MILWAUKEE, WIs. — A first-round upset prevented Purdue and Iowa State from meeting in Denver last season to fight for a Sweet 16 berth.
That’s not the case this year.
Fourth-seeded Purdue knocked off feisty No. 13 seed Vermont, 80-70, on Thursday to set up a matchup with the Cyclones on Saturday at the Bradley Center.
The game is set to tip at approximately 8:45 pm.
It was a game that was expected to occur during the 2016 NCAA tournament when ISU was seeded fourth and defeated Iona while the Boilermakers were seeded fifth, but lost to No. 12 Arkansas-Little Rock.
The Cyclones went on to defeat Little Rock and earn a Sweet 16 berth in coach Steve Prohm’s first season at ISU. It was the second Sweet 16 in three years for the program.
Purdue (29-7) was the outright Big Ten regular season champions with a conference record of 14-4, but the Boilermakers failed to advance to the championship game of the Big Ten Tournament.
The Boilermakers’ strength is their size, led by 6-foot-9, 250-pound Caleb Swanigan. The double-double machine is averaging 18.5 points and 12.6 rebounds per game during a breakout sophomore season. Purdue can go super-sized as well with 7-foot-2, 290-pound Isaac Haas playing alongside Swanigan.
Against the Catamounts, Purdue shot 51.7 percent from the floor while holding Vermont to 44.3 percent.
“Our guys answered every one of their runs by either going inside, knocking down threes,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said, “and they were a good team. One of the best teams we’ve faced all year. Very, very balanced. Can do a lot of different things and just a really good basketball team.
“This was a huge win for us.”
Morris hits triple digits
With the victory, Monte Morris extended his program-record career wins to triple digits, hitting 100.
The Cyclones’ all-time leader in career assists and steals, Morris has won three Big 12 tournament championships and played in two Sweet 16s, with a possible third coming if the Cyclones can defeat Purdue on Saturday.
In and win
The Cyclones have now won at least one game in five of their last six NCAA tournament appearances.
Twice they’ve made the Round of 32, another two times they went on to the Sweet 16 and they were ousted by upset in a loss to UAB in the first round of the 2015 tournament.