Could any image better exemplify the latest run for the Boilers?
I'm not saying that Hummel is the key to winning - especially with the recent tour de force from E'Twaun and JJ - but the sheer number of injuries and illness have been staggering at times. Had the photographer stuck around a few seconds longer he might have seen Robbie back on his feet as the Boilermakers went on dispatching Indiana (even if Rob was a tad woozy).
Tonight's the time to put the recent agony behind us.
Purdue is a 2-point favorite on the road at Michigan. Obviously this is a reunion of Manny Harris's elbow and Chris Kramer's nose. And as exciting as more of Kramer's blanket defense is, there's a larger picture though. A road win tonight keeps Purdue in the driver's seat for a Big Ten championship, and that carries additional weight that seems quite appealing at this point. Not only would the Boilers then have another road win in dethroning Michigan St, but just imagine an Illinois victory over the Spartans. In that scenario the Boilers would be the #1 seed at Conseco for the Big Ten tournament and potentially leapfrog themselves to a #2 seed in the NCAA.
Not only does the #2 seed bring the easier walk to the Sweet Sixteen, it might also earn opening round games in Dayton, OH. Add to that fact the recent tendency of the Paint Crew to travel well and the games in Dayton being on the Friday-Sunday rotation and it spells home court advantage and another weekend in Indianapolis.
It all hinges on tonight though.
The Boilers need to extend their defense to take down the perimeter shooting of Michigan and hope that JJ can continue his dominating inside presence. Avoid those opening lulls that have been arduous to watch. Keep the pressure on, and don't play not to lose. And for God's sake, hit your damn free throws.
Hit on all six Boilers and you might start paving your road to Detroit.
I'm know I'm getting ahead of myself, but holy shit, it actually seems plausible.