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Purdue's Hummel heads this all-Big Ten fantasy team
By Lindsey Willhite | Daily Herald Columnist

The numbers show why Purdue freshman Robbie Hummel wins our vote as Big Ten player of the year.

 

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Published: 3/4/2008 12:15 AM

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I've busted out the Excel spreadsheet. I've crunched the numbers and calculated the formulas.

I've figured out whom the voters should select when they send in their all-Big Ten teams at the end of the week.

And the Big Ten player of the year should be … a freshman … from the state of Indiana … who has a serious tie-in with Illinois.

Yep, that's right. Purdue's Robbie Hummel.

In a close race with Indiana's Eric Gordon, Hummel deserves to succeed Alando Tucker as the Big Ten's player of the year if the season ended today.

How do we know this?

Easy. We looked at it from a fantasy basketball perspective.

Using all of the statistics compiled during Big Ten games only -- and weighting the nine categories so players received varying credit for good things like blocks and 3-pointers and suffered varying debits for bad things such as missed free throws and turnovers -- Hummel showed up as the best player in the league.

Hummel's fantasy rating checked in at 86.49 points per game, while Gordon earned 85.10 points. It's almost a dead heat going into the final week of the season.

Hummel's honor is a credit to his all-around excellence, and versatility is crucial in fantasy (as well as real) basketball.

In league games, he shoots 51 percent from the field and 89 percent at the line while making almost two 3-pointers per game.

He tops the Big Ten co-leaders in rebounding (5.5 per game), boasts a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio and stands as the only Boiler in double figures in blocks and steals.

Northwestern radio analyst Nate Pomeday probably summed up Hummel best during Saturday's WGN 720-AM broadcast: "He's great. He is just great."

While everyone knows about Gordon's relationship with Illinois, Hummel's long-term relationship with the Illini isn't as well-known.

His grandfather, John, spent nearly four decades as a professor in Illinois' chemistry department, finishing as the department's associate dean.

His father, Glenn, was a four-year letterman in tennis at Illinois and earned all-Big Ten honors as a senior in 1976.

While you're pondering how Hummel got away from Illinois, check out the rest of the Big Ten's all-fantasy first team:

Ohio State point guard Jamar Butler, Northwestern guard Craig Moore and Michigan center Epke Udoh. Udoh beat out Indiana's D.J. White for the final spot.

More than a little stunned to see Moore and Udoh there?

Based on the numbers, Moore is a no-brainer. He leads the Big Ten in 3-pointers (52), ranks second in steals (34) and picks up enough rebounds and assists while not missing a huge number of shots.

Udoh, meanwhile, takes advantage of the league's relative paucity of blocks. He owns a league-best 45 swats -- and each block is worth 19.99 points -- to outweigh the fact he scores just 6 points per game.

Another potential problem with the fantasy format? It doesn't do a good job of measuring Wisconsin's players.

Either that, or the co-Big Ten leaders are more than the sum of their parts -- because none of them finished among the top 17 fantasy players.

However, the Badgers were the only team to have five of the top 32 players on the list.

Lindsey Willhite's all-Big Ten fantasy team

First team Pts

Robbie Hummel, Purdue 86.5

Eric Gordon, Indiana 85.1

Jamar Butler, Ohio St. 82.5

Craig Moore, NU 81.4

Epke Udoh, Michigan 78.8

Second team Pts

D.J. White, Indiana 74.3

Drew Neitzel, Mich. St. 72.2

Kosta Koufos, Ohio St. 71.6

E'Twaun Moore, Purdue 70.0

Drew Naymick, Mich St. 69.0

Third team Pts

Kevin Coble, NU 66.1

Manny Harris, Michigan 65.2

Keaton Grant, Purdue 63.5

Chris Kramer, Purdue 58.9

Tony Freeman, Iowa 58.5

Team fantasy standings*

Purdue 85.0

Michigan St. 77.5

Ohio St. 71.5

Indiana 70.5

Minnesota 68.5

Wisconsin 66.0

Michigan 57.0

Northwestern 52.0

Illinois 43.0

Penn St. 37.5

Iowa 36.5

*Measures the teams in 10 statistical categories; 11 points for best and 1 point for worst in each one)