Boilers earn five-seed in Midwest, face Little Rock in NCAAs

College Hoops

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MARCH 13: Head coach Matt Painter of the Purdue Boilermakers reacts against the Michigan State Spartans in the championship game of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 13, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Michigan State defeated Purdue 66-62. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 13, 2016) – The NCAA Selection Committee has a tough job, and criticism comes with the territory. Purdue head coach Matt Painter thinks the big ten was slighted.

“I thought Indiana should have been a three-seed as Big Ten Champs,” said Painter, after watching the selection show, “then I thought Michigan State should have been a one seed. I thought they really got dinged, as it looks like our conference got knocked down a seed.”

Painter was okay with his Boilers getting a five-seed though, even saying the difference between four and five is minimal anyway. His Boilers now prepare to face Little Rock on Thursday.

“We came far from two years ago, coming in last place in the Big Ten,” said senior Rapheal Davis. “To go out and get a five-seed and play a good Little Rock team will be good for us.”

“It’s a dream as a kid (to play in the NCAA Tournament),” added sophomore Vince Edwards. “You want to win your conference, you want to win outright, you want to win the conference tournament, but at the end of the day, you want to get to the NCAAs and get that Final Four run.”

When it comes to scouting this time of the year, you might as well not even ask. Not a single person in Purdue’s locker room had seen a frame of Little Rock video this year, Matt Painter included. So looking forward, it comes down to the Boilers analyzing how they themselves are playing. To a man, they’re pretty happy.

“It’s tough right now, coming off a loss,” said sophomore P.J. Thompson, “but I feel like we’re still playing our best basketball of the year. This tournament, we put together two and a half really good games and played at a high level. We showed how we can play, and it’s given us good momentum to go into the NCAA Tournament.”

“We’ll be alright,” said sophomore Dakota Mathias. “(Michigan State) is a great team. I think they’re one of the favorites to win the whole thing, so to play the way we played, especially in the second half, gives us a little bit of confidence.”

If the Boilers beat Little Rock Thursday, it would be the first NCAA Tournament win for any player in the Purdue locker room. Tip-off time is set for 4:20 p.m.

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