Purdue ended the season on a high note winning their last three games including two against sure-fire NCAA tournament teams in Maryland and Wisconsin. They finished with a record of 24-7 and 12-6 in the league. The latest AP poll has them at No. 13 and it's certainly well deserved.
The only serious knock on the Boilermakers this year is the fact that the team is only 5-5 away from Mackey Arena. The home court advantage was unlike almost anywhere else as they finished 17-1, including wins over Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Maryland among others.
Because of their win over Wisconsin on Sunday and the fact that Indiana beat Maryland, Purdue will have a double bye in this year's Big Ten Tournament. On the positive side, this means that the Boilermakers need just three wins in Indianapolis to raise on the trophy. On the other side, it means they will likely have to play Iowa in the quarters and Indiana in the Semis. Purdue went a combined 0-3 against those two squads, including the team's lone home loss against Iowa earlier in the year.
Last year, Purdue actually came in as the No. 4 seed as well and fell to Wisconsin in the semi-finals.
If they do play Iowa in their first game of this tournament, it will be a much different Iowa team then the one they lost to twice earlier in the conference season. The Hawkeyes have lost 4 out of 5 and 5 out of 7 and have struggled mightily in the process. Purdue will also be more rested has Iowa will have to win a game the day before.
The key for Purdue has been and always will be how they shoot from the outside. The rebounding and inside game will be there with the trio of Hammons, Swanigan, and Sophomore Isaac Haas. In the first meeting between Iowa and Purdue the Boilermakers only scored 26 points in the second half and were 8 of 26 from the field and 1 of 11 on 3s.
If They Advance
If the Boilermakers do advance in the quarters they will likely face their bitter rivals Indiana. The teams met in Bloomington a few weeks ago. It was a hard fought battle that came down to a questionable goaltending call (it wasn't a goal tend) that cost Purdue the game. Obviously this game would be at a neutral site and would be a totally different ball game.
These games are just resume boosters as Purdue has obviously locked up an NCAA tournament bid. The Boilermakers could still use some nice wins away from Mackey to prove to the committee what it is capable of doing in the NCAA Tournament.
One thing to point out is Purdue lost the one time they played in Bankers Life Fieldhouse the site of the Tournament, back in December in the Crossroads Classic against Butler.
It is a good time to be a Boilermaker fan and the month of March should be a fun one for Boiler fans everywhere.