Injury Riddled Purdue is Recovering by jimjohnsonpbm

by Jim Johnson

It’s not like Purdue is going to be able to walk into Ross-Ade Stadium on Saturday and blast past the Rockets.

Purdue doesn’t have much of an advantage over Toledo when looking at the history of the two teams’ meetings.

The Boilermakers are 3-2 in its series with the Rockets. Purdue’s longest winning streak against Toledo is two games – which is the last two meetings, including a 52-31 win a year ago.

Not to mention, Purdue is injury riddled, but improving.

Quarterback Robert Marve came out of the game late in the third quarter, but it was late in the second half that he injured his right knee on a quarterback sneak play on 4-and-1.

I’ve said it before, Marve plays so hard, he gets hurt or he’s really going to hurt himself – just like Bob Sanders of the Colts.

Marve said on the run he was in a position where he couldn’t move and a helmet caught him in the knee. According to the transcript of Purdue coach Danny Hope’s Tuesday press conference, it was a deep bruise and he is expected to play.

If he doesn’t play? Well, Rob Henry will step in again at the quarterback spot. Henry had 65 yards rushing on 10 carries last week and became the first quarterback to lead the tam in rushing since Joey Elliott in 2009.

But why is it so important that Marve does play? The Big Ten part of the schedule is nearing and Marve is going to be key if Purdue is going to have any sort of success.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Marve doesn’t play though. I wasn’t able to capture the tone or the mood from reading the transcripts of Hope’s press conference, but he certainly didn’t elaborate. It was almost like he shut it down.

Not to mention that after the game on Saturday, Marve downplayed the injury to his knee. It’s the same knee he surgery on in 2009 to repair a torn ACL, which appeared to be wrapped still after the game.

RB Dan Dierking was also injured with bruised ribs and had limited playing time last week and didn’t even practice in preparation for the Ball State game.

Hope said he expects Dierking to play against Toledo.

This team, even if Keith Smith is out for the season, has potential to be really good and do some really good things. Health is obviously important and the top two significant keys for Purdue at this point is getting healthy and learning how to thrown the long ball.

The running game has been impressive to me with everyone Purdue has to mix into the running game. But those long pass plays are needed from time to time. Marve can throw the ball. It just seems, to me anyway, its a matter of having a guy there to catch it.

While health is on the mind of Purdue right now, Hope said he sent a message to Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio who suffered a heart attack last week.

Hope told the media on Tuesday that the job of a head football coach is rather stressful and talked about the stress of the job and about how much time the occupation takes.

“You guys can be nicer and make it a lot easier,” Hope said laughing. “But it’s very stressful. The hours, it’s total life consuming. During the season if it was an 80-hour week, a short week, and you usually dip into the 100-hour week. Those aren’t exaggerations, those are legit, and it goes on for hundreds of days in a row. The bigger it gets, the bigger it gets and the more there is. So it is total life consuming, and it is fast-paced, and it’s a stressful occupation in a lot of ways.”

Email Jim Johnson at jim@johnsonmediapbm.com and follow him on Twitter @JimJohnsonWIRE (www.Twitter.com/JimJohnsonWIRE)

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Sports From the Couch–Desperation Continues In Bloomington by jshowal2

by Jeff Showalter

The Boss has just posted on Walter Offutt walking on at IU. Good for him. Injuries and poor judgement have been issues for the Warren Central grad but knees are fixable and kids make bad decisions, in recruiting, every year. I hope Offutt can contribute once he becomes eligible in December.

I read a book a few weeks ago about the US auto industry. “Crash Course” is a really good read about the last 50 years of the car business and spends a lot of time on the crisis that has occurred over the past few years. Two points I took away from the book was 1) history repeats itself. The names change but arrogant leaders will make the same mistakes as their predecessors if they don’t pay attention to their own business history; and 2) General Motors may have been the most mis-manged company in the history of US business. GM continued on paths that they knew would lead to a certain demise yet believed because they were “GM” things would work out ok.

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Sports From the Couch by jshowal2

by Jeff Showalter

The first “Sports From the Couch” babe award winner…Blake Lively!

The Philadelphia Eagles traded Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins. That means Andy Reid thinks his former QB is not only toast, but that Philly thinks the trade will allow the Eagles to win two divisional games every year. Eagles-Redskins is must see TV for 2010.

The NFL draft is seven rounds and will take THREE DAYS! Roger Goddell may be the best commissioner in sports and ESPN is still the sports leader, but this is completely out of control and will water down the experience.

I think all championship games, across all sports, should be played weekdays at 9 pm Eastern time so no kids will ever get to watch the games. Geesh! Does anyone care if kids get to watch these games anymore?

Remember when IU basketball was relevant? I don’t remember either. I do know this, while Crean is tweeting and clapping and tanning, Indiana kids are picturing themselves in Purdue and Butler uniforms.



