monday's semifinals. The 63-56 victory will allow them to take a 10-game winning streak into Tuesday's title game.
Team whose dream was crushed: Western Kentucky fell behind by 16 points late in the first half and only scored 48 in the game, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that the Hilltoppers lost Monday in the semifinals of the Sun Belt tournament. What's surprising is that they had a chance to win, and that they actually led 48-47 with less than four minutes remaining. WKU seemed in control. But Troy countered with a 7-0 run, won 54-48 and ensured WKU's NCAA tournament streak will stop at two.
Performance I hope you witnessed: The West Coast Conference was probably going to be a two-bid league regardless, but Mickey McConnell ensured as much with a 26-point effort that keyed Saint Mary's 81-62 victory over Gonzaga in Monday's WCC tournament title game. McConnell hit 10 of 17 shots -- including four of seven 3-point attempts -- and helped the Gaels prevent Gonzaga from winning this event for the 11th time in 13 seasons.
Performance I hope you missed: David Schneider hit a big shot to lift William & Mary to the title game of the Colonial tournament, but missed pretty much every shot in said title game. He was 2-of-13 from the field in Monday's 60-53 loss to Old Dominion, 3-of-22 from the field in his past two games.
Three random notes
1. The Big East tournament starts Tuesday with four games. If you're a fan of a bubble team, you should root for St. John's to beat Connecticut, for DePaul to beat South Florida, and for Providence to beat Seton Hall.
2. The Horizon League title game is Tuesday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse. If you're a fan of a bubble team, you should root for Butler to beat Wright State because the alternative outcome would turn the Horizon into a two-bid league, which would effectively shrink the field by one.
3. The Oregonian newspaper reported late Monday that P.J. Carlesimo is a serious candidate to replace Ernie Kent at Oregon. Kent is expected to be officially fired at the conclusion of the Pac-10 tournament.
Final thought: Nothing in the Top 25 (and one) got folks fired up like Purdue down at No. 11.
But I don't understand the argument.
I mean, where do you think Purdue belongs?
No question, the Boilermakers were on their way to the No.1 seed in the NCAA tournament three weeks ago. But everything changed when Robbie Hummel tore his ACL, and this clearly isn't the same team. They looked average in a home loss to Michigan State, then backed that with a couple of wins over bad Big Ten teams, and I honestly think placing Purdue 11th is pretty darn generous.
It's unfortunate, but the fact remains that Hummel is gone.
So we'll never know what the Boilermakers might've otherwise been.
But I think I know what they are right now.
And that's something slightly less than a top 10 team.
Posted on: February 25, 2010 4:10 pm
An MRI performed Thursday revealed that Purdue junior Robbie Hummel has a torn ACL in his right knee that will cause him to miss the remainder of the season.
"Injuries are a part of the game, but this is obviously disappointing on multiple levels because of everything Robbie Hummel has done for this program both on and off the court,” said Purdue coach Matt Painter. “As he begins his recovery and rehab, Robbie will continue to provide integral leadership as we pursue our team goals down the stretch."
Hummel -- who entered Wednesday night's game at Minnesota averaging 15.8 points and 7.2 rebounds -- buckled when he planted his right leg on a drive into the lane against the Golden Gophers with 7:11 left in the first half of the eventual 59-58 win. The 6-foot-8 forward was helped off the court and taken to the locker room before returning to the bench on crutches early in the second half. Hummel watched the rest of the game in warm-ups, then traveled home with his teammates.
The Boilermakers are 24-3 overall, 12-3 in the Big Ten.
Their next game is Sunday afternoon against Michigan State on CBS.
Posted on: February 25, 2010 12:23 am
Forget the RPI.
At the moment, it's not important to Purdue.
The three letters that matter most now are MRI -- as in the MRI that's expected to be conducted on Robbie Hummel's right knee Thursday, as in the MRI that'll likely have more to do with whether the Boilermakers make the Final Four than the seed or draw the NCAA tournament selection committee deals them.
Yes, this is that big.
Hummel is not a National Player of the Year candidate, nor is he Purdue's leading scorer. But he's a crucial part to what the Boilermakers do, and everything changed when he crumbled to the floor with a knee injury in the first half of Wednesday's win at Minnesota. How bad is the injury? There's still no official word. But it's worth noting that nobody connected to Purdue is suggesting it might be OK. In other words, everybody is holding out hope, but nobody seems hopeful, and that's probably not a good sign. At least it's not usually a good sign.
