Before I start, Northwestern Mutual, in cooperation with the NCAA, is hosting a Volleyball bracket challenge on their Facebook page. All you have to do is "Like" their Facebook page and then enter your bracket using their Facebook app.
Fans who complete a bracket will receive a unique Northwestern Mutual Risk and Reward Score based on their overall selection of upsets and favorites. The winner with the closest final bracket will win a $500 dollar gift card to the NCAA Shop, while one additional randomly selected participant will receive a $100 dollar gift card to the NCAA Shop.
May the odds be ever in your favor.
As expect, Purdue was not selected to host the first and 2nd rounds of the NCAA Tournament after hosting them for the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Instead, they will travelling to Tallahassee, Florida, where they will face Colorado State in the First Round at 4:30pm this Friday. If they win, they will face the winner of the #9 Florida State/Hofstra game.
If you are a Purdue Student, the Block Party is hosting a watch party in EE117 starting at 4:15 until the game ends.
Under Coach Shondell, Purdue has never lost in the first set of the NCAA Tournament, and has made it to the Sweet 16 in almost all of their appearances under Shondell. I expect them to at least beat Colorado State, but Florida State will be a tough test, as they have improved since their Final Four run last year, that included beating Purdue 3-1 in the Sweet 16. They will be a tough team to beat on their home court.
If Purdue wins these two games, they will get to play in West Lafayette in the West Lafayette Regional the next weekend in Mackey Arena. Other notable teams in this regional include #1 Penn State, Ohio State, #16 Kentucky, and #8 Minnesota. At least 3 of those teams can play in Mackey Arena (Ohio State and Kentucky will most likely play each other in the Second Round).
Here's how other Purdue opponents/B1G team did on Selection Sunday:
- Northern Iowa plays in Lincoln, Illinois for the 1st and 2nd rounds and plays Kansas State in the 1st Round.
- Washington received the 13th overall seed and plays and plays Arkansas State in the 1st Round
- Louisville is the overall 10th seed and plays Belmont in the 1st Round. The Final Four and National Title are also in Louisville this year.
- Nebraska will get home court advantage through the Elite 8 as the 4th seed and plays Md.-East Shore in the 1st Round.
- Michigan plays Tennessee in the 1st Round down in Louisville.
- Michigan State plays San Diego in the 1st Round on UCLA's campus
There are 7 Big Ten teams in the NCAA Tournament this year, tied with the Pac-12 who also has 7 teams representing their conference. 4 Big Ten teams were placed in the West Lafayette Regional (#1 Penn State, #8 Minnesota, Ohio State, and Purdue), and none were placed in the Austin Regional.
As Coach Shondell said, this is one of the most competitive NCAA Tournaments ever. Should be really interesting to see who will be in the Final 4 2 weeks from now!