The Purdue Boilermakers entered this year’s NCAA tournament among the heavy favorites to win it all. The Boilermakers made history in their tournament opener against Fairleigh Dickinson, but they were on the wrong side of it, as they became the second No. 1 seed ever to lose in the round of 64.
Purdue’s woes from beyond the arc marred its performance against FDU. The Big Ten powerhouse shot a lowly 19.2 percent from 3-point land. The Boilermakers’ high-octane offense struggled to get much going during the second half, which included a scoreless streak that lasted over five minutes.
In the end, Purdue watched as FDU clinched a 63-58 victory, becoming the second No. 16 seed ever to defeat a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Purdue head coach Matt Painter touched base with his team after the game, and even with the upset loss to FDU, he is still proud of what his squad accomplished this season.
“But just told them that I was proud of them,” Painter said during his postgame press conference. “You win the league, you win your tournament. You fight to get into this position. We haven’t been in this position as a 1 seed in a long time. And we get here, and we don’t take advantage of that opportunity.
“But they’re good guys. They work hard. It stings. You can get a lot of different people looking at it a lot of different ways, but when you’re the one playing and coaching, and you invested the time, it’s really hard to take. But like I said, we’re the ones that have to sit in it. We’re the ones that hopefully have to be better because of it.”
Purdue secured a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament following a dominant 29-win campaign. The Zach Edey-led Boilermakers locked up the Big Ten regular season title and then went on to win the Big Ten tournament championship for the first time since 2009.
In the big picture, Painter has his sights set on getting the program back on the right track following three straight NCAA tournament losses to double-digit seeds.
“We’re not going to give into it,” Painter said. “We’ll keep fighting and do everything in our power to make our program better to get right back here and play better.”