Between a nightmarish weather-delayed trip to East Lansing and a discouraging 25-point loss at Michigan State, Purdue coach Matt Painter might have been more short-tempered than usual Saturday.
It showed when Painter got into a heated exchange with members of the Michigan State student section after the final buzzer when one of them shouted that he hoped Robbie Hummel would sustain a third ACL tear.
"I think the Izzone is great," Painter told reporters in his postgame news conference. "But if they're going to say, 'I hope you tear your ACL again,' I'm going to say something. He doesn't deserve that."
Verbally retaliating to jabs from the opposing student section is seldom a good idea for a head coach, but if ever there were a time when it's justifiable, this might have been it. Wishing injury on a visiting player is bush league and classless, especially considering the perseverance Hummel has shown coming back from a pair of ACL tears that sidelined him for the final month of the 2009-10 season and all of last year.
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo wrote a letter to members of the "Izzone" earlier this month challenging them to make the home-court advantage at the Breslin Center more formidable, but this clearly wasn't what he had in mind. He supported Painter's stance, telling reporters that if a student really made a comment about Hummel's health, he's "going to rip the Izzone again."
"I would throw the guy out of here who said something like that," Izzo said. "If he wants to talk about his grandmother I wouldn't like it, but I'd deal with it. If he wants to talk about an injury and a kid who's been through so much, I'd try to find out who it was and make sure that he buys his ticket elsewhere."
Maybe the only person who didn't seem all that upset about the comments from Izzone members was Hummel, who was far more displeased with his unprecedented 0-for-11 shooting against the Spartans.
Said Hummel: "I couldn't give a crap what the Izzone says."
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- Robbie Hummel