Sports From the Couch-Weekend Observations by jshowal2

By Jeff Showalter

As we all get ready for a big day of basketball, I thought it was time for some quick hits on numerous topics.

I can’t believe this is the last season of “24”. I didn’t start watching it until I spent a winter weekend, some years ago, renting seasons one thru three. The best part of renting is that there are no commercials so you can get thru a season in a couple days. Jack Bauer is one of the all time great characters, even if it is partially due to the fact that no one can do in one day what he does.

I have mixed feelings about Purdue. Every team should hope to play as hard as the Boilers did in the three tournament games. They defended, rebounded and outworked their opponents but I just can’t understand how this team, even without Hummel, was so bad offensively. I think Painter needs to tighten up the offensive efficiency because there is no reason to believe a team with that much talent can get in the 60’s against a slow Duke team.

Baylor? I knew people said they were good, and I’m not spending a lot of time staying up late to watch the late Big 12 games on ESPN but they are pretty good. Long, athletic and can shoot it. I think Baylor runs away from Duke Sunday. I don’t see how Duke keeps up athletically.

Tennessee beating The Ohio State University was not surprising. Tennessee goes nine deep and OSU plays six or seven. Thad Matta lost that game in November when he decided not to build some depth. Bruce Pearl is nuts, but he can coach. His teams play just off the brink of “out of control”, but they defend, the turn people over and they can run. They could beat Michigan State very easily.

Speaking of the Spartans, Tom Izzo is the first coach since Bob Knight that the quote “he can take his team and beat your team and then take your team and beat his team” applies to. The guy does amazing things with his teams. It really is strange because he doesn’t go all over the country to get players. Some of the big time recruits he gets, don’t always play like world beaters. He gets guys that may not be great players and gets them to play over their heads. MSU plays so hard it is ridiculous. Sparty never looks good in November or December, they lose games in conference that they shouldn’t. They go into the tournament with seven eight, nine losses and next thing you know they are making a tournament run. Izzo teams play so hard that they create ways to win.

Why do the Pacers wait until March to look like a real NBA team? Jeez, what time to play well. Nothing like playing your way into the 10th pick in the draft!

DeJuan Blair, 71 games played. Tyler Hansbrough, 29 games played.

There is nothing more irritating to discuss then religion or politics. I left those arguments back with my heavy drinking college days, but every Catholic in the world should be embarrassed that their church has allowed pedophiles to be responsible for parishes for so long and basically done nothing.

Why the NCAA doesn’t move the women’s tournament back two weeks so that it can have it’s own spotlight, is one of the dumbest business decisions in all of sports.

St. John’s should go after Geno Auriemma as their head coach. Geno has nothing left to prove at UConn and he could coach men.

Tom Crean lost out on another recruit. This time to Georgetown. Anyone outside of Indiana, that watches the Hoosiers play, would not want to go there either.

Tom Crean, you live in Indiana. They have a ton of division one players located inside its borders. Going to Florida, New Jersey or Washington D.C . for players is not really necessary. Mike Davis is at UAB because he recruited Alabama harder then Indiana. Pay attention!

Ok now for the big games. First the late game. West Virginia versus the Evil Empire. Talk bout the lesser of two evils! Bob Huggins is not what you would consider as a sympathetic figure, but compared to UK and Calipari, Huggins is a saint. I really think WVU could irritate UK because they defend are as athletic. I still don’t think it’s enough because John Wall is too good. The Evil Empire advances by 7.

Butler versus K-State. Kansas State is bigger, faster, jump higher, longer and stronger. Butler is smarter and can shoot better. Hayward and Howard absolutely have to stay out of foul trouble. Everyone says Kansas State has better guards. I diasgree. They have DIFFERENT guards. Both shoot it and both play fast, but I don’t necessarily thing they are better. KSU gave up a bunch of points to Xavier because their guards didn’t defend. I think Nored can shut down either guard Stevens puts him on. If Mack shoots for 40 minutes like he did for the first 20 versus the ‘Cuse, then the guards cancel each other out.

Today is Gordon Haywards defining moment. If he can shoot it and be difficult to guard, he can get to the line and make hay. I think today is the day Hayward becomes a legitimate big time player. 20 to 25 points and Butler wins by 5.

Tom Crean: you reading this?



Izzo: ‘Don’t kid yourself, they missed him and they missed him a lot’ by jimjohnsonpbm

by Jim Johnson

Sunday’s Purdue game against Michigan St. was the biggest game of the season for the Boilermakers thus far. They needed to win to lock in the No. 1 spot in the Big Ten. Just as importantly, they needed a win to prove to the world they can continue on without Robbie Hummel.

“Late in the game when they needed a basket, that’s Hummel time,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “He wasn’t there.”

“We can’t expect him to be there anymore,” Purdue senior Chris Kramer said after the game. “When Rob went down, our back went up against the wall.”

And indeed they were. They were up against the wall the entire game too. When they needed a rebound, they didn’t get it and ended up getting outrebounded by Michigan St., 46-20. Purdue had only six offensive boards.

