Friday, February 26, 2010

Robbie Hummel done for the year. How does this effect Purdue?

By now, you've surely heard that Robbie Hummel's acl is, in fact, torn.

It goes without saying that this is a huge loss for the Boilermakers and another serious injury for Robbie Hummel, who is, by all accounts, a great kid, to overcome. If you remember, Hummel was dealing with a fractured back all last season.

The question of the day seems to be how this will effect Purdue's seeding come Selection Sunday. The seed Purdue gets will be a direct result of how well they play without Hummel in the line-up.

Regardless of your fan affiliation, you hate to see things like this.
(photo credit: WLFI)

To be completely honest, I'm torn about Purdue's ability to handle this injury. On the one hand, Purdue runs a motion offense that maximizes the sum of their parts as opposed relying on the ability of one or two players. Purdue has a talented, experienced group of kids that understand their roles in this system and should be able to function on the offensive end of the floor.

They've had experience without Hummel as well. He missed four Big Ten games with that back injury last year.

The problem is Hummel is such an important part of what Purdue tries to do, and it goes way beyond the 15 points and 7 boards he averages. Hummel is as good as anyone on the Boilermakers at moving the ball offensively. At 6'8", he plays the four and is their best rebounder, but his ability to play on the perimeter offensively creates mismatches night in and night out.

If you really want to get a feel of what Purdue is losing with Hummel done for the season, just think back to the week of Jan. 9th-16th. Purdue lost three straight games and got ripped by Matt Painter for their lack of leadership. Chris Kramer and Keaton Grant got benched over it.

The only player that Painter did not criticize was Hummel.

Purdue has the pieces to survive this injury. Grant is a good player, and with Hummel out of the line-up he is going to get more opportunities. Chris Kramer is scrappy enough that he can play in the post.

But surviving is a far cry from thriving, and Purdue's NCAA Tournament seed is going to be directly dependent upon how well they perform down the stretch. The Boilermakers will play at least four games, including Michigan State, who they host on Sunday. If Purdue wins out -- earning conference regular season and tournament titles -- the Boilermakers probably have to get a No. 1 seed even without Hummel. But if they don't play well, who knows how far this team could drop.

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