Key Injuries Strike Big 10

Key Injuries Strike Big 10

Key Injuries Strike Big 10
By The Prez

The Purdue Boilermakers are the epitome of a team in college basketball. They certainly have less NBA talent than any of their fellow Top-10 ranked clubs but they do well because the five pieces on the court work well as one unit. Thus it will be interesting to see how the Boilermakers fare without starting point guard Lewis Jackson.

He had surgery this week to repair a broken foot suffered in practice recently. He might well be done for the year and certainly won’t be back before February; Jackson wasn’t to play in the team’s first two games regardless because of a suspension.

"He will be out for a while," Coach Matt Painter said to reporters. "He could be a redshirt candidate, because he hasn't played this year. It would be February at the earliest. We hope it's not season-ending, but it could be."
   
Painter started guards Keaton Grant, Chris Kramer and E'Twaun Moore in the opening win over Cal State Northridge. Freshman Kelsey Barlow was the first guard off the bench and played 18 minutes with six points and three assists. Grant is an upgrade scoring-wise over Jackson. He started 49 games for Purdue in the previous two seasons and was voted the Boilermakers' team MVP in 2007-08. Grant is a good 3-point shooter. Jackson is a better defender and was more of a pass-first player.

Purdue has enough guard depth to deal with this problem, and in fact Grant’s additional minutes could help the team in those low-scoring Big Ten battles. Don’t let this injury affect your Purdue bets.

However, steer clear of Northwestern with the loss of star Kevin Coble for the year. The Wildcats are the only BCS team to never make the NCAA Tournament, and they appeared poised to do that this year behind Coble, He was second-team All-Big Ten last year after leading NU with averages of 15.5 points and 4.8 rebounds and helped the team to the NIT. He hurt his foot on Nov. 10 and decided to have season-ending surgery and a redshirt season. Coble has led the Wildcats in scoring and rebounding for three seasons.

NU was a good sleeper team to watch this year, but without Coble the Wildcats sink back to the bottom of the Big Ten. Northwestern beat a bad Northern Illinois team in its opener but then lost by 13 at home to a ranked Butler team. NU had that game circled as one to build its NCAA Tournament resume, but now you can count out any postseason play for the Wildcats.

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