HARTFORD, Conn. – Purdue joined seven other teams practicing on the court at Hartford’s XL Center Wednesday afternoon in anticipation of a March Madness game Thursday.
“The NCAA Tournament is about playing hard and having fun,” explains Purdue head coach Matt Painter. “Some guys get into these settings and it’s like, forget this is what you work for.”
“I feel like it’s still exciting for me in my third time,” says junior Carsen Edwards. “I’m excited for the new guys as well to be able to compete at this level and hopefully can win.”
Edwards addressed his back injury Wednesday afternoon, saying he’s been getting treatment since the Big Ten Tournament and will continue to do so until tip off in NCAAs.
“It’s been like this for a while,” Edwards admitted, “but that last game kinda felt a little different. I’m okay now.
“I don’t want the focus to be on my back. I want it to be on my team.”
A noble gesture, but an injured all-conference player should still steal a good portion of the spotlight. A few Boiler freshman shared their thoughts on falling under that spotlight in March Madness for the first time.
“I’m definitely super excited,” says freshman Eric Tindley. “Sleep is hard to come by I’m so anxious.”
“I’m really nervous,” laughed fellow freshman Trevion Williams. “Me and my mom would sit in the living room and watch (March Madness) together.
“Being here now and being able to play in it in front of all these people is big for me.”
Purdue tips off Thursday night at approximately 9:50 p.m. The 3-seed Boilers take on the 14-seed Old Dominion for a spot in the second round.