Purdue’s NCAA Tournament Futures Go from 33-1 to 16-1 after Impressive First Round

Purdue guard Carsen Edwards driving to the hoop.
Carsen Edwards and the Purdue Boilermakers have seen their NCAA Tournament title odds get remarkably short after beating Old Dominion in the first round (61-48). Photo by Alexander Jonesi (Wikimedia Commons) [CC License].
  • Purdue’s odds to win March Madness went from +3300 to +1600 after beating Old Dominion
  • Carsen Edwards had 26 points in the Boilermakers’ easy 61-48 win
  • Purdue was +7000 to win the NCAA Tournament as recently as Feb. 5

While Michigan and Michigan State butted heads all season long in the Big Ten spotlight, the Purdue Boilermakers quietly flew just below the radar.

In the end, Purdue and Michigan State shared the Big Ten regular-season title with 16-4 conference records.

Odds to Win 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

Team Odds
Duke +275
Virginia +500
Gonzaga +500
North Carolina +700
Michigan State +1200
Kentucky +1400
Tennessee +1400
Michigan +1600
Purdue +1600
Texas Tech +2000

The Boilermakers opened the NCAA Tournament with +3300 odds to win it all, but after their solid 61-48 takeout of Old Dominion in opening-round play, they are now at +1600 to win the title, firmly in the top ten contenders. Purdue was +7000 to be champions of March Madness as recently as Feb. 5.

Junior guard Carsen Edwards, the Big Ten scoring leader, paced the Boilermakers with 26 points in their win over the Monarchs. It was his best single-game production since he scored 27 points Feb. 9 against Nebraska.

Tough Test Ahead

The 24-9 Boilermakers get back into action on Saturday in second-round South Region action, facing a challenging opponent in the #6 Villanova Wildcats.

Villanova is the defending NCAA champions and is 26-9 this season.

The win over ODU wasn’t all bouquets for Purdue, though. The Boilermakers lost guard Nojel Eastern, one of the Big Ten’s top defensive players, when he rolled his ankle in the warm-up.

The injury forced freshman Eric Hunter to make his first start of the season. Though Eastern saw 10 minutes of action off the bench, and is expected to be available against Villanova.

The Wildcats are 14-3 ATS in their last 17 NCAA Tournament games, but this isn’t the same Villanova team that beat Michigan in last year’s title game. There’s no Jalen Brunson, no Mikal Bridges, no Omari Spellman, and no Donte Divincenzo (2018 Final Four MOP).

After Phil Booth and Eric Paschall, Villanova is extremely thin. Though Purdue often looks like a one-man Carsen Edwards show, the Boilermakers are actually the deeper team and should emerge with the win.

Can Purdue Advance Beyond the Sweet 16?

History is not on the side of the Boilermakers. Although this is their fifth straight season in March Madness, they’ve never advanced past the Sweet Sixteen.

Purdue made it to the Elite Eight in 1994 and 2000, but you have to go all the way back to 1980 to find a Boilermaker team in the Final Four.

The school has played in one NCAA title game, losing 92-72 to Lew Alcindor and UCLA in 1968-69.

This year’s team has come out short in some big games. They were 4-5 against top-25 schools, and they put in a disappointing performance in their loss to Minnesota (75-73) in the Big Ten Tournament.

They also fell to the Golden Gophers in the penultimate game of the regular season. A victory in that game would have given Purdue the outright Big Ten title and the no. 1 seed in the conference tournament.

It would not only be hard to back the Boilermakers winning the NCAA Championship, it would be foolhardy.

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