Sunday, March 18, 2012

Purdue dishes on big men

Boilermakers compare Jared Sullinger, Thomas Robinson

Purdue forward Robbie Hummel answers a question during a press conference on Saturday, March 17, 2012 at CenturyLink Center in Omaha. At left is Purdue guard Terone Johnson.

Purdue forward Robbie Hummel answers a question during a press conference on Saturday, March 17, 2012 at CenturyLink Center in Omaha. At left is Purdue guard Terone Johnson.


— When Kansas University’s men’s basketball team knocked off second-ranked Ohio State in December at Allen Fieldhouse, an injury to OSU big man Jared Sullinger forced KU power forward Thomas Robinson to miss out on an opportunity to size up his game against one of the best big men in the country.

With KU’s next NCAA Tournament opponent having faced Sullinger twice this season, a few of the Purdue University players on Saturday served as the de facto experts on comparing and contrasting the skills of the two.

“They’re very similar,” Purdue junior D.J. Byrd said. “Obviously, Sullinger’s got more of a big body in the post, but they’ve both got that mid-range game, as well as a three-point shot sometimes, too. They’re pretty much complete players and physical players who are difficult to guard.”

Because the Boilermakers lack experienced size, fifth-year senior Robbie Hummel, 6-foot-8, 215 pounds, expects to find himself matched up with Robinson, 6-9, 240, for much of today’s 7:40 p.m. contest at CenturyLink Center.

Although the bulk of the talk during Saturday’s media session with the four teams left in Omaha was about game plans, Hummel took time to talk about Robinson and Sullinger’s similarities.

“I think that’s a great comparison,” he said. “Sullinger is probably pretty spot-on. I think Michigan State and Ohio State are very good comparisons to Kansas in the sense that they have good guards, and they have some very good bigs.”

Because the Boilermakers have just two players 6-8 or taller who average more than 15 minutes per game — Hummel plays 32 and Travis Carroll 17 — Purdue’s locker room feature a group of guards chiming in about how they could help neutralize a player like Robinson.

“The main thing we try to do is limit his touches, because if he can’t get the ball he can’t score,” Byrd said. “We’re just gonna try to take him out of what he wants to do. That’s the main focus for us right now.”

Added senior guard Ryne Smith: “You just try to be as physical as you can without fouling.

And Hummel: “You just gotta make sure you don’t give him angles, make him score over you. He’s a very good player, and he’s gonna make some shots. We just have to make sure when he does miss we get the rebound.”

So, who does what better? The Boilermakers were up for answering that question, too.

“I think Thomas Robinson runs the floor a little better,” Byrd said. “He’s a little quicker up the court, but other than that they’re both great players, and they’re both probably going to play a long time in the NBA.”

Smith pointed to Robinson’s more chiseled frame and explosive play.

“Robinson’s just a little bit more athletic than Jared Sullinger is,” he said. “I haven’t seen a lot of Thomas yet, but he’s obviously a great player.”

And Hummel focused on Robinson’s wide array of offensive weapons.

“I think Thomas Robinson probably shoots it a little better than Jared does,” Hummel said. “Jared can step out and shoot just like Thomas can, but, from what I’ve seen, Thomas might shoot it a little better. I’d also say Thomas Robinson might be a little bit better ball-handler.”

In two games against Purdue this season, Sullinger, 6-9, 265, averaged 24 points and nine rebounds in 34 minutes. Those numbers include a recent meeting in the Big Ten tournament, where Sullinger exploded for 30 points and 12 rebounds in a 17-point OSU victory.

Asked if Sullinger’s success had him salivating for his chance to take on the Boilermakers, Robinson played down his advantage.

“I don’t look at it as, ‘Sullinger did it, so I can do it,’” Robinson said. “I’m just gonna try to go out and have a good game.”


Ron Prichard 8 years, 11 months ago

Pound it inside to TRob and Withey. Pound it inside to TRob and Withey. Pound it inside to TRob and Withey. Pound it inside to TRob and Withey. Pound it inside to TRob and Withey. Head to the Sweet 16.

nuleafjhawk 8 years, 11 months ago

Let me run this idea by you raprichard -

What if we were to pound it inside to TRob and Withey ?

nuleafjhawk 8 years, 11 months ago

Lol - ditto for you Sir!

Seriously, I've been saying this all year long - I don't think we can lose any game with Thomas' quickness and athleticism and with Jeff's 80+ % free throw shooting.

It's a great formula. If they will listen to us - they'll still be playing a few weeks from now.

