One team continues to prove critics and writers wrong. Matt Painter’s Purdue Boilermakers continue to prove that they are surviving just fine without Robbie Hummel. In fact, it becomes scary to consider how good the Boilers could be with Robbie Hummel. Bloggers and writers (myself included) scoffed at seemingly radical Purdue fans that claimed the Purdue offense wouldn’t miss a beat and would even be better without Hummel. Now with just two weeks remaining in conference play, the Boilermakers are just a game out of first place and tied with Wisconsin for the league’s best efficiency margin. That Purdue offense that was ripped in the pre-season is averaging 1.13 points per trip, .08 more than last year’s iteration. Sure, E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson – both likely First Team All Big Ten performers – are a nice fall back plan to Hummel but Matt Painter should be the favorite for the Big Ten Coach of the Year Award.
The middle of the the Big Ten remains muddled. Illinois, Michigan State, Minnesota, Michigan, and Penn State are all tough to pick apart and are apparently in the thick of this week’s bubble talk. Illinois remains the most efficient of the bunch but still has to play road games at Purdue and Ohio State. There will be plenty of opportunity to settle the differences over the final two weeks of the regular season. – Dylan Burkhardt
It’s time to finally acknowledge that Michigan is “on the bubble”, even if the Wolverines are still on the outside looking in. I was trying to resist the temptation to start posting things like this but, at this point it’s relevant information.
Burke had 14 points on 5 of 7 (1-2 3pt) shooting, seven assists, four steals, and four rebounds in the Columbus City League Championship game. Burke had 10 points in the first quarter before Waltnut Ridge started throwing a variety of box-and-one and triangle-and-two defenses to try to slow down the talented floor general. It was Northland’s fifth consecutive City League Title and we posted video here.
Northland tips off the State Tournament this Wednesday as they face Groveport Madison. Burke finished the regular season averaging 24 points, seven assists, three rebounds and two steals per game while shooting 66% (143-232) on twos and 48% (39-81) on threes
Tim Hardaway Jr. earned his second consecutive Big Ten Freshman of the Week award and his third overall. Here’s the release:
Michigan’s Tim Hardaway Jr. earns his second consecutive weekly award and third overall after averaging 20.0 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game. The freshman shot 56.5 (13-of-23) from the floor, 55.6 percent from long range (5-for-9) and 90.0 percent from the free-throw line. In Michigan’s 75-72 overtime victory against Iowa, Hardaway scored a career-best 30 points, going 9-for-14 from the field, including a 5-for-7 performance from long range. His performance made him the first Michigan freshman to hit 30 points in a game in 33 years.
Last Michigan Freshman of the Week: Tim Hardaway Jr. (Feb. 14, 2011)
A common theme for Tim Hardaway Jr.’s big games (excluding the Penn State game) is that he is usually able to get a few early shots to fall. These were more important earlier in the season because it seemed like he would get in a funk if he missed some early open looks and he wouldn’t be effective. At this point, Tim seems to have matured so rapidly — and he doesn’t need to rely on the 3-point shot as much — that he can disregard early misses and force himself to be a factor whether he’s hitting his outside shot or not. Still, it’s always good for Tim to get things going from beyond the arc early in the game, especially in one as sloppy as this one was. On the first play, the “Big Three” team up to get Tim open and get him the ball: Jordan Morgan sets a screen on Tim’s man and Darius Morris finds him for the open triple. On the second play, Darius gets one of his more impressive assists on the season, tipping the ball to Hardaway in the corner while falling down in transition. Tim buries the shot but this is an extremely impressive play by Morris, who manages to not just see Hardaway but also get him the ball all in the split second that he’s falling to the ground. [click to continue…]