The Brackets are set.
The opening round tip-off times are set.
The path to the Final Four goes through the state of Indiana - wouldn’t it be fitting if the only team in the state to make the Big Dance, makes the final four?
It starts at 7:25 PM Friday Night.
Purdue vs North Texas at Lucas Oil Stadium. Lucky for us, we have practiced there a bit and played a game there in the Big Ten Tournament.
For Purdue, the 13 seed North Texas Mean Green will bring an admirable opponent, one who is a grit and grind type of team, with a solid 7 man rotation, the 8th man plays just over 8 minutes per game.
Their 6-10 Center will be their biggest player in the post, but I am not sure his thin frame can defend Trevion Williams and Zach Edey.
To me, Purdue wins the opening round game. Vegas has us at -7.5 - I like that.
But then what?
Who could we see next?
In the round of 32, Purdue would see the winner of Villanova and Winthrop.
Personally, I would like to see Villanova - they have struggled, losing 5 in a row, including an opening round loss to eventual Big East Champion, Georgetown. Winthrop, who is 24-1, knows how to win and will play between 10 to 12 guys every single night. None are volume scorers, but as a team, they score nearly 80 points per game.
If we make in through the round of 32, We likely would see the #1 seed in our region in Baylor.
Baylor may say they hang their hat on defense, which they are incredibly good at, but in reality, their best trait is outscoring everyone. At 84.4 Points Per Game, Baylor is 3rd in the nation in scoring.
Baylor has two future NBA Guards in Jared Butler (17 PPG) and Davion Mitchell (14 PPG), but neither are lottery picks, more than likely, they will be late 1st round picks or early 2nd round picks.
I am not sure they have a guy who can defend our bigs, Forward, Flo Thamba would be the closest, but he blocks less than 1 shot per game still.
Say we get through the Sweet 16, it is likely we see Ohio State for a fourth time.
Nice job NCAA.
All 3 games against OSU have been very well played games, No need to go into a lot of detail. Stop the three point shooting and let our bigs go to work on their undersized front court.
Okay - NOW the final four.
It would probably be Illinois, who it seems like everyone loves to make the final four out of their bracket.
In recent matchups, Illinois has pretty much did what they wanted against our Boilers, almost our kryptonite. But, if we are playing well enough to make the final four, I don’t see how we wouldn’t be playing well enough to compete at that high level.
Now, this is all obviously very hypothetical, and nothing ever goes to how I guess it. But when looking at the path to the Final Four for our young Boilermakers, we have a pretty favorable path, in my opinion.
Baylor, is probably the 3rd best one seed, just ahead of Michigan. The possible opportunity to see an injured and struggling Villanova squad is breathtaking.
If we are being realistic, I see a real opportunity to make the Sweet 16. If we are dreaming, a shot at the final four truly isn’t that much of a reach - if we are playing at a championship level.