In the second round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament, while everyone else was focusing on historic upsets and wrecked brackets, the state of Indiana witnessed a fun battle between two of its favorites.
In the East region, the 2-seed Purdue Boilermakers – representing West Lafayette, IN – faced off against the 10-seed Butler Bulldogs – from Indianapolis, IN. It was a fun and wild game that came down to the final moments before the favorites came out on top.
Prior to the game, besides focusing on the in-state rivalry aspect of the contest, the main story line focused on Purdue senior center Isaas Haas. Haas took a bad fall in the opening round, breaking his elbow. There was some question about his availability for the Butler game up until tip off. Haas tried to give it go with a heavy, bulky brace, but he had little range of motion, and the NCAA didn’t approve the brace for competition regardless.
That left Purdue short-handed and forced to play smaller than normal. It was freshman Matt Haarms who picked up the slack inside, playing the most minutes in a game in his young career.
Butler received a Herculean effort from senior Kelan Martin – 29 points on 18 field-goal attempts – but it wasn’t enough to defeat the balanced attack of the Boilermakers. Purdue finished with four players in double figures and escaped into the Sweet 16 with a 76-73 victory over their foes from Indianapolis.