Picking the Purdue Boilermakers in Your Bracket: Why and Why Not


purdue basketball cheerleader

Are you toying with the idea of picking this Purdue basketball team to win it all in your bracket pool? Well, wagering on March Madness is certainly one of the greatest games of chance that a person can play. Entering a NCAA Tournament pool is like going to a casino with no deposit free spins, you just don’t know if the ball will bounce your way, and if luck will be on your side or not.

There is a strong case both for and against betting on Purdue, and we’ll explore each side of the coin here. After all: “The test of a firstrate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald.

This college basketball season we have no elite teams, but a lot of very good ones. There are about 10-12 teams that we can see having a legitimate shot at the national championship, but at the same time no clear favorite. You really can’t even limit the field of favorites down to less than five. It’s looking more and more like a season in which a program will get its first national title and/or a team seeded below #4 and above #8 might win it all.

mackey arena purdue

Press that Button/Write ’em In:

Purdue has been deemed by our good friend, Dr. Juan Crespo at Hammer and Rails.com, the SB Nation Purdue community, to be the best February team ever…which is of course a dig at their failings in March. As he pointed out, this year Purdue basketball was the most superlative January team, and they had their falling down in February instead.

Maybe that means things in change for the Boilermakers in March now?

The sports books, projections analysts and statistical nerd lingers all labeled the Boilers the best team in country in mid to late January. For a substantial time period in midseason, they were considered everybody’s favorite to win it all. Obviously, that’s changed considerably now, but this is still essentially the same team. Purdue is now showing the sixth best odds of anyone in the field at 125/10. 

They’re most dangerous when running their offense through Carsen Edwards, instead of Isaac Haas, and they have arguably the best team chemistry and cohesion in the entire nation given all the time they got to play together in the summer preseason. 

purdue boilermakers-aj-hammons

This Purdue basketball team was America’s team in the World University Games in August, where they went to the gold medal game, falling to Lithuania. I joined the Hammer and Rails podcast not once but twice this season to discuss all these topics and more. Listen to that over at this link, and at this link. 

12:40 p.m. truTV Detroit I (15) Cal St. Fullerton vs. (2) Purdue Ian Eagle / Jim Spanarkel // Allie LaForce

Pick Somebody Else:

“Defense lives here,” but unfortunately, its roommates are monumental upsets to double digit seeds and blowing big second half leads. The first round exit at the hands of Arkansas-Little Rock in 2016 has sadly become the kind of brand that many people often associate with Purdue basketball. Maybe that’s fair, maybe it’s not but it’s now become kind of similar to what the word #Clemsoning meant prior to the Tigers reaching their first national title game.  

purdue hoops

The Boilers haven’t had a deep tournament run since 2000, when they reached the elite 8, and kids on campus were literally climbing trees and doing stage dives off the branches (I recall this vividly). The last time Purdue basketball reach the final four was 1980. They don’t need to win the whole thing to change the reputation, but they do need to make the final weekend again finally.  

The Road Ahead:

There’s nothing really ominous standing in their way of reaching the tournament’s second weekend. Sure, there are some decent teams which could pose a threat, but not reaching the sweet 16 would be considered a total disaster. Now making the Final Four is a completely different story. #1 seeded Villanova and #4 Wichita State are obvious land mines. I wouldn’t worry about #3 Texas Tech too much.

Bottom Line:

Purdue is favored by 21 over Cal State-Fullerton, and they should likely be favored by a decent margin deep into the tournament.

vince-edwards purdue basketball

This is a team with real, genuine national title chops, but it will of course hinge on how the rest of their bracket shapes out, and who they get matched up with.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.

Follow him on TwitterInstagramSound Cloud, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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