LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WISH) — Matt Painter hopes the road of elimination-like games Purdue traveled to get into the NCAA Tournament has his Boilermakers ready for the pressure they’ll face on Thursday night.
Purdue won six of its final nine games to earn the No. 9 seed in the Midwest Regional with the winner likely playing top-ranked Kentucky on Saturday.
Only one Boilermaker, guard Jon Octeus, has played a tournament game before transferring from Colorado State, while senior Neal Beshears was in uniform in 2012 for Purdue’s last NCAA berth.
“We’ve lived on the bubble for three weeks. I think that preparation and pressure, if you want to call it that is what helped us. We were a loss or two away from not being here and when we don’t have that type of experience on our team, playing in those types of games really helped us. We are just keeping our focus on playing to our strengths and trying to stay away from our weaknesses,” said Purdue head coach Matt Painter.
This game might come down to who can get the most defensive stops. If it does, these teams couldn’t be much closer in several categories.
Cincinnati is first nationally in scoring defense, allowing 55.3 points per game while Purdue held 11 opponents to 59 points or less this season.