When they needed a basket, they obviously didn’t get it. What’s worse, most of their shots were just 2-point field goals. One six points were scored from beyond the arc. E’Twaun Moore can shoot and had two, 3-point attempts go in-and-out – one was late in the game when a trey would have shifted the momentum of the game to Purdue and cut the deficit down to just a two possession game.

I thought Sunday’s game would paint a picture for the rest of the season for Purdue. If that is the picture they painted, they’re in trouble.

Purdue will simply need to reevaluate some things. In all fairness, they only had three days to put together a game plan without Hummel. And in all fairness you have to play games to figure out which rotation is going to work. Unfortunately, it’s late in the season and there’s only two regular season games left until the start of the Big Ten Tournament.

“We still control our own destiny,” Kramer said.

That certainly is true and it would help if JaJuan Johnson didn’t attempt anymore treys or toss up a hook shot when down eight points.

Purdue will finish the season with two teams at the bottom of the Big Ten standings – Indiana and Penn State.

They can play without Hummel. At least on the offensive end. Against Ohio St. he only had four points. Three times this season he didn’t reach double figures in scoring. Five games this season he only had 11 points. But he can rebound, averaging 6.9 rebounds per game. There aren’t very many people who follows their shot like him.

He is also a solid defensive player and is great when it comes to dribble penetration.

I have complete confidence that Purdue will be okay and will be able to make a solid run on the NCAA Tournament. Even if they do have a four guard line-up now.



Big Ten Winding Down, but Heating Up by jimjohnsonpbm
February 21, 2010, 6:03 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

by Jim Johnson

It’s like March is already here – over a week early. The top five teams in the Big Ten (Purdue, Michigan St., Ohio State, Illinois, and Wisconsin) continue to jump around amongst themselves as the season comes to a close.

It’s obvious that Purdue’s 60-57 win over Ohio State in Columbus was huge – a game that I thought Ohio State would win. And their 75-65 win over Illinois was just as big. But how big? Big enough that Purdue couldn’t afford to lose it.

Ten days ago, I thought the fight for the No. 1 position in the Big Ten would come down to Purdue and Michigan St. I thought the winner of the Purdue-Michigan St. game next Sunday would determine the winner of the No. 1 spot. It’s still going to come down to that game – for Purdue anyway. But it isn’t Michigan St. that’s their problem – it’s Ohio St.

On Sunday, Michigan St. dropped a game to Ohio State, 74-67. That outcome put Purdue on top at 11-3 and now Michigan St. and Ohio State are tied for second. Wisconsin almost dropped their game to Northwestern, but pulled it off, 70-63.

Let’s take a look at the rest of the season with Purdue in first (11-3), Michigan St. and Ohio State tied for second (11-4), Wisconsin in fourth (10-5) and Illinois in fifth (9-5).

Illinois will travel to Michigan on Wednesday and will probably win – meaning they would be tied for fourth with Wisconsin. But here’s the hard thing about predicting Illinois games: They recently lost to Ohio State at home, but beat Wisconsin on the road. Back in January they lost to Purdue at home and also lost to Northwestern. They’re simply not consistent and hard to predict.

On Thursday, Ohio State will beat Penn State and Purdue will most likely beat Minnesota, although I do have a question mark next to that game because Minnesota has been causing problems. They beat Wisconsin and Ohio State at home (their game against Purdue will be at home). They’re on a two-game winning streak of beating Wisconsin and Indiana to give them that “outside-looking-in” position of the top five teams.

But with an Ohio State and Purdue win on Thursday, Purdue will still sit on top at 12-3 and Ohio State at 12-4. There’s simply no room for error on Purdue’s part.

On Saturday, Ohio State will host Michigan and will win. That would put the Buckeyes at 13-4 and on top of the Big Ten standings. The following day Purdue will have the chance to regain the No. 1 spot in the conference, but only if they beat Michigan State. If Purdue wins, they’re back on top at 13-3, with Ohio State at 13-4 and then Michigan St. at 11-5 (notice Michigan St. doesn’t have a game until Sunday with the Boilermakers, meaning they have a week to rest and prepare).

Should Michigan State win, the tables are turned. Ohio State stays on top at No. 1 and 13-4. Purdue would slide to 12-4, and Michigan St. would improve to 12-4, tied with Purdue for second and one game behind Ohio State.

I knew the Big Ten would be close, but I didn’t realize it would be this close.

The rest of the regular season doesn’t have as big of games as what is being played this weekend. Purdue will beat Penn State and they will beat Indiana. Michigan State could get beat my Michigan on March 6 and Ohio State could get beat by Illinois on March 2, but this weekend’s game against Purdue and Michigan St. will paint the picture for the final Big Ten standings.

And then, of course, it’s time for the Big Ten Tournament. Now that’s going to be a blood bath and a riot alone.

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