Bulldogs and Boilers complete final practices before NCAA Tournament begins
MILWAUKEE, Wis. — Butler will be the first team on the court at the Bradley Center Thursday afternoon, a 1:30 p.m. eastern tip, taking on Winthrop in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Though the Bulldogs earned the highest seed in program history this year, a 4-seed, they’re still approaching the tournament with a hunter’s mentality, rather than perceiving themselves as the hunted.
“I think when we’ve been at our best,” said head coach Chris Holtmann, “we’ve played with that understanding, with that edge and with that chip, if someone comes out and is hungrier than we are, that’s on us.”
“The higher seed should never have a mentality of going into a game coasting,” added senior Andrew Chrabascz. “That’s how you get in trouble.”
“If you’re not hunting to win the game, you’re most likely gonna lose,” said senior Tyler Lewis.”
Purdue will play in the evening session, scheduled to tip off against Vermont at 7:27 p.m. The Catamounts enter on a 21 game win streak.
“It speaks for itself,” says Boiler junior Vince Edwards on that streak. “It’s huge. No matter what conference you’re playing in, to win 21 in a row, do what they did in their conference, go undefeated, speaks a lot about them and their coaches.”
“They’re coming in hot,” added sophomore Ryan Cline. “We know that, and we’re really excited to play them.”
Purdue will also be eager for another crack at NCAA Tournament success, after back-to-back first round overtime losses.
“It’s something you never forget about, but something you learn from,” explained junior P.J. Thompson. “That just prepares you to play with a chip on your shoulder.”
One player with some NCAA pedigree on the Boilers’ roster is graduate transfer Spike Albrecht, who helped Michigan to a Final Four during his time with the Wolverines.
“We’re definitely moved on from years past,” said Albrecht. “Guys remember it and obviously use it for fuel this year. I think you have to go out there, play hard, make shots, that helps.
“Just be confident in yourself and be aggressive.”