#4 Seed Boilers to face Vermont in the dance
After the UM loss I was pretty frustrated...and I actually documented my thoughts and feelings here on this very site. Unlike most of UM's foes after Friday, Purdue shoulda beaten the Wolverines and kinda let 'em off the hook.
But a #4 seed was Purdue's ceiling all along, it seemed. All of the sports-talking guys never projected our Boilers to get higher than a #4 seed...so no blood, no foul, I guess.
Matty and the boys got a few extra days of rest in their own beds...and a few more practices within the friendly confines of God's Country. All is well. Furthermore, Purdue drew the Vermont Catamounts...in Milwaukee. Vermont is in the 40s in the RPI, the low 60s in the KenPom...but has been on an absolute tear since before Christmas. 21-straight wins...hottest team in the dance, in fact. The only test in these twenty-one games was a win over the mighty squad from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
Their leading scorer is a 6'6" Freshman Anthony Lamb. He scored over 12 points/game and pulled down nearly 5 rebounds/game for Vermont. After that, Vermont will throw a couple of capable 6'8" players at Purdue; one averages 11 points and 5 rebounds.
The last time Purdue played Vermont was at Mackey Arena in 2015. Bell-Haynes led all Catamounts with 17 points...but their leading scorer wasn't on campus just yet. Purdue won by 30 points in front of a half-full pro-Purdue crowd.
Swanigan had a double-double in that game, and Mathias led all Boilers with 17 points.
There is no reason to believe that Mathias can't keep Lamb in check as he has been solid for the Forces of Good all season. At the same time, I would be shocked if Haas, Swanigan...and Vincent Edwards didn't put in some serious work.
Vermont has skilled mid-sized players and knows how to win...but really hasn't been punched in the mouth since they faced, and lost to Butler in December of 2016. Purdue, conversely is skilled, large and battle-tested. All of that said, the Ghosts of NCAA tourneys past still loom over Matty and company.
Purdue...and Matty has gotta exercise those demons...now. No excuses.
Purdue will play on TruTV (the network of Impractical Jokers) at 7:27 on Thursday night.