When the 16 team CBI field was named, I liked that a historically-strong Texas team was invited. Like Purdue though, they had a down season and weren't very motivated for their opening game of the third tier tournament. But if you think the Purdue season didn't meet expectations, look to the Longhorns to be reminded that it could be worse.
First off, Kabongo's season started poorly as he was suspended in December...but the former McD's AA and 5-star recruit didn't give the talented Longhorns enough of a boost to get them to .500 overall. Texas' rotation is pretty much all 4-star players along with the 5-star Kabongo...but Texas reminds us, as did Kentucky, that stars matter little when a team doesn't gel.
With Texas bowing out early, the CBI is now Wyoming (65), Richmond (79), Santa Clara (92), Wright State (127), Purdue (121), Western Michigan (122), GMU (144) and Houston (195).
If you're like most of America, the CBI wasn't available to you or you didn't care it was going on...so if Purdue falls in a tournament and no one is there to see it, does it count? Yes it does...and this is why this tournament is such a tough proposition for the Boilers.
I said it yesterday in my post, Purdue truly is the underdog now; they're the only sub-.500 team remaining and are in the bottom half of the rankings of those still playing...the truth is tough to swallow.
But in spite of Purdue being the team with the worst record left in the event, those that are still watching probably think Purdue is the favorite...and since the strongest conference represented, after the B1G, is the A-10, why wouldn't they think that way?
This tournament is a two-fold exercise; continue to get the young guys experience...the more basketball, the better...but also, Purdue needs to win to save some face. Since Painter is a basketball junkie, he probably enjoys the chance to have his guys playing, regardless of the competition. But clearly, many of the players didn't share his perspective yesterday; perhaps that's the main problem with the state of the program right now?