Purdue basketball cruised through its opening game of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, defeating Cal State Fullerton by a final score of 74-48. The Boilermakers will next take on Butler, who upset Arkansas on Friday, in the Round of 32 on Sunday.
Purdue coach Matt Painter met with reporters on Saturday to discuss the Boilermakers’ matchup with Butler, Isaac Haas’ elbow injury and more.
Here’s what Painter said in his press conference on Saturday.
Painter on the win over Cal State Fullerton, and then on Butler:
“Excited to be able to move on. I thought our guys played well in the second half, had some really good energy, got some stops, made some good plays. We were a little bit too eager in the first half of our game yesterday. I thought we took some ill-advised early, quick shots and really didn’t probe the defense.
“Thought we did it much better in the second half. And our guys really played much better, played together, played hard, took what the defense gave them, got some quality stops. We know we have a tough task against Butler. And they have a great program through the years. [Coach LaVall Jordan] has done an unbelievable job with this team. [Kamar] Baldwin and [Kelan] Martin are very, very difficult to stop. But it’s really more than them.
“They outrebounded Arkansas by 20. Play hard, stingy on defense. Do a good job getting their hands in passing lanes and on the ball, just being active, just being around the ball, just a really good all-around basketball team.”
On Haas’ elbow injury:
“Yeah, he ran up and down today, did a few things, worked out. I don’t see him playing, though.”
On defending Butler’s 3-point shooting:
“I wish I did have a special philosophy. I think it’s different with different schemes. Sometimes you feel like you’re doing a good job, like against Butler by the numbers in the first game, it looks like we did a good job. Or is it just wasn’t their day.
“Sometimes guys that shoot the basketball, Kamar Baldwin, you go back watch tape, he had a handful of shots he normally makes. And he didn’t make it. It helps us. And you go watch him against Seton Hall in the Big East Tournament, and they’re just draped all over him and he just makes tough shots.
“Sometimes it’s just your day. I think that day was ours. We try to do a good job of guarding the arc, but also not exposing ourselves to where now we’re not containing the dribble and they’re getting to the free-throw line and getting easy 2’s.
“Sometimes guarding the arc means they get by you. Now they still penetrate and pitch and still get good 3’s. They have some tough matchups for everybody, so it’s going to be really important for us that we do a good job and stay out of rotations.”
On Haas potentially returning to action in the tournament:
“No, he’s not going to — he’s fractured his elbow. So he can go out there and get in warmups and do things but I don’t think he’s going to play. I’m obviously not a doctor. But I’ve been able to look at it and see — he just went through things today and just getting loose and everything. His legs aren’t broke. So you’re allowed to still run when your elbow is fractured.”
On emotional swings that the team has dealt with:
“It’s not an emotional swing for us. We just prepare for Butler. When Vince Edwards went out, and we had to play two conference games, we won those games. And you focus on what you have. You don’t focus on what you don’t have.
“It’s no different than foul trouble. Isaac plays half the game for us. We’re used to playing half the game without him. So now we’ve just got to play a full game without him.”
On Matt Haarms:
“Matt’s played the whole year. He’s done a good job for us. He played 27 minutes in the game versus Butler when we played earlier in the season. He’s long, he’s athletic, he can run, he can block shots. He knows what’s going on. The game matters to him.
“So it’s a great opportunity for him to be able to step up and stay in his role, be really good at being Matt Haarms. You don’t have to be something else. And I think that’s going to be important for us that he brings that energy and helps us get going on both ends of the court.”
On how he discovered Haarms:
“He played at Sunrise Christian, so just seeing him in AAU. And then just following up, he was a little bit of the under-the-radar guy. He wasn’t a guy at his high school that was averaging 20 and 15. But he was really skinny. So he’s gained about 25 pounds since he’s been at our place.
“But we were very fortunate. I think you hear a lot of stories as coaches when you recruit somebody for three years and then you lose out, you know, to somebody and you get upset about that. We put in all this time and you put in no time you get the player. We were on the back end of that one to where we didn’t recruit him for a long period of time and then when we went in to recruit him, he liked us, he knew everything about us. He watched us a lot on television. And he knew everything about our program and the development of our big guys.
“And so it was one of those rare moments where the exposure that you’re getting internationally and just the exposure and the understanding that he had of the development of our bigs really helped us land him.”
On if this situation is similar to Haas replacing an injured Robbie Hummel in 2010.
“That’s a good question. You know, we still had three games in conference season when Rob tore his ACL. So we had three conference games. We had two tournament games and then we obviously had three NCAA Tournament games. So it gave us a little bit of time to prepare.
“And it’s interesting you just said that. I just watched one of our games in the NCAA Tournament because it was on the Big 10 Network against Texas A&M to go to the Sweet 16. It just makes you run things differently. Rob made things work for us. We don’t run anything differently. We run a lot of things for Isaac, but we also run things for other people. Whereas we ran a lot more motion at the time.
“We’d isolate JaJuan Johnson and we’d isolate E’Twaun Moore a lot in some ball screen action. So, we had to change some things. We had to change a lot. And we didn’t shoot the ball as well when Rob didn’t play. And the guys that stepped in there who were good shooters still didn’t shoot the ball well.
“So that’s a big part of it. It goes back to what David said before is, like, how good Butler is when they make their shots. And it’s kind of a profound statement. It’s as how good anybody is that relies on 3-pointers.
“I think it’s going to be key more than anything, just us running our stuff, sticking with it. But we had a lot of turnovers the first time against Butler with Isaac Haas. It’s going to be important that we play this game and not turn the basketball over and just be able to rebound and just kind of focus on those things.”
On if Haas will dress for the Butler game:
“I would think he dresses and goes to warmups. I would think he wants to do that to stay connected and stuff. But I don’t think he’ll play.”
On Haas wearing a brace:
“Yes. Yes. He’d have to get that approved, yeah.”
On if Haas will have to have surgery or if the injury will heal itself:
“No, they said you have to have surgery.”