The Purdue Boilermakers 2009-10 year ended with a loss to Duke in the third round of the NCAA Tournament, but with three highly gifted seniors returning and a great nucleus of young talent, the Boilermakers were being mentioned for a National Championship this year. Those prospects took a stunning turn for the worse, as senior forward Robbie Hummel re-injured his knee and is lost for the year. There is no doubt that the Boilermakers are a better team with Hummel on the court, but they have dealt with his being out of the lineup in the past.

There is still a lot of talent left on the squad, and you can anticipate head coach Matt Painter to have this team fully prepared and ready to go this year. With Hummel out of the lineup look for fellow seniors E’Twun Moore and JaJuan Johnson to rise to the occassion and lead this squad. Experts still have the Boilermakers rated No.8 in the nation, and Purdue did just blowout Howard 76-40 in the first game of the season.

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Frontcourt: Johnson is a really tough matchup for opposing teams. Not only does he have a number of moves down low, but he can also step out and hit the perimeter jump shot as well. Johnson averaged 15.5 points, seven boards a game last season, but is also very solid on the defensive side of the ball with his shot blocking ability. In Purdue’s first contest, sophomore Patrick Bade started at power forward in place of Hummel, but freshmen Travis Carroll and Sandi Marcius also got plenty of playing time too.

Backcourt: The Boilermakers started three guards against Howard, and with little depth inside, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Purdue go with a small lineup the rest of the way. Moore led all players with 16 points, and that is right on pace from his average from last season. Moore’s shooting percentage really went down last year when Hummel went down, but it didn’t seem to effect him in his first contest. Junior point guard Lewis Jackson does a solid job of distributing the basketball and can get to the basket in a flash, but lacks a jump shot to be a legit scoring threat.

Junior Ryne Smith started at the other guard spot, but it’s only a matter of time before freshman Terone Johnson steps in and takes over. Johnson scored 9 points in just 20 minutes versus Howard, and to start the season figures to really give the Boilermakers a spark off the bench. Sophomores Kelsey Barlow, D.J. Byrd, and John Hart will fight for playing time off the bench this year. Byrd and Hart each made four of five three point attempts against Howard and ended up with 12 points each.

Pick – 3rd Big Ten: At first I had the Boilermakers picked to win the conference this season, but without Hummel, I moved both Michigan State and Ohio State ahead of Purdue in the Big Ten projections. A lot of the season will depend on the play of their three newcomers, Carrol, Johnson, and Marcius. If these three can come in and contribute immediately, with the way this team plays defense, they could still win the conference and make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.

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