UNI. enters their NCAA tournament game Thursday against Purdue after a week off following the Missouri Valley Conference tournament. Purdue enters the game with no time off after winning the Big Ten Tournament on Sunday.
Panther coach Ben Jacobson says either team could gain from the way the schedule has played out. Jacobson says the Boilermakers are playing great right now, and when you are in the midst of a string of wins, you want to play again right away.
Jacobson says Purdue will be riding the confidence and momentum of the Big Ten tournament win. His team is well rested, but he doesn’t know which team will have more of an advantage.
UNI. is the 12th seed and Purdue the 5th seed, which is often a matchup where the lower seed has been picked for the upset. Jacobson talks about that idea. He says those matchups have been talked about the most over the years, but he says that doesn’t mean that the 12th seed always gets the win.
Jacobson says a lot of things will have to go right for them to win the game. Jacobson was asked if there is any pressure on them to win as UNI’s last three trips to the NCAA Tournament ended in first-round loses.
"I don’t think that pressure is the right word, our guys expect a lot of each other and they expect a lot of their team. As do I," Jacobson says. He says they’ve accomplished a lot of things for the first time this season and didn’t think there was any pressure during the season.
Jacobson says playing good defense will be the key in this game. Jacobson says the team defense has been very good and that’s given them the opportunity to win games, and this game will be no different. The two teams meet at 1:30 in Portland, Oregon.