Grab your high octane energy drinks Purdue basketball fans, because you’ll have to stay up late if you want to see the Boilermakers clinch their first Elite 8 since 2000. The #2 seeded Boilers tip off at 9:57 EST in Boston on Friday against the #3 seed Texas Tech Red Raiders, meaning the game likely won’t end until after 12:30 a.m. the next day.

No, we have no clue what the sports television network-industrial complex is thinking with this ridiculous schedule either. All we can say is that Boston is known for tea parties and tea has a lot of caffeine, which will be needed to stay up till the end of this one.

boston

It might be worth losing out on sleep because like we said before, Purdue basketball hasn’t reached the Elite 8 in 18 years. They haven’t made the Final Four in 38 years.

Simply put- it’s time! This is probably their best chance in a long while to make it happen too. In January, Purdue was considered the favorite by the bookies and the stat projectionists to win it all. Over the course of this season, we’ve also seen Purdue reach their highest levels in recent memory (possibly in school history??) on the KenPom and Sagarin rankings.

They will head into this one as very slight favorites (1.5 points), but of course all Purdue basketball fans recall the last meeting with Texas Tech coach Chris Beard.

Back in 2016, an ancient era when the American public still believed in things called facts, Beard led #12 seed Arkansas-Little Rock to a thrilling double-overtime upset over the #5 seed Boilers after trailing by 13 points with just 3:33 to play. That game kind of solidified the unfortunate stigma that has been affixed to the Purdue basketball program lately.

We don’t really need to articulate what that stigma is, but we’ll just say that their recent NCAA Tournament experiences would make perfect fodder for an episode of a sports version of the Comedy Central series Drunk History.

Just think about what has happened in March to this program in recent years. Now imagine sitting down with some shots of scotch and then telling another person about it while the cameras were rolling. I’d definitely DVR that!

This time, though, things could be different. This Purdue senior class has won in every opposing B1G arena. They have poise, seasoning and perspective. This Purdue basketball team was able to hold on and beat a solid Butler team in the last round, despite having to play with their stellar big man Isaac Haas, who was out with an elbow injury.

We still don’t know if Haas will play or not Friday night, but obviously his inclusion would give Beard’s group a tough matchup to deal with. If the Boilers are sans Haas, the offense will then revolve around Carsen Edwards, who was named a NABC second team All-American today.

Edwards and Caleb Swanigan are the only players in Purdue basketball history to have scored 600 points with 100 rebounds and 100 assists in the same season.

isaac haas

In this program, “Defense lives here,” but unfortunately, its roommates have sometimes been monumental upsets to double digit seeds and blowing big second half leads. We really think this season is different though. We’re expecting Purdue to get by Tech and then…well anything can happen when you’re dealing with the zaniness of March single elimination. 

That is especially true when you’re playing in a town that’s expected to experience a “springtime” Nor’Easter. If Purdue advances, they’ll get the West Virginia-Villanova winner.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.

Follow him on TwitterInstagramSound Cloud, LinkedIn and YouTube.


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