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Better Off

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There seems to be some debate about Purdue's choice to continue playing basketball after finishing the season 15-17. I guess my position is fairly simple: if the administration backs the action and the coaches and players want to play, why not? The thought that the program would be better off by not playing just isn't logical.

If the thought is that it's demeaning to accept an invitation from the CBI, I would counter that there are more than 200 Division I basketball teams not playing in the postseason, so it seems ok that Purdue would be one that does.

Also, in the short history of the CBI, programs like VCU, Butler and Pittsburgh - all NCAA Tournament teams this year - have played in the event.

I think there are other advantages, as well. Many fans who never get a chance to watch a game in Mackey will get that opportunity. Ticket prices have been lowered, and kids will get a kick out of watching a college game at one of the nation's best venues.

All of us know the Boilermakers have had a disappointing season by their standards, but maybe this appearance in the CBI will eliminate some of the bad taste. I'm sure for some fans - I'd like to think a minority of them - playing in this tournament is a waste of time, but I really feel this team will receive the support necessary to have a successful tournament.

The Nebraska loss kind of stunned me. I just didn't see that performance coming. It's been like that all season, though. Rarely have there been concrete clues as to what's about to happen. For example, did any one of us see the win in Madison on the horizon?

Right after the loss, it's understandable that few people want to continue, but time takes care of that. If you're a competitor given a chance to play, you'll take it every time. Matt Painter would coach a game on the moon if he had the chance.

Moving on to the NCAA Tournament, I don't have a clue who will end up winning the thing. I've been wrong all season, so I'll pass on picking a champion. I will say that I was really impressed with the NIT field, which has Kentucky as the top overall seed. Yes, the defending national champion.

Ohio State's win in Chicago surprised me, though it shouldn't have. Thad Matta's teams have been a force in Big Ten play since he took over in Columbus.

It's been a crazy season so far in college basketball, and I doubt that's going to change in the next three weeks. Let the madness begin.

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