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Purdue coach, players prepare for Saint Peter’s in Sweet 16

PHILADELPHIA (WISH) — Purdue head coach Matt Painter has his Boilermakers back in the Sweet 16 for the fourth time in five years. 

Purdue hits the court on Friday night as 12-point favorites against the Cinderella of the NCAA Tournament, the Peacocks of Saint Peter’s, a team that has already knocked off the N. 2 seed Kentucky on its path to Philadelphia.

“I think we can beat anybody in the country and, if we turn the ball over, I think we can get beat by a lot of people. I think we’ve shown both of those areas, and their ability to turn people over is really good. We’ve go to be able to handle their pressure. I’m just impressed with St. Peter’s. I’m impressed with how hard they play, how competitive they are,” Painter said Thursday.

Jaden Ivey said, “I feel like they have a lot of confidence in themselves, and every team you play in the tournament you respect. And just going into the game, we’ve just got to be locked in and ready, and I believe we are.”

The Boilers will attack the Peacocks with their size advantage led by 7-foot- 4 Zach Edey. The big fellow has caused havoc for teams this March, and he could be a nightmare in the Sweet 16, standing nearly a foot taller than the Peacocks tallest key player.

“It’s kind of been the thing for the last two teams that they don’t have the size match-ups so we’ve dominated the offensive glass, getting my shots up, drawing a lot of fouls because that’s what they have to do to guard me. Keep playing like I have the last two games, and hopefully it works,” Zach Edey said.

Trevion Williams said, “We’re kind of in a similar situation where people look at the match-up and like, ‘Oh, Purdue is supposed to win,’ but in reality you can be beat on any given night. It’s all about respecting them. Also having fun, and just taking care of the basketball.”

No No. 15 seed has never made it to the Elite 8 in the NCAA Tournament. As for the Boilers, with a win on Friday, they are in the Elite Eight for the second time in three years.