NCCAB: Hummel to spark Purdue?
The health of star forward Robbie Hummel could be the key as the Purdue Boilermakers host the Michigan State Spartans on Tuesday night.
Hummel missed three games with a stress fracture in his lower back and the Boilermakers were a different team without him, going 1-2 straight-up and ATS. Hummel was able to return Saturday off the bench and give the team 24 minutes, but Purdue could only muster a 49-45 win at Iowa, failing to cover the five-point spread.Purdue now has its biggest game of the year on Tuesday, hosting the Big Ten’s best team, Michigan State. Tip-off for this ESPN ‘Super Tuesday’ game is 7 pm ET.
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Purdue is 19-6 on the season, but at 8-4 in the conference, they trail Michigan State by two games. And while the return of Hummel was a psychological boost for his teammates, he only went 1-7 from the floor and they need more scoring to contend with this rapidly improving Michigan State team.
The Spartans (20-4) have turned up their play the last six games, going 5-1 straight-up and ATS. They are by far the leading scoring team (74.6 PPG) in this offensive challenged conference, over five points per game ahead of second place Purdue.
The most impressive part of their recent run is they’ve done it without their second leading scorer (12.3 PPG), forward Raymar Morgan. Morgan has missed the last three games with mono but is expected to play at least some against Purdue.
MSU has been able to survive his absence due to great team balance. Guard Kalin Lucas averages almost 15 PPG, but guards Chris Allen and Durrell Summers and center Goran Sutton are all averaging at least nine points per game.
Purdue, on the other hand, relies almost exclusively on Hummel, guard E’Twaun Moore and big man JaJuan Johnson. They will have trouble winning this game without a good effort from all three, which is why Hummel’s health is so important.
If Purdue is going to win, it’s going to be with defense and the home court advantage. The Boilermakers are second in the conference at 57.8 points allowed. Purdue is also 7-4 ATS at home this year compared to 3-5 ATS on the road, and they have covered their last four at home.
Another major betting trend is that Michigan State has been a tremendous road team at 8-0 straight-up and 6-0-1 ATS. That includes a perfect 5-0 straight up and ATS mark in the Big Ten, although this will be their toughest conference game to date.
Can Hummel contribute enough in this must-win game for Purdue?