I don't know if you can overstate Hummel's importance to the Boilermakers. He's their second leading scorer and second leading rebounder. He provides some size on the perimeter for a team that isn't particularly tall.
He's not a total bellwether--one of his most impressive shooting games came in a loss to Ohio State.
But generally speaking, if you see a win for Purdue, Robbie Hummel had a pretty good hand in it, and they've had a lot of wins this season. Consider, over Purdue's last 3 wins over ranked opponents, Hummel did this: shot 10-22 from the field, 10-11 from the stripe, 22 rebounds, 10 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks.
And that's actually pretty bad shooting, by Hummel standards. There will be a lot of talk about Purdue missing Hummel's accuracy from outside, which is totally valid. Jimmy Dykes talked tonight about how much Purdue is going to miss Hummel's rebounding, which is also totally true. Especially if Purdue ends up going to a four-guard line-up with a kind of undersized big man in JaJuan Johnson, which is what Dykes predicts is going to happen.
But Hummel isn't just about points and boards, as those numbers show--in any particular game, he can drop 5 assists. He also helps key the tough aggressive Purdue defense. Another thing is the depth of Purdue--they ain't particularly deep, and they just lost 37 minutes of game time that they have to fill with somebody. You have to imagine that's going to take a toll on guys like E'Twaun Moore and Keaton Grant (who is probably going to be the guy who has to step up the most).
The other question in everyone's mind is what this does to Purdue's seeding. I say it doesn't really matter that much. They play Michigan State, which would be a tough game regardless. Aside from that, they've got Penn State and Indiana, so Purdue is likely going to be 2-1 headed in post-season play. So maybe they drop from a 1 seed to a 2 seed? At worst, I assume, a 3rd seed. The issue is that regardless of seed, it's going to be really hard for anyone to put them into even the Elite 8. We'll see how they hold up in the Big 10 Tournament. And come March Madness, I'll be taking a real hard look at their opponents from the first round on, as opposed to automatically penciling them into the Sweet Sixteen and working from there.