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Tournament Time

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It's tournament time, the part of the season that invigorates fans and has them dreaming of the loftiest of goals.

I know we talk a lot about parity in college basketball, but when a team like Syracuse can go 30-1 in the Big East, I'm not so sure. Kentucky is one Christian Watford shot away from being unbeaten. I like the way North Carolina plays, and they just pummeled Duke at Cameron Indoor.

Yes, there may be some parity, but I'm not sure if it touches this year's big boys.

Having said that, where do I envision our team in this venture?

For seeding purposes, unless Purdue wins the Big Ten Tournament, it appears most likely that the Boilermakers would face a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the second game at the NCAA Tournament. The Boilermakers could be higher than a No. 7 seed if they win the tournament in Indianapolis, but they will have to play four games in four days and possibly square off with all three league tri-champions.

So, what does the team need to do to get past early exits in either tournament?

My thought is to get more offensive. You have to have depth to pick up the pace in a short tournament, so you have to guard against running out of gas. Purdue's greatest strength is its ability to take care of the ball. If Robbie Hummel, Ryne Smith and D.J. Byrd can hit a good percentage of three-balls and Terone Johnson and Lewis Jackson can get to the rim, we can be scary.

I don't think you come this far and not play to your strengths. I'm sure the coaches have decided that this is not a Purdue team of past years that hangs its hat on defense. This doesn't mean you don't hustle and compete, it just means we need to have a different plan to win.

I do expect there to be upsets, there always are. I'm not one to favor top seeds too often.

Purdue, as a program, doesn't have a great history in this event. The Boilermakers' only title came in 2009, and there have been some ugly losses since.

I really don't know how to call this one. The Nebraska game is important for obvious reasons, but could also be dangerous. The Cornhuskers offered little resistance a few weeks ago at Mackey, and I'm sure will be much more focused this time around.

With a win, Ohio State is next. This is a talented team that has played just a bit worse than most expected. The Buckeyes have had great success at this event, but there has been some honest luck along the way. Remember Evan Turner's near-halfcourt shot against Michigan?

We can speculate all we want. The season is here, and for the timebeing, we all have a chance. Let the games begin, and for the Boilermakers, let's hope it's raining threes.

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