ATB: Purdue Loses Hummel for Game or Season?Posted by rtmsf on February 25th, 2010
Hummel’s Knee Buckles — Did Purdue’s Season? #3 Purdue 59, Minnesota 58. Thirteen minutes into this game, Purdue star forward Robbie Hummel drove to his right into the paint, stopped, and squared his shoulders to the rim. Simultaneously, his right leg slipped a little causing his knee to buckle and give out from underneath him. It wasn’t a gruesome injury, but it was certainly forboding. People say they hate to speculate about someone’s injury, but they proceed to do it anyway, so we’ll avoid those niceties here. It looked like and his reaction certainly belied what we believe was an ACL injury in his knee: The inability to initially put weight on the knee; the severe pain immediately after the fact, yet the ability to stay on the bench for the remainder of the game; the crutches; the need for an MRI as soon as possible. We really hope we’re wrong about this, but as someone who has had a couple of these tears ourselves, we sorta think we know it when we see it. If Hummel is out for the rest of the season (and Gary Parrish reports that there’s not much optimism to the contrary coming out of the Boilermaker camp), then despite the heart and grit and skill we saw on display tonight at Minnesota, a phenomenal season will without question reach a premature conclusion. There is absolutely no way that Purdue can go to the Final Four without Hummel in the lineup. It’s not as if he’s a dominant player in the mold of Kenyon Martin (broken leg in 2000) or Derek Anderson (torn ACL in 1997), but he’s an extremely important piece of what Purdue does, and there simply isn’t enough time (or elite talent) to re-craft a plan for life post-Hummel. As a microcosm of this unfortunate truth, look at what happened tonight. Purdue was leading 26-14 when Hummel got hurt. After his injury the Boilermakers scored two more FGs in the next twelve minutes of action. Obviously, Matt Painter will have time to adjust his game plan in coming days and the recent emergence of Keaton Grant (10/5/4 assts) doesn’t hurt, but Hummel is such a multifaceted piece of the Purdue attack that someone like him cannot just be plugged in overnight. The aforementioned Grant was huge down the stretch tonight, and we expect that more will be asked from the talented duo of E’Twaun Moore (11/3) and JaJuan Johnson (14/10), but it’s going to take some really good luck in the form of tomorrow’s diagnosis for Purdue to have a chance to fulfill its lofty goals this season.
No Harangody, No Problem. Notre Dame 68, #16 Pittsburgh 53. The Irish came off the schneid in a big way tonight even with its star Luke Harangody still sitting on the bench with a knee bruise injury. The high-scoring offense slowed down its attack, finding that running down the shot clock resulted in better looks from three, of which the Irish nailed 10-18 this evening. Pitt, on the other hand, was never able to find the mark from deep, going 4-18 from three and even getting killed on the boards (-10), unusual for a Jamie Dixon-coached team. Perhaps the Panthers were a little worn out from playing and beating WVU, Marquette and Villanova in their last three games, but it was to ND’s benefit as the Irish took control early and never relented. Mike Brey’s team still has significant work to do before we start talking about NCAA again, but this was a big step in the right direction.
Varnado Block Party. Mississippi State 74, Alabama 66. Jarvis Varnado picked a good time to have one of his best games of the season, going for 17/10/8 blks in a absolutely necessary win for his team as the Bulldogs push toward their third straight NCAA Tournament. His seventh block of the evening tied Louisiana-Monroe’s Wojciech Mydra’s record of 535 from 1998-2002, and his eighth broke the record. Varnado averages 4.9 BPG this season, and at his current pace he would finish his career with approximately 570 rejections, befitting of the player known as “Swat.”
Teams That Helped Themselves.
- Mississippi State – Dawgs get 20th overall win and move to 8-5 in the SEC West; winning two of final three will probably secure a bid.
- Maryland – The Terps are coming on strong. Gary Williams’ team came back from a 15-point halftime deficit to keep the pressure on Duke in the ACC standings.
- Notre Dame – the Irish really needed a marquee win over a ranked team like Pitt, and they’ll have more good opportunities to impress with Georgetown, UConn and Marquette on the horizon.
- Baylor – the Bears moved to 8-5 in the Big 12 with a key home win against a team in TAMU that has been playing very well in recent weeks.
- Ole Miss – Chris Warren and Terrico White scored 47 pts combined in a 63-pt second half in a must-win to keep a glimmer of hope alive for the Rebs (6-7 SEC West).
- Marquette – Jimmy Butler’s 17-foot fadeaway at the buzzer after getting stripped was phenomenal and helps keep the pace with Georgetown at 9-6 in the Big East.
Teams That Hurt Themselves.
- Memphis – loss to Houston doesn’t help things; Tigers’ best “win” was the near-miss against Kansas on November 17.
- Minnesota – needed the marquee win over Purdue even w/o Hummel, but couldn’t finish the game despite holding the lead until the last minute.
- Virginia Tech – Va Tech can’t afford Duke hangovers like this one, where they clearly never showed up in Boston.
- South Florida – going, going, gone. Dominique Jones is hitting 30.8% of his shots in the last five games (four losses).
- St. Louis – Billikens had their chances, but still lack a really quality win on their resume after tonight’s close loss at home to Xavier.
- Dayton – Dayton’s computer numbers are solid, but losing three of four at this time of year isn’t helpful.