The No. 7 seed Saint Mary's Gaels will take on the No. 10 seed Purdue Boilermakers on Friday in Omaha, Neb. in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Purdue (21-12, 10-8), earned an at-large bid while the Gaels (27-5. 14-2) beat the Gonzaga Bulldogs to win the West Coast Conference tournament.
Where: CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb.
When: Friday, March 16 at 7:27 p.m. ET
Listen: Purdue radio affiliates
Betting Line: Purdue -1 according to Wager Minds and BET Vega
Sophomore guard Stephen Holt is still day-to-day since spraining his knee Feb. 15 against Loyola Marymount.
What's at Stake?
This is Purdue forward Robbie Hummel's last shot at making a run in the NCAA tournament. Hummel has was sidelined for the past two NCAA tournament's with knee injuries and will look to give his team a chance at making a run in the tournament.
What They're Saying
Discussing the Big Ten matchups in the NCAA tournament, the Big Ten Network's Tom Dienhart said of all the Big Ten teams, Purdue is most likely to not make it to the Sweet 16.
"The Boilermakers take on a good No. 7 seed in St. Mary’s. Purdue is riding a 13-game winning streak in the opening round of the Big Dance. And the last time the Boilers were a No. 10 seed, they knocked off No. 7 Texas and No. 2 Miami (Fla.) in 1999 to reach the Sweet 16. Still, the Boilers will be hard-pressed to see the Sweet 16 for a third time under Matt Painter. Even if they beat St. Mary’s, Purdue would have to knock off No. 2 seed and Big 12 regular-season champ Kansas in the next game."
Jason King of ESPN.com said he does not see Saint Mary's repeating the run they made two years ago.
"This Saint Mary's team is better than the Gaels squad that made the Sweet 16 in 2010. But I can't see Randy Bennett's squad getting past Kansas in its second game."
Most Important Player to Watch: Hummel
Hummel, the leader of the Boilermakers, is all about the team. He doesn't feel as if he has anything to prove to anybody. He just wants the Boilermakers to play as long as they can this month. Coach Matt Painter and Hummel believe they can beat the Gaels and surprise a lot of people in the tournament.
Key Matchup: Backcourt
WCC Player of the Year Matthew Dellavedova will give Purdue trouble trying to defend him.
Purdue guards Lewis Jackson and D.J. Byrd will need big games to compliment Hummel if the Boilermakers have any shot at winning this game.
Prediction: Saint Mary's 76, Purdue 73
This game could be one of the best in the first round of this year's bracket.
Saint Mary's is becoming a force out West. The Gaels are dancing for the second time in three years and won the WCC regular-season and tournament titles this year, beating Gonzaga.
The Boilermakers haven't lost in their last 13 NCAA opening round games. They reached the Sweet 16 in 1999, the last year they were a No. 10 seed, after defeating No. 7 Texas and No. 2 Miami (Fla.).
Hummel will leave everything on the court for the Boilermakers, but Purdue will come up just short.