Who? The Boilermakers of Purdue.
What? A nickname born out of mockery and the white-collar/blue-collar divide, Purdue proudly adopted the name as its own. The Boilermaker Special is the official mascot, with Purdue Pete making appearances that require a bit less space and a bit more motion.
Where? West Lafayette, Indiana, the most densely populated city in Indiana.
When? March 4th, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana, the home of the Indiana Pacers and the Indiana Fever. (No, they haven’t moved- this is in fact the building formerly known as Conseco Fieldhouse.)
Why? They won the Big Ten Conference tournament.
How? Coming down to the last second wasn’t enough for Purdue- they went to double overtime with Nebraska, pulling out the win 74-70 behind 19 points from KK Houser.
Surprise? Picked second in the preseason poll, the Boilermakers were the fourth seed in the conference tournament, so I peg this as a mild surprise.
RPI (as of 3/4): 16
SOS (as of 3/4): 32
Record: 24-8 (12-5 Big Ten)
Good wins: Penn State in the conference tournament might be the best; at Bowling Green could look good depending on the MAC tournament.
Bad losses: At Central Michigan.
Who’s running this show? Sharon Versyp, since 2006. She’s a former Purdue player.
Another team that likes PDFs. PDFs are only your friend on fast connections and e-mail attachments.
Senior guard Brittany Rayburn is the leading scorer for this team, putting in almost fifteen points per game on 36.9% shooting from three. Junior forward Sam Ostarello adds 8.1 points and 8.2 rebounds. KK Houser stepped it up in the Big Ten title game. This team is most comfortable in the 50s and 60s; I’m not sure they can muster the firepower to beat a fast-paced, high-scoring team.