Either way, this is awful.
Hummel was averaging 15.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, and he had Purdue in position to win the Big Ten, earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, and perhaps advance to the Final Four. All those things are still possible, of course. But the odds of any of them happening will decrease drastically if Hummel's MRI doesn't produce good results.
So again, forget the RPI.
The MRI is all that matters now.
Posted on: February 21, 2010 12:17 am
The top four of Sunday's Top 25 (and one) will be easy to figure out.
It doesn't start today, of course.
But can you believe we're just three weeks from Selection Sunday?
Posted on: February 19, 2010 2:53 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2010 5:24 pm
Many of the people who've emailed in the past 24 hours about my Player of the Year column acknowledge John Wall is the best player in the country, but still think Evan Turner should get the award because he's having a better season. Me? I'm not convinced Turner is having a better season considering Wall is averaging 17.0 points and 6.5 assists for a team that's 25-1 and on pace to earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, but whatever. I'm done with this argument for now. What I think we can all agree on is that the Player of the Year will be Wall or Turner, and the oddsmakers have it pegged that way, too.
Sportsbook.com is taking bets on the Wooden Award.
Wall is +200.
Turner is +200.
Third-place is Texas' Damion James at +550, which would be a horrible bet to make considering his team has gone in the tank. But a good bet, I think, is that Purdue will be a No. 1 seed. Right now, Sportsbook.com has it at +140. That means you can essentially win $140 off of a $100 bet, and that's reasonable odds even if you assume Kansas and Kentucky will be two of the four No. 1 seeds.
Jerry Palm currently has Syracuse and Villanova as the other No. 1 seeds. But the Wildcats are coming off a loss to Connecticut, they might lose Sunday at Pittsburgh, and they'll be underdogs at Syracuse next weekend. In other words, Villanova should probably slip and enter Selection Sunday with five losses, minimum. Meantime, Purdue is sitting at 22-3 with wins over Tennessee (neutral), Wake Forest (home), West Virginia (home), Wisconsin (home), Michigan State (away), and Ohio State (away).
The only remaining road games are at Minnesota and Penn State.
The remaining home games are against Illinois, Michigan State and Indiana.
So Purdue will be favored to win every one of its remaining regular season games, and they might be the favorite in the Big Ten tournament, too. I'm not predicting the Boilermakers will win out, exactly, but I don't think they'll enter Selection Sunday with more than four losses, five at the most, and that'll have them in good shape for a No. 1 seed as long as Villanova loses at least one of these upcoming road games and doesn't win the Big East tournament.
Bottom line, I like Purdue's chances to be a No. 1 seed.
So take the Boilermakers at +140.
And thank me later.
Posted on: February 10, 2010 12:47 am
Edited on: February 10, 2010 12:51 am
Michigan State was 9-0 with a three-game lead in the Big Ten just last week.
And that's the stunning part.
Not that the Spartans are tied with Illinois atop the Big Ten standings -- and also tied in the loss column with Purdue and Ohio State -- but that Tom Izzo's team was 9-0 and in total control of the league race just eight days ago. Then Michigan State went to Wisconsin, Kalin Lucas sprained his ankle, and, well, here we are. Now MSU is 9-3 in the Big Ten after Tuesday's 76-64 loss to Purdue, and suddenly the conference championship is more up for grabs than it seemed over the weekend, and it seemed pretty up for grabs over the weekend.
Here are the updated standings:
Everything changes week to week.
Consider: Michigan State has lost three straight since winning 10 straight, Purdue has won six straight since losing three straight, Ohio State has won seven of eight since losing three of four, Illinois has won five straight since losing three straight, and Wisconsin is coming off a rare home loss. Nothing makes sense. What we knew yesterday is now irrelevant, what will happen tomorrow is anybody's guess.
Why do I say that?
Because nobody would've ever guessed this.
Not considering where we were just a week ago.
Posted on: February 9, 2010 1:17 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2010 1:18 pm
AUSTIN, Texas -- Bad weather has made my trip to Michigan State impossible.
So the second game of my three-games-in-three-days trip is off.
I'm stuck in Austin.
Thus, I'll miss tonight's Purdue-Michigan State game, but I'll still be at Duke-North Carolina on Wednesday. The plan is to stay the night here, then fly to UNC early tomorrow. In the meantime, I'll be accepting recommendations on good spots in Austin to watch Purdue-Michigan State, and dreading a 5 a.m. wake-up call that will most certainly be miserable.