Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 1/30/12

In our latest NCAA Tournament projection we have the Purdue Boilermakers as an #11 seed in the West Regional, out in Albuquerque. In other words, just a line or two above bubble status. And since February is pretty much here- time to think about who needs to shore up the old resume for selection time come March.

And given how dreadful the Boilers have been at Conseco Fieldhouse, don’t expect them to augment their tourney ready chops at the Big Ten Tournament. Even though the beautiful venue is just a short drive from their West Lafayette campus, Purdue fans will no doubt head into c0nference tournament weekend hoping to be rock solid enough that a one-and-done in Indy won’t have consequence.

At 15-7, x-y in conference, RPI 52, SoS 46 and 5-5 and vs the RPI top 50 their profile looks very average. And it includes bad losses to Butler and Penn State. They also have a two point win over High Point and a 1 point win over Iona which look ugly on paper but doesn’t really matter. This isn’t based on the polls which can be influenced by margin of victory.

But they don’t have any true signature victories. The wins over Temple (RPI 13) and the Illini (RPI 36) are nice. The losses to Alabama and Xavier don’t hurt, because both teams will be a line or two above the Boilermakers come tourney time. And with two chances versus Indiana, and another shot at Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State remaining on the schedule, the opportunities will come. You gotta think they’ll win at least two of those.

The win at Northwestern was pretty big. It reminded us that Purdue has a true closer in Robbie Hummel. In Tuesday’s 66-64 loss to Michigan, Hummel missed a big shot at the end of the game to send the Boilermakers to their third loss in the past four games.

On Saturday, he made sure he didn’t repeat that performance, sinking Northwestern with a tough floater with 8.1 seconds left en route to a 58-56 win.

“It’s not like football when you wait a while after a loss. We lost, regrouped and got a win,” he said in Evanston. He’s a true finisher who can close out wins for them. It’s something NU lacks quite frankly. But back to Hummel, he has a legit “shooter’s mentality,” i.e. a short memory. “It has been frustrating to see shots I normally make not fall. However everyone has been positive and said keep shooting. the guys have confidence in me. It has been tough, but this win feels good.”

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

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