Purdue Boilermakers vs. Kansas Jayhawks
Date and Time: Thursday, March 23, 2017, 9:39 p.m. ET
Location: Sprint Center, Kansas City, MO
College Basketball Odds: Kansas -5, 156.5
Purdue vs. Kansas TV Coverage: CBS
The Boilermakers were the first team to feel the wrath of the red hot Michigan Wolverines in the quarters of the B1G tournament when they fell 74-70 in overtime as 2.5 point favorites. Had Purdue knocked its free throws down late, it’s highly likely Big Blue wouldn’t have even qualified for the Big Dance. The after effects of that loss looked like they carried over into the team’s first round matchup with Vermont with it only up a point at the break. Cooler heads prevailed however, with the Boilers able to run away for the 80-70 win and cover in the second half once the Catamounts ran out of steam.
It looked as if a return trip to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2010 was going to occur with ease in the second round after going up by 19 points, but Purdue allowed Iowa State to not only get back in the game, but claim its first lead with just over five minutes remaining. Instead of going into its shell, Purdue relied upon steady performers Caleb Swanigan and Vince Edwards to reclaim a lead it would never relinquish to secure the 80-76 win and cover. It survived and advanced.
Like Purdue, the Jayhawks were bounced from the Big 12 tournament in the quarterfinals as well. Also like the Boilermakers, the Jayhawks punched their ticket to the Sweet 16, only Bill Self’s squad did it more emphatically. UC Davis stood no chance with KU getting out to a commanding 50-28 lead after one half of play, and then dropped another 50 on the Aggies’ heads in the second half to win a laugher 100-62 as 23 point chalk. After Michigan State surprisingly thumped Miami, it set up a great second round matchup between Self and Tom Izzo. Or so it was thought.
Unfortunately, the tilt failed to deliver with Kansas giving Sparty a glimmer of hope through one half of play. From there, it was the Josh Jackson, Frank Mason and Devonte’ Graham show with the trio combining for 61 of the team’s 90 overall points en route to leading the Jayhawks to the impressive 20 point win as 8.5 point favorites. Kansas is back in the Sweet 16 for the second time in as many seasons looking to also reach the Elite 8 for the second straight time. KU has reached the region finals three of the last four times it made it this far in the tournament.
Player to Watch
Caleb “Biggie” Swanigan – The success or lack thereof Purdue has in this matchup will likely depend on what the Boilermakers big man does with his time on the hardwood. If he pisses it away and gets into foul trouble, Purdue loses; likely big. If he floats around the perimeter looking to jack up 3-pointers, they likely lose; big. If he anchors down low and is able to get Landen Lucas and seldom used Dwight Coleby into foul trouble, Purdue will have an excellent shot to not only cover the game, but win it going away. The Boilers have the athletes that can hang with KU’s guard oriented attack, and also possess the bigs that can wreak havoc upon Kansas down low. It’s just a matter of this team putting those weapons into action or not.
Purdue vs. Kansas Free Picks
The last time these clubs squared off against one another, it was the Jayhawks that came out on top 63-60 in the second round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Purdue was able to pull out the cover however as 8 point underdogs. While nobody from those teams is on either roster, it’s a loss Matt Painter won’t have soon forgotten and he’d love to get some revenge on Self who used to own him as well when he coached in the Big Ten for the Fighting Illini.
This has all the makings of a fast paced back and forth affair that might not get decided until the game’s final shot is taken. I love the matchups here for Purdue if Swanigan and Haas can make some hay down low. If they do, it will open up some high percentage long range shots for all of Purdue’s sharpshooting guards. Purdue is the better free throw shooting and rebounding team in this matchup. If it plays its cards right, it can seriously go into Kansas City and shock the Jayhawks in front of what would be a stunned Sprint Center crowd.
Purdue vs. Kansas ATS Pick: Bet Purdue at BookMaker.eu
Purdue vs. Kansas Score Prediction: Purdue 80 – Kansas 78