Texas Tech coach Chris Beard and Purdue coach Matt Painter have met before in the NCAA Tournament, but under much different circumstances. Back in 2016, when Beard was coaching 12th-seeded Arkansas-Little Rock and Painter's Boilermakers were a No. 5 seed, Beard’s club pulled off a thrilling double-overtime upset after trailing by 13 points with 3:33 to play. That win helped solidify Beard as a coaching up-and-comer.
This time, though, the coaches are meeting on more equal footing. Both teams survived second-round fights to reach the Sweet 16, Texas Tech withstanding Florida and Purdue squeaking by Butler. Purdue was able to hold on despite being without big man Isaac Haas, out with an elbow injury. If Haas still can't play, that injury will test the Boilermakers’ depth, and Beard’s group will be a tough matchup because of the way clutch senior Keenan Evans has played thus far in the tournament.
Let's take a closer look at this Sweet 16 matchup.
March Madness matchup:
Purdue vs. Texas Tech
How to watch
The Purdue vs. Texas Tech Sweet 16 game will air at 9:57 p.m. ET, or 30 minutes after the Villanova-West Virginia game, on TBS. You can also live-stream the game via the March Madness Live app.
No. 2 Purdue
|Coach: Matt Painter|
|Overall record: 30-6|
|Scoring leader: Carsen Edwards (18.2 ppg)|
|Rebounding leader: Vince Edwards (7.2 rpg)|
|Assists leader: Dakota Mathias (4.0 apg)|
|Famous non-athlete alum: Jim Gaffigan|
NCAA TOURNAMENT: Re-ranking the Sweet 16
No. 3 Texas Tech
|Coach: Chris Beard|
|Overall record: 26-9|
|Scoring leader: Keenan Evans (17.8 ppg)|
|Rebounding leader: Jarrett Culver (4.9 rpg)|
|Assists leader: Keenan Evans (3.1 apg)|
|Famous non-athlete alum: John Denver|
Best individual matchup: Purdue's P.J. Thompson vs. Texas Tech's ballhawks.
Texas Tech has three guards — Zhaire Smith, Jarrett Culver and Keenan Evans — averaging more than a steal per game, and the Red Raiders forced an average of 14.9 turnovers this season, 19th in the nation. Their suffocating defense on guards has been key to their success. The Boilermakers, though, have been among the nation’s best teams at protecting the ball, and point guard P.J. Thompson is the primary reason. He averages just 0.8 turnovers, and has not turned the ball over yet in the tournament.
Most eye-popping stat: 43.5.
Purdue has been an excellent 3-point shooting team all season, ranking second in the nation at 42.1 percent. But the Boilermakers have been even better in the tournament, making 43.5 percent from the arc, led by Dakota Mathias (5-for-11) and Thompson (5-for-10). The Red Raiders have allowed just 32.7 percent 3-point shooting this season, 51st in the country, but they struggled to defend the arc late in the season. Texas Tech also has not shot the 3 particularly well. Keep an eye on star guard Keenan Evans on that front. He is just a 32.7-percent 3-point shooter, but when he makes at least two 3s, the Raiders have gone 11-1.
Get to know … Matt Haarms.
The only upside to losing 7-2 center Isaac Haas was that Painter had another behemoth on hand in Haarms, a 7-3 freshman who has been a productive reserve all season. Haarms has gained some fame for his swooping hairstyle, which he frequently keeps in place with a flip during deadballs, and has lamented the inability of his assorted gels to keep his coiffed ‘do in place. “I might need to go to an arts and crafts store and put some glue in there,” he told reporters this weekend. But beyond the hair product, the rest of Haarms performed well in a starting role against Butler. He scored seven points with six rebounds in that game, and provided a big presence in the post, blocking two shots. He’s more athletic than Haas, and that should be a bonus against the quick Red Raiders.
Sweet 16 pick: Purdue
Texas Tech’s defense creates havoc for most teams, but Purdue is not most teams. Guards Thompson and Mathias are seniors, as is forward Vince Edwards, and should be able to withstand the pressure the Red Raiders typically apply. That will be critical, because leading scorer Carsen Edwards has struggled in the tournament at 8-for-29 shooting. Purdue will have its hands full with senior guard Keenan Evans (23 and 22 points in two tournament games), but expect the veteran experience of the Boilermakers to help Painter exact some revenge on Beard.