Purdue Boilermakers vs. Kansas Jayhawks: NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Preview and Prediction
- Author: Julie Sanders Mar 30, 2017,
Mar 30, 2017, 8:16
"And we're real tough minded and together", said Devonte' Graham, Kansas Guard.
When that happened, everything promptly sped up for Purdue. The college basketball odds for the game have the Jayhawks favored to pick up the win.
"The thing that makes us anxious is that we're not as big of a team as they are", said Jackson, who along with Mason, Devonte Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk give Kansas coach Bill Self a rare four-guard lineup. Kansas (31-4) will face No. 3 OR (32-5) on Sunday for a berth in the Final Four.
Kansas looked very good last weekend, beating UC-Davis and Michigan State by a total of 58 points.
"They've had an unbelievable season", said head coach Matt Painter". The Boilermakers made it to the Final Four in 1969 and 1980 and got to the championship game in 1969 behind All-American Rick Mount before losing to Lew Alcindor-led UCLA, coached by Purdue graduate John Wooden. Purdue has been led by Caleb Swanigan, who is averaging 18.5 points and 12.6 rebounds per game. With time running out in the first half, and Purdue hoping to cut a 5-point deficit even further, Lagerald Vick deflected a pass.
It wasn't much longer before the game was out of reach. But this game could have been played on a West Lafayette playground at midnight and the Jayhawks still would have won by double digits. "He's always been a guy when we were struggling we relied on him to go get it for us, and now I think he's putting himself in a position to make more plays for himself and others".
The game shaped up as a contrast of styles: the slick, speedy athleticism that carried the Jayhawks to the Big 12 title against the bruising, post-dominated play of the Boilermakers.
Besides, 6-foot-8 freshman guard Josh Jackson is athletic enough to match up with anyone, as evidenced by the defensive job he did on Purdue center Caleb Swanigan. It's been a busy Thursday night, but two of the three games have been close and the Jayhawks have stood out the most for their performance. What had been a competitive Sweet 16 game between the two teams devolved into a blowout that had started to feel inevitable, and when the dust settled, Kansas' victory margin was 32 points: 98-66.
It eventually became a 17-3 run by Kansas for a six-point lead before Thompson's layup drew Purdue within 42-38.
It's listed as a neutral-site game, but Sprint Center is less than an hour from Allen Fieldhouse - the home of the Jayhawks - and the majority of the 18,972 in attendance likely will be clad in crimson and blue. At least part of it, Graham says, was a small adjustment he suggested himself. "The fans brought unbelievable energy and (we're) so thankful to have great fans".
The roars for Kansas only got louder in the second half. "We knocked down some shots to get us the lead at halftime. We're happy to be here in front of our fans and it's definitely an advantage". Purdue falls to 4-6 in the Regional Semifinals and 37-29 overall in the tournament. Defensively, Kansas is allowing 72.4 points against the opposing teams. The sophomore went on to say he doesn't have a timetable to make a decision after emerging as a potential first-round National Basketball Association draft pick during his breakout season with the Boilermakers. He finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds, four steals and a block. The trio combines to score 50.7 points per game and average 14.4 rebounds and 12.4 assists per game. He was 0 for 5 from beyond the arc.