Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Purdue Loses First Game Without Hummel

#14 Michigan State 53, #3 Purdue 44
It was obvious that Purdue wouldn't be nearly as good without Robbie Hummel, and Michigan State has a very good defense, but it was still surprising to see the Purdue's offense play this poorly. They just could not hit a shot. Michigan State even won despite a very sloppy game from Kalin Lucas (8 points, 1 assist, 8 turnovers). Raymar Morgan and Draymond Green were the stars for Michigan State here. I think that one issue that was exposed here for Purdue was their lack of size. They're a pretty small team without Hummel, and spent much of this game with four guards on the floor. This not only gave them trouble against Michigan State, but it will give them trouble against Illinois and Wisconsin in the Big Ten tournament. This loss drops Purdue to a 2 seed for the time being, and in order to get back to a 1 seed they need to not only win the Big Ten tournament, but they need Syracuse, Kentucky, Kansas or Duke to lose a game. I wouldn't bet on it right now. As for Michigan State, they had been tailing off with four losses in their last six games (and those two wins were against bottom-feeders Penn State and Indiana), and this is a huge win for their confidence. It also boosts their resume, pushing them up to 10-7 against the RPI Top 100 with wins over Gonzaga and Wisconsin to go with this one, and zero bad losses. With two relatively easy remaining regular season games Michigan State should win both and end up with a third placed Big Ten finish or better.

Louisville 78, Connecticut 76
Kemba Walker kept UConn in this game with 28 points on only 16 shots from the field, but he was out of control on the last shot of the game. It was Edgar Sosa who came up clutch with a very nice layup to win the game. As usual with UConn, it was their big men who giveth (20 offensive rebounds, to only 15 defensive rebounds for Louisville) and who taketh away (22 turnovers as a team, 14 came from the front line). It's pretty clear that Samardo Samuels has really emerged this year after all of the hype last year as the best Louisville player, and he did a good job fighting down low. Jared Swopshire also gave some good support of the bench (8 points, 5 rebounds). The loss drops UConn to 7-9 in the Big East with two road games remaining (at Notre Dame, at South Florida) that will not be easy. UConn has to at least split the games or their at-large chances are over, and even then they'd need to win at least one Big East tournament game. They'll be in a much better position if they can win both of those games. As for Louisville, this win pushes them to 10-6 in the Big East, but it's a soft 10-6 that mostly comes against the bottom of the conference. They have only one win against the RPI Top 40, and are only 7-9 against the RPI Top 100. They're in the bracket for the time being, of course, but they could fall back out. I think they've got to win at least one more game to assure themselves a bid, either in their final two regular season games or in their first Big East tournament game (where they will have at least one bye).

Clemson 53, Florida State 50
Florida State has had major offensive problems all season long, and once again it cost them a game. They didn't hit a single basket from the field over the final six minutes of the game, blowing a lead to not only hurt their own at-large resume, but to also benefit one of their competitors for an at-large bid. Clemson has a good defense, but that's not a full explanation for Florida State having four more turnovers as a team than field goals made, and zero players in double-digits. What was also surprising was to see Trevor Booker explode for 19 points and 11 rebounds against the gigantic Florida State front line. Both of these teams are now 8-6 in the ACC and are probably in the bracket for sure, but could still use one more win to be certain. Clemson is 7-7 against the RPI Top 100 with wins over Butler and Maryland, while Florida State is 6-7 against the RPI Top 100, but with no RPI Top 25 wins. Florida State is in the more tenuous position, with not only the worse resume at the moment, but also with games left against Wake Forest and at Miami, followed by a possible first round ACC tournament game against North Carolina. There's not an easy win in the bunch.

No comments: