I’d probably have the Purdue Boilermakers a little higher on tis list if not for a major injury currently putting a damper on their 2018 NCAA Tournament run. They lost star center, and 7-footer, Isaac Haas to a fractured elbow in the first round and he attempted to prepare as if he was to play in the second round, but just didn’t feel comfortable — and his brace wasn’t cleared by the NCAA.
Haas’ replacement, Matt Harms, is every bit as tall as his injured teammate but not nearly as imposing in the post with a lanky frame. He is about a year or two away from being a force in the paint, but he did a solid job against Butler, helping the Boilermakers to a 76-73 win.
Purdue still has guys like Vincent Edwards, Carsen Edwards and Dakota Mathias as viable scoring options and as long as those three can remain healthy while Harms continues to improve, this team is going to be a tough out — and the Bulldogs found that out in the round of 32.
The Boilermakers will really get to prove themselves in the Sweet 16 against a tough Texas Tech team and if they can reach the Elite Eight, anything is possible.
Fellow Big Ten squad Michigan nearly made the cut, but Purdue may have a slightly better shot — it’s almost a toss-up.