We Don't Ask For Much
We discussed it on the most recent podcast as well is in our group chat. Nobody here is (yet) dreaming of a Final Four. No, we’re Purdue fans, so we’re trying to keep things realistic and when you have felt for decades like the sports gods might be against you, you tend to negotiate a bit. You know how it is… “I promise I won’t ask for anything else if you’ll just let Brian Cardinal and team beat a lousy 8-seed Wisconsin to go to the Final Four.”
Alas, for a while now, our sports prayers haven’t usually been answered. Sure, Jeff Brohm stayed and that was huge, but I think the majority of us actually had already written that one off when the Louisville job opened. So that just felt like found money.
No, I’m talking about those times where you really, really just want this one thing. And tonight is another example of that. Purdue fans everywhere just want to see Purdue go further than they have in 19 years. Further than Matt Painter ever has. Further than any player ever has since that 2000 Brian Cardinal team.
We talk sometimes here at BS about teams needing to do something to be remembered by. Sometimes it’s beating a #1 team or having your all-american jerseys put to the rafters. Other times it’s an unexpected conference title or a BTT run. This team has definitely already given us that unexpected conference banner, but as we all know, at Purdue…winning the Big Ten is what they do. Relentlessly.
What they have not done in a long time is advance beyond the round of 16. Tonight Purdue has Matt Painter’s fifth shot at it. And while we have at times given Painter teams a hard time for never breaking through, the truth is they haven’t exactly had an easy road in literally any of those chances.
In Matt Painter’s five trips to Sweet 16, the seeds he has faced have been: 1, 1, 1, 3, 2.
That’s….tough. While Virginia has to go through a 12 seed out of the lousy Pac 12, Purdue is faced with a two seed that happened to also be #1 in the nation for a long stretch this year. A Tennessee team that actually beat Purdue just last season (it feels like forever ago because it was in November of 2017). But hey, as I have often said to my son….nothing worth having ever comes easily. If Purdue makes it past the round of 16, they will have earned every bit of it.
This team is among the most likable teams I can remember in recent memory. Sure, winning helps, but they just seem to be having so much fun. They’re goofy and silly in the locker room, Carsen dances in the tunnel and during warmups, they seem to have fun razzing each other. It seems impossible to not like them and just as in past seasons, knowing they’re one loss away from it all being over is kind of sad. We want to enjoy this for one more game. For a couple more days. We want this team to get more stories done about them. We like Matt Painter’s profile rising during this season and tournament, even if it means he might garner attention from programs hungry for a leader who does thing the right way. After the much discussed 6-5 start, not many would have said this is the team that may look best-positioned to take Coach Painter further than he’s ever gone before….yet doesn’t it sort of feel that way?
We’re not asking for a Final Four. We’re only asking for it to not end just yet.