Friday, March 11, 2011

That's the end of that

Last season, Purdue struggled without Robbie Hummel in the lineup. They pulled out an 8-point win over Northwestern in the first round, but then took a 40-minute dump against Minnesota in the semis.

This year, the dump came one round earlier. While fellow possible #2 seeds Duke and Syracuse were playing tight games, Purdue failed to show up against Michigan State. The resulting loss not only secured the Spartans' spot in the tournament, but will likely drop Purdue to the bottom of the #3 line, hoping not to get pushed into a #4. (Now the Syracuse-Connecticut game needs to go the other way; the Huskies seem the most likely team to move up to a #3.)

It also begs the question of the chances that Purdue has to make a run this season. Gone is the glow from knocking off Ohio State and Wisconsin in the same week; in its place is the uncertainty brought on by losing to two second-division conference opponents in one week.

Matt Painter has his work cut out for him. He needs to get the problems fixed in practice the next few days, or one of the better teams in Purdue history is going to join some of its peers in the Disappointments section of the history books.

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