2016 NCAA Tournament Preview: No. 5 Purdue vs. No. 12 Arkansas-Little Rock

By Trevor Lowry

At times during the 2015-16 college basketball season, the Purdue Boilermakers looked like a national title contender. National title contender or not, they received a No. 5 seed in the 2016 NCAA tournament, and their opponent will be the Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans.

Let’s make this very simple: Although a couple of No. 12 seeds seem to pull off the upset every single March, No. 12 seed Arkansas-Little Rock has its hands completely full.

Playing in the Big Ten (aka a top conference in college hoops, even though the tournament committee seemed to think otherwise with some of the Big Ten selections that were made) is rough. Game after game, a team like Purdue would be challenged in conference play. If a team can make it out of a brutal slate of Big Ten games alive, which the Boilermakers did, then they should be more than ready for what the dance has to offer.

The Trojans likely don’t get the same effect as a result of playing in the Sun Belt.

What To Watch For

Purdue fans will definitely be watching out for the Boilermakers’ frontcourt — because it is one of the best in the business. A.J. Hammons and Caleb Swanigan will surely garner a lot of the attention, but they are also not alone.

Turning the ball over to the Trojans, they have two guys who are averaging double figures in the scoring department. Those players: Josh Hagins and Marcus Johnson Jr.

Prediction

While Purdue does have a stingy defense and is allowing just 64.5 points per game to prove it, Arkansas-Little Rock is even better in that category as it is only giving up 59.9 PPG. Of course, the Boilermakers played tougher competition this season.

‘Tis the season for major upsets. ‘Tis the season for Cinderellas to take the stage. However, I just don’t see the Cinderella coming out of this game alive.

Therefore, Purdue will do the only thing that matters this time of year — survive and advance.

Arkansas-Little Rock 55, Purdue 67

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