DETROIT, Mich. – Only eight times in NCAA Tournament history has a 15-seed topped a 2-seed. Most recently, Middle Tennessee took down Michigan State in 2016.
If Purdue wants to avoid becoming the ninth victim, they’ll have to contain a pair of junior guards: Cal State Fullerton’s Kyle Allman, Jr. and Khalil Ahmad, who average nearly 35 points per game combined.
“We have to embrace the challenge,” said Purdue junior Ryan Cline. “They’re gonna play one-on-one ball. You gotta look deep into the scouting report, and see what you can do to stop them.”
“If you’re not communicating, doing the little things on ball screens, they will definitely pick you apart,” continued senior Vincent Edwards. “Get in the lane, hit guys for open shots, hit their bigs for dump-downs, we gotta make sure we do a good job of helping with that, communicating, and tightening it up in that area.”
The Titans don’t typically do their damage behind the three-point line. In fact, they rank 341st of 351 Division I Men’s Basketball teams in three pointers made per game (5.3 — as opposed to 35th-ranked Purdue averaging 9.6 per game). Rather, CSF tends to use their guards to attack the basket.
“They get to the paint whenever they want,” added senior Dakota Mathias. “They’re always looking to push.”
“It’s gonna be our guards, having to contain those guys at the perimeter,” said freshman center Matt Haarms. “If they’re coming at me, I gotta be there. I gotta protect the rim for us.”
Purdue and Cal State Fullerton are scheduled to tip off at 12:40 p.m. Friday in Detroit.