We knew that this team would have some growing pains as guys tried to figure out their new roles on this team- Hummel as a primary scorer who has to look for his shot, Jackson as not only a ball-handler, but a secondary scorer, AJ and Lawson learning how to play the college game and TJohn being counted on more as a scorer. There' no doubt that this team has shown at times that it's still a work in progress...here are a few things that are noteworthy about this year's squad thus far:
-The defense seems to still struggle when it needs a stop. I still have faith in this part of the game as Purdue teams seem to gel in Early February under Painter.
-The injury problems that Purdue had coming into the season are still having effects on the team. Hart still hasn't played, TJohn is showing flashes of brilliance, but still lacks consistency, LewJack is still not practicing everyday due to tendonitis and other ailments and Hummel doesn't rebound like he did before his two knee injuries. I'm not so sure that I even want Hummel sticking his nose into every loose ball situation...for the sake of longevity, I'd like to see Rob keep doing what he's doing. I'm still convinced TJohn will earn a starting job by January as he gets stronger. Byrd isn't playing as much because of a bit of a nagging injury and he's now behind #4. Not sure if he wants to, but I wouldn't mind seeing him play a bit more forward behind Lawson instead of wing.
|credit: GBI's Tom Campbell|
-Barlow is important. When Kelsey is playing smart, he's nearly un-guardable. When he's in the mood to pull up from 21 feet, it's pretty detrimental. Defensively, he's a monster when he wants to be. I'm still convinced that the way Barlow goes this season, so go the Boilers.
-Bigs playing small. I think many Boiler fans were hoping to see Marcius and Carroll be able to take a big step forward this season and become a collective force underneath the basket. Instead, their lack of production and Lawson's physical play have pushed Lawson into the forefront. As a result, Purdue's most-effective line-up right now has no one taller than 6'8" in it. That could be very problematic in the B1G.
Painter said this week that one of the biggest problems this team has is that the practices aren't very competitive right now due to attrition. Hummel, Hart, Jackson, TJohn and Byrd have all been held out of multiple practices this season, and many of these guys are held out regularly. I think we see the effects of this very often as Purdue seems to struggle in pulling away from teams, even lesser teams, time and time again.
This team has shown how good it can be at times (for 25 minutes v. Xavier, for 20 minutes v. Alabama and v. NIU) and has shown how flat-out lousy it can be (for the final 10 minutes v. Xavier & 'Bama, v. High Point and in the first half v. Western Carolina). I think we'll see this all season, but I still think this Purdue team will have around 22 wins.
I know a ton of people are bothered by performances like High Point and Western Carolina, and there are reasons to be concerned, no doubt. But, college basketball is a bit of a mother- the 22nd team in the land almost was beaten by a sub-.500 St. Bonneventure at home this week, the 15th-ranked team in the nation lost to a .500 Long Beach State team in November...upsets happen and near-misses happen even more. If the Forces of Good keep winning, regardless of the margin, I'll be a pretty happy guy.
Purdue's CCR is currently 33rd thanks to a silly high-50s RPI ranking.
Case Against the BTN for Purdue faithful
People who don't root for Purdue often wonder if Purdue fans have a complex about media coverage...and the more I observe, the more I believe we have a reason to have this chip on our shoulder. Purdue has three home, non-exhibition games this season not televised live by the BTN. When asked why this happens, the network assures paying customers like me that they still have full coverage (read as paid internet broadcasts with awful production and broadcast teams).
One of the bones that they threw to Purdue fans was the promise of the games being on tape delay the next day just so you could get your fix if you couldn't make it to Mackey. Of course, when they re-aired the Coppin State game, they cut in so Urban Meyer could be
coronated named as head coach...then didn't show the game again.
Then of course, what happened this week for the most recent game was historically-bad. BTN's defense was that it hadn't happened before and the cost-saving measure of not sending a broadcast team to the venue allowed them to hire Gus Johnson and Keith Jackson.
I think everyone who watches sports understands that technical difficulties happen. But, instead of putting running stats on the screen and having a play-by-play, we got to see Bo Schembechler's Icon's program again. Perhaps they could have shown a Purdue-based program as salve for the wound? Nah. They're just Purdue fans, ammiright, BTN.
If the BTN wants to save money, I'm sure they could find local TV guys to do the "less-important" pre-con games IN PERSON and they'll be able to avoid this type of thing. Instead, they seem to say- "yeah, it happened, we're going to go ahead and keep doing things this way and hope for the best...we'll make sure it doesn't happen to the programs we value."
Hey BTN- Gus Johnson is a half-rung above Dick Vitale in my opinion (I mean that in the bad way)...and wasn't Keith Jackson fired a few years ago by a big network? You guys stink and you simply haven't fulfilled your promise to cover every home B1G basketball games...but great job on the Icon re-runs and extra-long press conference coverage!!
You can let the BTN know you care by clicking here.
The NBA Still Stinks
When I saw that the Lakers were preparing to trade for Chris Paul and Dwight Howard last week, I thought- this league is awesome- 5 super teams and a bunch of also-rans.
Then the league blocked the trade of Chris Paul and I was conflicted.
The Lakers gave up a lot to get Paul...so it wasn't like he was being stolen (as it's happened often in the crappy league), so why not?
But then I remembered, the flipping league OWNS the team that Paul currently plays for. No wonder Stern doesn't want to allow their money maker to leave town.
In a recent conversation to a friend, I said the NBA represents all that's wrong with pro sports, in my opinion. From a game that doesn't even resemble basketball being played, to locking-out at the worst-possible time, to rigged games, to making the worst-possible people as the face of the league, the NBA has turned me off at every turn. Now we can add an intense conflict of interest and inconsistent trade rule enforcement to the laundry list of stink that defines this crap league.
Keep up the bad work, Stern and Co.