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Purdue Men’s Basketball Wins First National Championship

Who says we’re not a basketball school?

Beyond Sport United Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images

It finally happened! Purdue University is a National Champion in men’s basketball!

Oh, you said North Carolina won the NCAA Tournament? Well, yes, they did. But Purdue’s club team qualified for the national tournament and came home a winner this past weekend:

Purdue was able to turn their At Large Bid into a National Title as they came back from a 10 point half time deficit to defeat Pittsburgh 80-75. J.T. Thomas would take home MVP honors with his impressive performance during the National Championship Tournament.

The tournament was put on by the National Club Basketball Association and features nearly 80 teams around the country. Purdue actually sponsors two teams, a Gold and a black squad, and it was the Gold squad that triumphed.

Purdue Gold plays in a conference with Michigan State, Butler, Central Michigan, Bowling Green, and Western Michigan. The team itself is made up of the type of guys you expect: solid high school players who aren’t quite Division I guys, but can ball out at the co-rec.

Purdue was 23-5 this year, but 15-3 within the conference behind Michigan State (21-1, 17-1). Purdue Lost to MSU twice during the season by 40 and 11, but came back to upset the Spartans 77-66 in the semifinals of the national tournament. It was the fourth game between the two as Purdue also won 88-80 during the season.

This is no small accomplishment. The tournament is set up with six regional championships, each featuring two conference winners who then play a best-of-three series to send the winners on to the national tournament. The final two teams are made up of at large teams, usually among those who finish second in their conference. By finishing second behind MSU Purdue was chosen as one of the two at large teams along with Ohio State.

Purdue was given the 6 seed in the 8-team national tournament and beat St. John’s 84-77, Michigan State 77-66, and Pittsburgh 80-75 for the title. All games were played at Notre Dame College in Cleveland.

Purdue was led by 37 points from Jalen Thomas in the title game and 14 from Michael Montgomery. Thomas was later named tournament MVP.

As we know, Purdue’s NCAA version can win a World Championship in Taiwan later this year. Might as well do that since we have already conquered America.