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2018 NCAA tournament preview: No. 2 Purdue

Purdue Boilermakers: 28-6, 15-3 in the Big Ten

Head coach: Matt Painter (13th season)

Players to watch: Carsen Edwards (18.5 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 41.2 3PT%); Isaac Haas (14.9 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 62.1 FG%); Vincent Edwards (14.5 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 47.1 FG%)

Season Recap: The Boilermakers climbed their way up the national rankings thanks to a 19-game midseason winning streak in which they beat three other top-25 teams. Purdue’s resume is highlighted by wins against then-No. 2 Arizona and two regular season wins against Michigan, although the it faltered against the 15th-ranked Wolverines March 4 in the Big Ten Tournament championship.

Led by two players more than a foot apart in height, Purdue features a balanced offensive attack, with 6-foot-1 Carsen Edwards as the Boilermakers' scoring leader. Seven-foot-2 center Isaac Haas is close behind, averaging nearly 15 points per game and a 62.1 percent mark from the floor—the third best in the conference. 

On the defensive end of the floor, Matt Painter’s squad ranks among the nation’s 30 best teams in both points allowed per game and blocks per game, with 7-foot-3 forward Matt Haarms averaging more than two blocks per game. But the Boilermakers struggled down the stretch, dropping four of their final nine games and their last three games against ranked opponents. 

How they make a run: Solid shooting performances from Purdue’s guards are matched with strong efforts from the team’s skyscraper big men as the Boilermakers win several close games to make a deep push.

How they falter: Purdue encounters a team that can equal its inside presence and put defensive pressure on its guards, causing the Boilermakers to find themselves on the wrong side of a low-scoring game. 


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