Last weekend, the Purdue Boilermakers made a deep run in the Big Ten Tournament before eventually falling to the Michigan State Spartans in the championship game. The Boilermakers really showed that they can compete with elite competition, and they were getting a lot of help from players that were not in their elite frontcourt. Vince Edwards was terrific all tournament long and hopefully he will keep it up once the NCAA tournament starts.
The Boilermakers are now a five seed in the NCAA tournament and will face up with the Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans on March 17 in Denver. The Boilermakers looked really tough to beat in the Big Ten Tournament and they will have to bring some of that momentum from the tournament into their matchup against the Trojans. The Virginia Cavaliers are the one seed in their region, which is a team that the Boilermakers could match up nicely with due to their size, but they will need to focus one game at a time because the Trojans are certainly not a team to take lightly.
A.J. Hammons has been incredible all season long for the Boilermakers, and he will have to play big time for the team during this tourney. He has averaged 15.1 PPG, 7.9 RPG, and 2.5 BPG on the season, which is very impressive. Freshmen Caleb Swanigan has also been impressive in the frontcourt for the Boilermakers this season, and he is really going to need to step up in a big way if the Boilermakers want to make a deep run in the NCAA tourney.
The Boilermakers came up just short against Michigan State in the Big Ten tournament, who are one of the best teams in the country, so could the Boilermakers actually do some damage in the tournament?
A Look Ahead For Purdue
So the Boilermakers ended up getting a five seed, which is a little disappointing seeing how well they were playing at the end of the season, but their region could be up for grabs seeing that Virginia might be the weakest No. 1 seed. The interesting thing about the Midwest region is that Michigan State is the two seed, which means that Purdue could potential face off with the Spartans again in the Elite Eight. The Utah Utes are pretty good and so are the Iowa State Cyclones, who are both in this region, but the Boilermakers matchup really well against both teams, especially the Cyclones.
Purdue is not a team that anyone really wants to play in the NCAA tournament because of their impressive size in the frontcourt and they should have what it takes to make a deep run in the tourney.
The Boilermakers had a really good season this year in the Big Ten, and this NCAA tournament could be the last real shot the team has at making a deep run in the tourney. Hammons is graduating and Swanigan might declare for the NBA draft, so the Boilermakers should do all they can to make a deep run in the tourney with the impressive roster they have. If Edwards plays at a high level, and so does the frontcourt, then the Boilermakers are not going to be easy to beat at all.