Most of the conference tournaments are over and it appears the field is set. There are no real bid thieves out there today unless you consider Rhode Island one. If they lose to VCU (a likely lock) the Rams might get in, but they might not.
So what does that are a stone cold lock. As the Big Ten regular season champion there is absolutely no way we will be left out of the field, much to the dismay of the Painter haters. Let’s look at the final projections as of this morning.
Joe Lunardi - ESPN
Here is his morning projection for us:
I would take this scenario in a heartbeat. Purdue would be heavily favored against the Big South champ. In round two it either gets an offensively challenged and wildly overrated Virginia or UNC-Wilmington, who is a hot 12 over 5 upset pick. In the Sweet 16 we would get likely the weakest of the four No. 1 seeds, and a good matchup for our style. The bottom half of this region would be 2 seed Arizona or 3 seed Louisville. I would love another shot at the Cards on a neutral floor without all the turnovers and generally awful play we had at Louisville.
This one is a bit harder. Sure, Purdue is closer to home in Milwaukee instead of Orlando, but we’re dropped into the 5 seed, where someone yesterday said he has been watching us lose to 12 seeds since I was in diapers (nevermind that last year is the ONLY time Purdue has ever lost to a 12 seed, so I must be incontinent or a toddler). WE would also get Wilmington, who is going to be a nasty team for someone. In round two we have a rematch with Notre Dame, which would be fire. Because Purdue has the regular season win over the Irish I could see the committee flipping it and giving Purdue the 4 instead. Kansas in the Sweet 16 would be a National POTY playoff between Frank Mason and Caleb Swanigan.
Jerry Palm - CBS
Our friend Jerry Palm, always a Purdue guy, has Purdue as the final 4 seed in his bracket and the last “protected” seed. I think this is fair. Purdue has been right in the 4 seed range all season. If it had avoided losses at Nebraska and Iowa it is probably a 3 seed. If it had beaten Villanova or Louisville it is probably a 3 seed. His 13 seeds are Princeton, New Mexico State, Bucknell, and East Tennessee State. ETSU is the closest that Indiana will get to the tournament as Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin play for the Bucs. If we get ETSU and lose we will never heard the end of it, losing to the last remnants of “The Movement”.
Chris Dobbertean - SB Nation
Our in-house bracketologist has us staying close to home as a 4 seed, playing Bucknell in Milwaukee. In round 2 we would get the Virginia-Wilmington winner again. In round 3, a rematch with Villanova. Given that Purdue played the champs tough back in November I would love a rematch. I am not saying we would beat them. I respect the hell out of them for what they do. In my mind they are the best team in America, and I would love a shot at them. If you want to be the best you have to beat the best, and given the way Isaac Haas and Swanigan gave them fits last time it would be fun.
Across 126 brackets compiled Bracket Matrix has Purdue as the first 5 seed, just behind Notre Dame. Its 12 seeds are Rhode Island, Nevada, Wilmington, Vermont, and Kansas State. They list 5 12 seeds because the 12 spot is often one of the play in Dayton games, so we could face a team that has to play on Tuesday or Wednesday. Vermont is interesting because we crushed them last year at Mackey, but they were undefeated against their conference. Kansas State would have us facing good old Bruce Weber. Nevada would reunite us with Kendall Stephens, who is sitting out this year due to transfer rules.