Hummel out for year
My pick for Big Ten preseason POY is out with another ACL injury. Purdue fans have to be shaking their heads. After Michigan State's miserable off-season (well, just the last couple of months) of Izzo-to-NBA rumors, injuries, rape accusations, the suspension of Korie Lucious, Chris Allen's transfer, and then the possibly season-ending injury to Russell Byrd, I was ready to bump Purdue up to #1. Then...
To paraphrase from earlier conversations- Hummel out- BFD? The biggest. Few players have such an impact of national championship hopes. All respect to the Boilers, they'll still be good, a top ten team certainly. But seriously, you can't minimize the impact this guy had on this program, and the fear that he struck into opponents. When Hummel was just a freshman, in a game that determined the regular-season conference champion, Bo Ryan benched senior Brian Butch because Hummel was torching him, and Butch couldn't reciprocate on the other end. Moore and Johnson and the recruits should keep Purdue playing at a high level, but subtracting three starters from last year's team is going to hurt.
Now, I'm having fits trying to figure out who should be #1. Duke has the most talent, but it's just not the same team that barely won the tourney last April (and let's face it, got to the Final Four through on the easiest road of any team that got there). I just think their luck (and offensive rebounding) doesn't hold up twice in a row. Pittsburgh looks to be the class of the Big East... but they aren't very scary. There's no intimidation factor there, heck- IU beat them last year- and Jamie Dixon's never even been to a Final Four. Of course, Kansas State is another possible top pick, but they just looked lethargic in their loss to Butler last spring- when a Final Four berth was on the line. Florida or Kentucky could be top teams, but if UK couldn't do it with Wall & Cousins, are they really going to do it with Knight and (maybe) Kanter? Florida still has to prove they can make stops.