In the days leading up to the 100th episode of the BTN Originals series “The Journey,” we asked members of the show’s production team to look back on seasons past. These are the people who travel across the conference each week of the football and basketball seasons to tell the stories around and inside the games. What were their favorite stories? Who were their favorite people? What were the best games? Read what they told us and watch some of their favorite stories. The 100 episode airs Sunday at 9:30 p.m..
Robbie Hummel has experienced life in the NBA, while Trevor Mbakwe and Brian Randle have not. Getting to that level, or back there in Hummel’s case, remains the ultimate goal for all three of these former Big Ten basketball stars. But for now, they are all doing the next best thing.
Purdue does not usually devote a full day to school pride and fundraising. But when it does, it prefers a spectacle.
It was just last week when I released my team-by-team breakdown of who would make the Mount Rushmore of Big Ten basketball players.
One of Purdue’s favorite sons will forever be represented at Mackey Arena. At halftime of Purdue’s game Saturday night, the Boilermakers unveiled Robbie Hummel’s No. 4 jersey in the rafters. Hummel was a well-chronicled player during his decorated career in West Lafayette, both for his standout play and his unfortunate injury history.
How much do Purdue fans love Robbie Hummel? So much, evidently, they’ll put his mug on their desserts. @GoldandBlackcom tweeted a picture of a plate full of cookies at Hummel’s NBA draft party Thursday night, and half of the tasty treats featured Hummel in a Purdue uniform. See the cookies in this post.
BTN’s Jim Jackson caught up with six Big Ten names working out at the NBA’s pre-draft combine in Chicago. Jackson talked to Jared Sullinger, William Buford, Draymond Green, Jordan Taylor, Meyers Leonard, and Robbie Hummel. If you’re running games down at the gym, that’s a pretty good first six right there.
Purdue All-American forward Robbie Hummel has been selected as the 2012 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award winner for men’s basketball. The announcement and trophy presentation were made Friday by Lowe’s, an official corporate sponsor of the NCAA, during the open practice sessions of Final Four Friday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Josh: It’s time to reflect on another season of Big Ten hoops. I think the rest of college basketball has finally taken notice of something that’s been true for the past 18 months or so–the Big Ten is the best conference in college basketball. Still, you look at the conference today, you see two great teams, 3 pretty darn good teams, a team good enough to make the Dance, and then mediocrity. Heck, even a couple of pretty bad teams. I mean, it’s hard to say the conference underachieved, but here goes–the conference underachieved. Sure, this is still the best action you’ll find, and it’s not close, but we’re still talking about a league that’s probably going to get 6 bids, with only a couple of standout teams. Does that sound much different than the past decade, when the Big Ten wasn’t measuring up to the likes of the ACC and the Big East?
Aaron Craft is a very good defensive player. Let’s get that out of the way. Whatever you think of the next few paragraphs, remember that we all agree that Craft’s defense would improve just about any collegiate basketball team.
This week on “The Journey,” you got to experience Senior Night with some of the Big Ten’s biggest stars, including Michigan seniors Zach Novak and Stu Douglass, Ohio State’s William Buford, Purdue’s Robbie Hummel and Iowa’s Matt Gatens. It was moving footage, to say the least. Watch a segment from Sunday night’s show now and catch three terrific bonus clips inside this post.
Wednesday was Senior Night at Mackey Arena, and that meant it was Purdue fans’ final chance to say goodbye to Robbie Hummel, as well as Lewis Jackson and Ryne Smith. As great as Jackson and Smith are, Hummel was the star of the festivities. The forward, of course, came to Purdue along with JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore, and the trio put Purdue back on the national map. Unfortunately, injuries plagued Hummel throughout his career and kept him off the court for a year and a half. I went to Twitter to ask Purdue fans for their favorite Hummel moment or memory. See the responses in this post.
The Big Ten Conference released its Big Ten Men’s Basketball Players of the Week for Feb. 20-26 action on Monday. See the winners and what they did to earn the distinctions in this post. The women’s honors were released Monday, too.
With Saturday’s win over Michigan, Purdue has seemingly punched its ticket to the Dance. At 9-7 in conference play, the Boilermakers are probably right where most expected them to finish this season–still solidly in the field of 68, but not a serious contender for the conference championship. But how they got to this point is very unexpected. Ever since the Baby Boilers arrived at West Lafayette, defense has been the calling card of this team:
Another night, another set of at-large hopes dashed. On Wednesday evening, Minnesota hoped to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive, at least for another few days, with a crucial home matchup against Michigan State. Things were looking up when the Gophers took a nine-point lead with just over 10 minutes remaining. Maybe Minnesota really would pull this off and get back onto the bubble.
Prior to his breakout performance against Ohio State, Adreian Payne had scored double figures in exactly two Big Ten games as a Spartan. And although his offense was certainly a big reason for Michigan State’s victory, his defense probably deserves more credit. Payne did something that few ever will–make Jared Sullinger look like a bad basketball player. The Ohio State big man was frustrated all game long, and although he had 17 points and 16 rebounds, it came at a cost of 10 turnovers (not to mention 4 fouls).
Last Tuesday, we watched Illinois and Michigan State fight it out to a 42-41 final. A week later, Ohio State and Purdue matched that point total on the first possession of the second half in an entertaining 87-84 Ohio State win. Both teams used outstanding three-point shooting and minuscule turnover rates to power themselves above 1.30 points per trip, marking a season-high output for both sides.
The knock on Indiana this season was that while the Hoosiers are nearly unbeatable at home, they’re almost the opposite on the road. To wit, the home and away efficiencies are Stevenson-esque in conference play:
With about 10 seconds remaining, Northwestern had succeeded in holding Purdue’s Robbie Hummel, Ryne Smith, and Lewis Jackson to a combined 17 points. That trio spearheads the Boilermaker offense, which has stalled at times this season when one of those three is having an off night. And in Purdue’s final possession, with the game tied, Northwestern played some of its best defense of the season, forcing Robbie Hummel into a contested mid-range jumper from the baseline.
It’s been a struggle from the field much of the season for Purdue senior Robbie Hummel. Entering Saturday’s game at Northwestern, the senior forward was shooting a career-low 39 percent and hadn’t hit 50 percent of his shots in any game since Nov. 29. Hummel was under 50 percent again Saturday (5 of 11; 45 percent), but he was money when it mattered most. With the score tied and less than 10 seconds remaining on the clock, Hummel made something out of nothing, hitting an impressive driving leaner to send Purdue past Northwestern. Watch the game-winning shot now.
Can you see it? I can. It’s stratification in this crazy Big Ten title chase. Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan sit atop the standings with 5-2 league marks. Right behind that trio are Wisconsin, Illinois and Purdue with three conference defeats.
Up is down. In is out. Black is white. Welcome to Big Ten basketball 2012, a season filled with twists and turns that have jumbled the race (standings). And the conference season isn’t even half over. This past week was filled with tumult that scrambled the league standings and made one thing perfectly clear: This is going to be a wild race for the Big Ten championship.
Have any doubts whether Purdue senior Robbie Hummel is healthy from his two major knee surgeries? Yeah, um, Hummel showed just how good he’s feeling with an athletic play to end the first half of Tuesday’s game against IPFW. It looked as though Kelsey Barlow was going to end the half with a running layup, but the ball caromed off the rim, and Hummel, who never gave up on the play, was there for the thunderous putback, milliseconds before the buzzer sounded. The refs reviewed the play, but as you can tell, it was good. Watch the putback now.
The Gene Keady coaching tree is scratching its head after last weekend. Both Purdue and Illinois lost, and lost in ways that have been all-too-familiar to fans of those teams. The Boilermakers started out well enough, nearly running Butler out of the gym in the first half: But it was a different story in the second frame: