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January 12, 2012Matt Painter wants his team to be consistent, in its effort, in its willingness to follow a scouting report, in its ability to finish.
But Purdue hasn't.
And after a 67-62 loss to Wisconsin on Thursday in Mackey Arena, that meant the Boilermakers picked up their fifth loss of the season.
It's the soonest the program has had that many losses at this point in the year since 2007-08 when Purdue lost its fifth game on Jan. 8.
Last season, Purdue's fifth loss came on Feb. 1 (to Wisconsin). In 2009-10, it lost only six games all season and didn't hit No. 5 until March 13. In 2008-09, the fifth came on Feb. 3.
So it wasn't surprising - and with the way the team has played of late - that Painter was asked afterward if he thought this group was an NCAA Tournament caliber team.
"We'll find out," he said after his team fell to 3-2 in the Big Ten. "I think a lot of teams, a lot of coaches jump up and say yes to that early. You have to prove yourself. I think we have to be consistent if our answer is going to be yes. We've got to do a better job of being ready to play, rebounding, just being tougher, just doing a lot of the little things.
"But I do think we have the pieces to be an NCAA Tournament team."
Purdue (13-5) doesn't play again until Tuesday when it hosts Iowa.
But something has seemed to be hurting his shot of late.
In four Big Ten games, Hummel has made only 22 of 59 shots (37 percent) and 7 of 22 three-pointers (32 percent). That includes his 5-of-17 performance against Wisconsin on Thursday.
"I just didn't shoot the ball well," said Hummel, who entered the season as a career 46 percent shooter. "I had some looks that I didn't knock down. Guys did a good job of finding me, getting me the ball in a place where I should be able to score. But that's on me. I didn't make those shots."
But a slumping Hummel is still, well, Hummel.
"I knew it wasn't his best night, but here's the thing, I told our players, you ought to just thank a Robbie Hummel," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. "Because what he brings to basketball is unbelievable determination, grit. Did things through injuries, kept his teammates up, did all those things before now he's playing again.
"So it's still Robbie Hummel to me. It's still a guy I'd take anywhere. I'd take him to the ends of the earth. I'd want him playing for me."
Lewis Jackson played 20 minutes but wasn't on the court in the final 3:58.
Painter said he wanted to have Kelsey Barlow in the game to defend Jordan Taylor, and Painter also had Terone Johnson on the floor alongside Barlow.
Jackson had three rebounds, two points on 1-of-5 shooting and one assist. He looked especially hobbled after the game, hardly able to stand up straight. Jackson said earlier in the week that he wasn't going to let his nagging back injury keep him off the court.
Purdue had only three turnovers, tying for its season low. Barlow, Johnson and Travis Carroll each had one.
Carroll tied a career high with eight rebounds.
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