Maybe not beware, but perhaps behold the ides of march?! Yes it is March 15, and you know what that means- #1 seeded Purdue will learn their first round opponent tonight. They’ll take on the winner of the First Four game between Fairleigh Dickinson or Texas Southern.
This is the fourth No. 1 seed all-time for Purdue and their first since the 1996. Should you pick Purdue to win it all in your bracket? Here is why or why not.
March Madness Talk: ESPN Radio Iowa, KGYM Boiler Upload (Rivals Podcast)
Friday, March 17, 2023 | 6:50 p.m. ET
 Purdue (29-5) vs.  Fairleigh Dickinson (19-15)
– OR –  Texas Southern (14-20)
Columbus, Ohio | Nationwide Arena (19,500)
TELEVISION: TNT | RADIO:
ANNOUNCERS: Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas, Jamie Erdahl
They Have Zach Edey, No One Else Does
Edey, a 7’4″ center from Toronto, averages 22.3 points, 12.8 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 1.6 assists per game. You can’t really stop him by playing hack-a-Shaq style defense either, as he shoots 74% from the charity stripe.
The Boilers alpha dog ranks sixth nationally in scoring and second in rebounding. He also leads the nation in double-doubles.
“He’s a big, strong, finishes well,” Penn State guard Myles Dread said after the Big Ten Tournament title game loss to Purdue. “I mean, he’s a great player. We did the best we could. We tried to put him in actions on offense and did our best to fight as hard as we could on defense.”
He’s also the current front-runner for all the major Player of the Year Awards, such as the Naismith and Wooden awards. He’ll also take home the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award (nation’s top center.)
When Purdue has an alpha dog, they really have a very dominant alpha, and Zach Edey is on the level commensurate with The Big Dog, Glenn Robinson.
He’s everybody’s All-American too, as he’ll land on all the major All-America teams when all is said and done.
“I never thought this would be my career at Purdue,” Edey said after winning the Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player Award.
“Credit to Coach Painter and Coach Brantley for sticking with me and really helping me develop and helping me become the player that I am.”
This, right here, is why Purdue fans are the way they are.
You have to feel their pain.
HAVE to pic.twitter.com/1uH6dLyuzt
— Paul M. Banks (@PaulMBanks) March 26, 2022
At this Point, They are Simply Due
As you can see from the tweet above (and again at the end of this subsection), lots of Purdue fans approach every season like a crestfallen main character in a depressing French film noir.
I made that Tweet right after Purdue got knocked out of last year’s tournament by #15 seed St. Peter’s.
Purdue people are just like my fellow Illini community, we always expect the other shoe to drop at some point.
We live our lives on a default setting of defeatism. Go here for the Illini NCAA Tournament history, and see why. For the Purdue tournament history, well, you’ve already lived it, so you don’t need a refresher on that.
You almost saw it again, three days ago in the Big Ten Tournament Title Game.
After a Mason Gillis three-pointer, Purdue led by 17, 60-43. And yet with just 6.4 seconds to go, Penn State was down just 1. They had a chance to win, but they’re last possession ended, not with a game winning shot, but an ups-and-downs call.
The Purdue paranoia came back, as they believe they just cannot have nice things.
But here they did. Someday that has to happen in the big dance too. The Boilers are making their eighth straight NCAA Tournament appearance and they have been a top-four seed in the last six.
The March Madness breakthrough has to happen sometime.
“We definitely had a letdown season last year,” Gillis said after the conclusion of the Big Ten Tournament.
“We didn’t get anything out of it. This year winning by three games, having the best coach in the country, best player in the country, being able to fight through our ups and downs. We struggled at times, but our team is very connected. The chemistry is very high. We just have great people in our program.
“Whenever all of those things come together and everybody is working hard, success can only come at some time or another. So winning by three games in the conference and then winning the tourney, it feels amazing. Great
A lot of purdue fans and my reaction to them. pic.twitter.com/EqCTBzAixn
— Rob J. (@Rob_in_indie) March 12, 2022
This Purdue Team is Different, No Seriously They Are
After winning the Big Ten regular-season title by three games and the Big Ten Tournament title as described above,. Purdue now has 29 victories, second most in a season in school history. This was the first time Boiler ball achieved a Big Ten regular season and conference tournament title in the same season.
So it was a reminder that droughts have to end sometime. 60% of NCAA Tournaments have been won by a #1 seed since 1979.
Purdue has to end their drought some time; as does the Big Ten (23 years and counting) in general. Why not here? Why not now?
Purdue coach Matt Painter summer it up best on Sunday night:
“Your preparation is through your play, but to be able to reach our goals and to be 29-5 going into the tournament, but they know, and obviously I know, you get judged on what you do in the tournament. We’ve been able — we’ve
had a lot of success getting to that second weekend,” he said.
“We haven’t had a lot of success getting past that, and that’s what we want to do.”
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He’s written for numerous publications, including the New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune. He regularly appears on NTD News and WGN News Now. Follow the website on Twitter and Instagram.
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