The No. 1 Purdue Boilermakers became the second team in college basketball history to lose to a No. 16 seed, falling to the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights Friday. The loss ended all remaining perfect brackets in the tournament, and Purdue joins Virginia as the only No. 1 seed to lose its opening game.
This setback puts a lot of focus on Purdue head coach Matt Painter, who had a National Player of the Year candidate in Zach Edey but surrounded him with less than stellar perimeter players. The Boilermakers were unable to consistently hit perimeter shots and got hustled on rebounds and 50-50 balls by the shortest team in the tournament. That’s not acceptable, even if they got hot from the floor. You should not have to ask your team for effort.
Purdue also had a great chance to make the Final Four last year, losing to No. 15 seed Saint Peter’s in the Sweet 16 last year. That’s another black mark on Painter’s resume, especially since Saint Peter’s suffered from some of the same deficiencies FDU did. However, Saint Peter’s did have some momentum going its way.
Painter has been incredibly successful at Purdue, but these recent tournament losses will certainly put more spotlight on his job. He’ll likely be retained given his regular season and conference tournament exploits, but this is going to hang over Purdue for a while.