WilburNether 8 years, 11 months ago

Depends on who shows up for this game -- tough Withey or wimpy Withey. We've seen both play over the course of the season.

RockChalk26 8 years, 11 months ago

"Tough Withey" shows up today. There is no way his team will let him play wimpy.

Withey goes 15 points 11 rebounds and 5 blocks! WWWWWWW!

WilburNether 8 years, 11 months ago

As of the 12-minute TV timeout in the first half, you are dead wrong. To this point, it's been all Wimpy Withey. One blocked shot -- and a goose egg for points AND REBOUNDS.

WilburNether 8 years, 11 months ago

It was Wimpy Withey all the way. Final box score:

4 points, 2 rebounds, 2 blocks. Oh, and in 15 minutes.

RockChalk26, remind me to never, ever buy a stock or place a bet based on your tips.

Jackalope7 8 years, 11 months ago

Or how about we play some good Defense? Disturbs me when KU plays against a teams that can stroke it from the 3-point line in March. I can see Purdue shooting over 50% from 3 against the Hawks. Good Defense and Rebounding will win this game for the Jayhawks. RCJH!

kupride4u 8 years, 11 months ago

It does say "they both have that three point shot sometimes." Last I checked, the 3 point shot is over 20'

jayhawker_97 8 years, 11 months ago

“Obviously, Sullinger’s got more of a big body in the post,..."

TRob is not big enough for you?

Alohahawk 8 years, 11 months ago

Sullinger weighs about 260, or so. TRob is at 245, or so. TRob has very little, if any, body fat. Sullinger, I don't think is quite that solid. And according to the TV commentators, one of Sullinger's legs is shorter than the other. From the way Hummel compared him to Sullinger, it sounds like TRob should be able to muscle his way in the paint. Just as raprichard said above, "Pound it inside to TRob and Withey." And stay away from too many 3 point shots!! Make Purdue work on the defensive end and tire them out.

R C J H G K U !!!!! (All caps)

Alohahawk 8 years, 11 months ago

Has anyone else had their posts scrunched together lately? I've tried double and triple spacing to separate my thoughts, and my posts are all being combined into a single paragraph. Makes for jumbled, incoherent posts!!

For example. In the first/previous post, above, I triple spaced between the body comparisons between TRob and Sullinger, and "From the way Hummel...." And then I triple spaced again when I quoted raprichard's post.

And now, in this post, I'm triple spacing after my last line, "....rapricard's post.", to see if it is spaced, or not. I'm also adding arrows to show where there should be a break.

I feel like I'm in remedial English, learning how to type.

Marcia Parsons 8 years, 11 months ago

I think the system tries to compress all the entries to keep from using extra space. Possibly that's what happens to all-caps as well.

JayHawkFanToo 8 years, 11 months ago

If you don't use a period at the end of the sentence, the next line will be merged regardless of spacing.

mattiesdad 8 years, 11 months ago

That was my 1st reaction too, but Sully has 30 pounds on T-Rob. He's a load.

Marcia Parsons 8 years, 11 months ago

And because of that I expect TRob is quicker and more active. Didn't I read that he really dominated Sullinger when they were both at some big-man's camp?

jhyphene 8 years, 11 months ago

This is the kind of game I used to dread in the days before HCBS - physical games scored in the 50s/60s. Not anymore, though. Feel like KU can play with anyone when they are focused in. Rebounding will be big tonight, I don't anticipate great shooting percentages from either team. Hope KU is making free throws tonight, too. RCJHGKU.

Dillweed 8 years, 11 months ago

So true. Roy's teams didn't like getting bumped in the paint and could get happy launching 3's when challenged inside. Remember when we lost to Self's Illinois team that kept putting in bigs to bang us. This team is designed for a grind it out game with lots of TV time-outs. Stay focused and start with defense.

prusso25 8 years, 11 months ago

I appreciate the classy comments both teams are making. This has a different feel than before the detroit game.

gchawk 8 years, 11 months ago

Was thinking the same thing. Purdue is a huge roadblock before we can even think about Ohio State, obviously a very winnable game, but it won't be easy.

addlime 8 years, 11 months ago

Hopefully Withey can be productive early and open up some space for TRob. High low could be very effective if they resort to fronting TRob and trying to deny him the ball. Withey will need to hit a couple shots to keep them honest.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 11 months ago

I wonder if Robbie Hummel is related to those guys that make those cute little porcelain children statues with the big eyes??

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