The 2022 NCAA Tournament continued on Friday night with a handful of great games, including an intriguing matchup between Purdue and Saint Peter’s. After Michigan’s loss on Thursday night, Purdue entered as the Big Ten’s sole remaining team.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 15 Saint Peter’s Peacocks 67, No. 3 Purdue Boilermakers 64
Heading into tip, Purdue fans had to feel pretty good about where the team was sitting. The Boilermakers knocked off Texas in the Round of 32 and entered this weekend with legitimate hopes for the program’s first Final Four since 1980. Purdue had purportedly caught a break with the top two seeds (Baylor and Kentucky) in its Region going down and a pending matchup against a Saint Peter’s team ranking outside the top 100 on KenPom.
Unfortunately for Boilermaker fans, it wouldn’t play out that way.
Purdue was not only pushed by the Peacocks, but looked genuinely uncomfortable for large portions of the evening. The team’s guards were thoroughly outplayed and Purdue’s big men were relatively underwhelming, even against one of the nation’s smallest teams (293th in team height). The game eventually came down to the final minutes, where Jaden Ivey missed a key jumper and Mason Gillis’ late foul sealed the deal. Saint Peter’s grabbed a 67-64 win in the process, making history as the first 15 seed to make the Elite Eight.
The loss sends the Boilermakers home and ends Purdue’s season at 29-8 overall. It was an excruciating year for fans, as Purdue simply couldn’t close the deal all season. The Boilers finished a game out of first in the Big Ten race, were runner-ups in the Big Ten Tournament, and fell short against a 15 seed in the Sweet 16. Add in that seven (!!!) of the team’s eight losses came by single-digits and you get quite a picture of the team. An exceptional season was there for the taking. Purdue just couldn’t close the deal.
Purdue will now enter an offseason of uncertainty. Ivey projects as an early NBA entrant and three of the team’s top rotational pieces were traditional seniors this season. Perhaps they stick around, but it’s hard to project at the moment. Either way, expect this loss to hang over the program for months to come.