Young talent, experienced veterans lead Purdue into March Madness


Purdue basketball arrives in Indianapolis for the 2021 NCAA Tournament (Courtesy: Purdue Athletics).

INDIANAPOLIS – Purdue arrived in Indianapolis this week for the NCAA Tournament with one of the most productive freshman classes in the country.

But a little experience can go a long way this time of the year too. The Boilermakers’ upperclassmen have seen plenty of March success, reaching three-straight Sweet 16s and advancing to the Elite 8 in 2019.

“Just playing in some big time environments, big time games, making it to the Elite 8, and having some experience in the NCAA Tournament is big for us because we are one of the youngest, least experienced teams here,” explains junior guard Sasha Stefanovic.

“Knowing how important it is,” adds Eric Hunter, Jr. “Each possession, each game, whatever it may be, especially preparation leading up to it.”

Experienced or not, the feeling pregame will likely be the same for all of the Gold and Black.

“I’m nervous before every game,” confesses head coach Matt Painter. “If you’re not, something’s wrong with you. Right as the game starts, you settle into it. I think players are the same way.”

The No. 4 seed in the South Region of the NCAA Tournament, Purdue takes on No. 13 seed North Texas, champions of Conference USA, Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium, scheduled for 7:25 p.m.

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