NCAA March Madness, Boiler Up: Hummel-Less Purdue Advances to Sweet 16
After the loss of star player and leader Robbie Hummel it was easy for fans to go ahead and throw in the towel on a season that once had the makings of a potential Final Four run.
Even after the loss of Hummel, there were many hopeful Boilermaker fans who believed that their Purdue team, now led by E'Twaun Moore and Chris Kramer, could keep the Boilermakers on track for a Big Ten and possible National Title.
Those many hopeful fans soon dwindled into a few after Purdue's embarrassing 27-point defeat to Minnesota in the semi finals in the Big Ten Tournament.
After the brackets were unveiled on Selection Sunday, it soon became a sure thing—the 13 seed Siena Saints would upset Purdue. Some said it wouldn't even be considered an upset.
It was such a sure upset that even President Barack Obama predicted the Boilermakers to fall to Siena.
In less than three weeks, the Boilermakers had gone from being ranked third in the country to a team that had no chance against a mid major.
Sure, Siena had previous first round NCAA Tournament wins against Vanderbilt in 2008 (but who doesn't beat Vandy in the first round) and Ohio State in 2009, but to say that a thirteen seed beating a four seed would not be upset is worthy of one of Chad Ochocinco's "Child, Please".
Going into the half against Siena,it appeared Purdue's season might in fact come to an end against the upset-minded Saints, trailing 32-29 at the half.
But Purdue answered with a huge second half, outscoring Siena 43-32 en route to a 72-64 victory.
Purdue's second half turn-around was keyed by Keaton Grant, Hummel's replacement, who drained three shots from behind the arc to start the second half.
In the second round against Texas A&M, Purdue once again went to the locker room trailing 32-25, knowing that they were only 20 minutes away from heading back to Indiana.
But again the Boilermakers used a strong second half to steam its way back into the game against the Aggies, sending the game into overtime.
The overtime session went back and forth, seeming as if the team with the last possession would earn a trip to the Sweet 16.
After a missed shot by Bryan Davis, Purdue grabbed the rebound and called a timeout with 10.1 seconds remaining to draw up the final play.
Out of the timeout, the ball was put in the hands of senior guard Chris Kramer, who crossed over several A&M defenders on his way to a game winning lay up with only four seconds remaining.
Texas A&M had an opportunity to win on a three by B.J. Holmes as time expired, but it, like A&M's Final Four dreams, fell short.
Waiting for the Boilermakers in the Sweet 16 is the number 1 seeded Duke Blue Devils.
Surely this is where Purdue's tournament run comes to a screeching halt. Right?
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