Purdue and potential National Player of the Year Caleb Swanigan have an intriguing second-round matchup.
The No. 4 Boilermakers will go up against surging Iowa State, a fifth-seed, at 9:40 p.m. ET on Saturday night in Milwaukee. The Cyclones have won 10 of their last 11 games, cut down the nets at the Big 12 Tournament and toppled No. 12 seed Nevada on Thursday in the NCAA Tournament’s first round.
Meanwhile, Purdue might be the Big Ten’s best hope to make the Sweet 16. The Boilermakers are the conference’s highest seed and Swanigan’s scoring and rebounding production is unmatched in the remaining field.
The winner will move on the Midwest region to face either top-seeded Kansas or Michigan State.
Purdue-Iowa State live updates, score from 2017 NCAA Tournament
Purdue-Iowa State NCAA Tournament preview
1. Star watch. Two of the nation’s top players will square off Saturday in Purdue sophomore Caleb Swanigan and Iowa State senior Monte Morris. The key for both is simple: stay on the floor. Should either player find foul trouble, his team will be seriously hampered. Morris, who has reached double figures in scoring in all but four games this season, has only fouled out once this year. Swanigan, on the other hand, has fouled out five teams and has been saddled with foul trouble often throughout the year. That can’t happen Saturday.
2. Over the hump. The Boilermakers lost their tourney opener in each of the last two seasons and haven’t reached the Sweet 16 since 2010. Iowa State, meanwhile, is looking to make its second consecutive trip to the Sweet 16 and third in four years.
3. All the little things. Morris and Iowa State are among the nation’s leaders in fewest turnovers per game, while Purdue averages around three more turnovers per game than the Cyclones. In a game like this, it’s going to come down to little things. If Swanigan can get work done on the glass and the Boilermakers take care of the ball and keep up their defensive intensity, the should win.