The first two games in the Elite Eight for the 2019 NCAA Tournament tipped off on Saturday night and one Big Ten team was in action. Purdue faced off against Virginia for a shot to go to its first Final Four since 1980. Unfortunately, the Boilermakers would fall short.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Day:
-No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers 80, No. 3 Purdue Boilermakers 75 (OT)
What a game. After Purdue and Virginia won on Thursday night, it seemed likely that we would be in store for an absolute battle on Saturday night. Both teams were desperate to make it to their first Final Fours in decades and put some demons to bed. The game also looked pretty balanced on paper, with both sitting inside the top 10 on KenPom.
During the first half, it was pretty even on both sides. Purdue got out to a fast start, but Virginia responded as the game approached the break. And Carsen Edwards began what would be a legendary night for the guard. He hit shot after shot, finishing with an absurd 42 points on the evening. No other Boilermaker even reached double-digits.
In the second half, Purdue maintained its excellent play. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite have enough to put distance between itself and the Cavaliers. Purdue would get up a bucket or two, but couldn’t get that final bucket or two to put Virginia to sleep. In the final seconds of regulation, Virginia was then able to hit a ridiculous shot to force overtime. During the extra session, Purdue didn’t have enough and final by a final score of 80-75.
There really isn’t a way to sum up the heartbreak that occurred for the Boilermakers last night. To get that close to a Final Four and fall short is an absolute gut punch. There simply isn’t an easy way to move on. It’s going to take months (and maybe years) to get over a game like that. Fans will have to hope the team can find a way back to the Elite Eight in the near future and get over the hump.
With that said, Purdue still put together a remarkable season. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Boilermakers, but the team finished with an overall record of 26-10, made the Elite Eight, and won the Big Ten regular season title. There are a lot of programs that would kill for a season like that and Purdue did it in a rebuilding year. With time, fans will realize what a remarkable run this season was for the Boilermakers.